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Rediff

Article Summary   by:Afsheen    
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Today's fast-paced lifestyles force us to push our minds and bodies to the limit, usually at the expense of our physical and mental well-being. When we become stressed, our bodies switch to a mode called the 'fight or flight response', which is characterized by increased heart rate, blood pressure, higher breathing rate, etc. Over time, these reactions increase cholesterol levels, disturb intestinal activities, depress the immune system, and leave us feeling stressed out.Relaxation techniques are great tools for dealing with stress and promoting long-term health by slowing down the body and calming the mind. Used daily, these techniques can lead to a healthier outlook towards stressful situations and a decline in stress-related disorders such as anxiety, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, insomnia, etc.Here are some techniques you might want to consider:1. Deep breathing. Inhale. Close your mouth, loosen your shoulders, and inhale as slowly and deeply as you can. . Hold. Keep the air in your lungs as you slowly count to 6. . Exhale. Release the air through your mouth, again slowly counting to 6. . Repeat. Go over the inhale-hold-exhale cycle 5-10 times.2. Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR)This is good for relaxing your body, especially when your muscles are tense. It requires slowly tensing and then releasing every muscle group individually, from the toes all the way up to the face. It is useful for calming nerves before an important presentation or performance, and for quieting down when you are highly stressed.3. MeditationThe concept behind meditation is to consciously relax your body and focus your thought processes on one particular thing for a prolonged period. Your mind thus remains occupied and diverted from issues causing you stress. This exercise simply involves sitting in a quiet place closing your eyes and then concentrating on a certain object. 4. Self-hypnosisSit down at a quiet, comfortable place.
Relax your body. Imagine waves of relaxation running down your body from your head downwards, washing away stress. Feel the muscles in your body relaxing as waves of relaxation wash over them.Next, utilize suggestion to deepen the state of relaxation. You can do this by simply saying to yourself: 'I am tired and sleepy. I can feel my arms and legs getting heavier. I am becoming more and more tired' Once you feel completely relaxed, add the affirmations you have prepared too.5. YogaYogic breathing reduces blood pressure and brings intense relaxation. Furthermore, it gives improved appearance via better posture, muscle and skin-tone, if practiced regularly. Bones and muscles are strengthened and joints become more flexible. 6. ImageryYou may have noticed how particular environments can be very relaxing, while others can be extremely stressful. This is the idea behind the use of imagery in stress reduction. use your imagination to recreate a scene, place or event that you recall as being relaxing, safe, peaceful, beautiful and happy. 7. Music or suggestion CDsAnother approach is listening to calming music or relaxation tapes. Soothing music has a lot of power to influence your thoughts and feelings. With continued practice in the techniques enumerated above, you may experience renewed energy, better concentration, better ability to deal with problems, more efficiency in daily activities, less indigestion, headaches, nausea, and less frequent emotional responses like anger, anxiety, crying, anxiety, apprehension and frustration.Sounds good, doesn't it? What are you waiting for?
Published: October 13, 2006   
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