10 Ways to Relax
A good hearty laugh diffuses tension and helps you relax. Scientifically, it has been proven that laughter reduces hormones like adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol that are responsible for creating stress. It also increases the activity of your Natural Killer T-cells, making you more immune to viral attacks and fatigue. If you find it difficult to be amused, join a humor club and spend time laughing about nothing! Or watch a funny movie or read a comic.
You don’t want to grow old before your time, do you? Given the hectic lifestyle of today, young men as old as 20 are falling prey to the risks of increased blood pressure, cardiovascular distresses and high cholesterol. Just 20 minutes of brisk physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, improves attention and cognitive performance. So, don’t wait too long to lubricate those joints. Go for a brisk walk, work out at the gym, swim or cycle. Again, you’ll know best what makes you tick. Every park has regular walkers. The tragedy is that most of them are well into their retirement and are walking because the physician has advised it. You don’t have to wait that long! After all, prevention is better than cure.
Now let it out! Whether you undertake deep breathing consciously or as part of a yoga regimen, it is a great way to unwind. Focusing on your breathing and taking deep breaths pumps up oxygen into your brain, brings in a sense of peace, calmness and well-being.
Inhale slowly to the count of five, and exhale to another five counts. When you consciously breathe at a slow pace, you trick your body into slowing down as well. Your heart rate calms down, as does the adrenaline rush associated with stress. Repeat till you can feel your body is comfortable loose and your muscles are not bunched up with stress. Even when you are in the midst of a crisis, this simple, self-conscious technique will lull your body into a sense of peace, allowing you to take better, less emotional decisions. It only takes five minutes for you to repeat the breathe-in-breathe-out exercise enough number of times to be able to relax and think your way out of the crisis at hand.
Flood your mind with images that promote peace and tranquility. Imagine yourself in an exotic locale or recall some of your most favourite and happy memories. Think of the good times spent with loved ones and friends. Recall your lighter moments. In short, indulge in a good old daydream. Before you know it, your muscles will have relaxed and you’ll be all set to tackle the world head on!
It’s not for nothing that music is one of the most often cited interests among today’s generation. As the level of stress with which you are trying to cope increases, so does the gentle influence of music. While the preference of genres may differ, experiments prove that soothing music is often more successful in promoting feelings of tranquility and reducing tension. In contrast, depending on the individual, heavy metal and loud music can escalate feelings of aggression. But there’s no hard and fast rule here. Just being swept off by your favourite track can detach you from the source of stress and rejuvenate you.
Indulge your Senses
Whether you are munching on your favourite food, listening to a good track, watching peaceful images, substituting the stressful stimulus for a more pleasant one can put you back on track.
A Nice Warm Bath
My granddad had a formula that he prescribed for all kinds of troubles—from heartache to an arrear. Relaxing in a hot bath eases weary muscles and joints, relieves stress and promotes a general sense of relaxation and well being, besides preparing your overworked mind for a long, tight snooze! And if you can add an aromatherapy blend to your bath, then you’re in for a wonderfully relaxing time! The most highly recommended blend of oils that combats stress in men is a blend of the oils of Sage, Bergamot and geranium. The synergistic blend relaxes you completely and leaves you with a woodsy after-smell – something your significant other will surely appreciate.
A Good Long Snooze
Provided you aren’t so stressed out that you can’t sleep, a good long nap can work wonders. Ever noticed how Herculean problems diminish in size the next morning? That’s because your brain has enough time to detach and distance from the stress and provide you with much needed freshness of perspective. On the contrary, lack of sleep can make it more difficult for you to cope with aggravations. Snooze mode is the prime time when your body and mind does most of its repairs and renovation. 7-8 hours of solid sleep every night reduces the risks of anxiety, heart disease, depression, hypertension, and strokes.
When you are stressed, anxious or tense, serotonin (a brain chemical responsible for feelings of relaxation and calmness) levels tend to dip. Sweet and starchy foods increase serotonin levels, bringing about a general feeling of content and happiness. But do watch out for the calories! Herbal teas are also a great source of relaxation. Green tea in particular can have a very soothing effect. A rich source of theanine, green tea promotes the release of neurotransmitters like GABA, serotonin and dopamine, which induce a calming effect.
Schedule Your Day
Planning your day in advance keeps you in much better control of your day and events. Sure, you may be called to change your schedule as liabilities crop up, but you still have an idea of what you want accomplished. It also saves you from procrastination which can lead to higher stress levels.
You don’t have to book yourself into a spa in the Himalayas if you feel that the stress in your life is overwhelming you. Just follow our ten Xpert ways to relax (do one of them daily, if you can!) and feel yourself get calmer.