All of us can get quite caught up in the day to day stressors of office and work. If there is not release, the built up pressure can have adverse effects on health. Imagine a bottle with the pressure from steam building up. If it finds no escape route, there is a danger of it exploding. If we allow a slow release every once in a while, to blow off the steam, then the pressure will ease off. The same is true of our minds. Some quick relaxation techniques can go a long away to protect you against everyday stressors of daily living. I will share these in reverse order.
#7 – Take some time to play with your kids or family or friends
The bar is not always the best place to release your pressures as I have seen many getting addicted to alcohol or cigarettes and further ruining their health. You can shoot some hoops or practice some shots of cricket or even enjoy a game of scrabble or monopoly – whatever you prefer.
#6 – Listen to music you enjoy
Music has the ability to calm us down by altering our brain waves. Put on some relaxing music whether it is classical strains or the soothing voice of Kishore or Lata, take some time every once in a while to enjoy your favourite music.
#5 – Take time out from your busy schedule for a hobby
One of the alarming trends I find among young people today is an absence of hobbies. All they every do is go out to eat, drink or watch a movie. Instead take up gardening, cooking or learning to dance or play an instrument. This will do much more for your relaxation than addictive substances which offer only short term release and come at the cost of long term problems.
#4 – Practice deep breathing
It is said that our breath is the connection between the outer and inner. Focussing on our breath, even for 10 breaths can relax your mind, lower your blood pressure and reduce your heart rate. Ensure that you are breathing slowly and deeply. As you breathe in, say to yourself, “I know that I am breathing in.” Allow your belly to fill up like a balloon. As you breathe out say, “I know that I am breathing out.” Allow your belly to flatten and then exhale from the chest.
#3- Take time out for meditation
Meditation is a very powerful practice for a variety of situations. It helps to relax your whole body including internal organs, it helps to connect with our innate wisdom and creativity and helps with clarity of thought and a mind that is more still. After your morning exercise or just after your shower or before sleeping, take some time to simply close your eyes and be with yourself. The best definition of meditation I heard was, “Prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God”. Do this for minimum 5-10 minutes everyday and observe the changes within yourself.
#2 – Spend time in Nature
We are intricately linked to Nature. In fact, we ARE nature. Look up at the sky and be amazed by the designs of the scattered clouds. Immerse yourself in the colours of a sunset or sunrise which is displayed in all its splendour everyday. Gaze at the stars and the moon and wonder at the infinite expanse of the Universe and the billions of galaxies that lie beyond. Or simply enjoy the freshness of a flower or the spontaneous joy of a butterfly. When we allow our hearts to connect to the beauty and unfathomable wonders of Nature, we relax at a very deep level.
#1 – Be grateful for what you have
One of the greatest stressors of modern lives is the syndrome of comparing ourselves to others and only focussing on the lack. This created much angst for me when I worked in the corporate world. A wise teacher once told me, “Even if you win the rat race, remember you are still a rat!” There is absolutely no point focussing on lack. Focus on abundance instead and all that your life is full of. For example, you may have a great relationship with your spouse or enough money in the bank, fabulous gadgets or plenty of clothes. Think of all the people who would give anything to be in your shoes right now. It is said that we draw to ourselves, whatever we are grateful for. If there was only one prayer you could say, let it be “Thank you!”
Now, pick any of the above ideas that resonate with you and practice in the coming week.
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