Maximize Relaxation to Combat Stress
We're constantly bombarded with messages telling us that we need to relax. At the same time, it seems as if there's absolutely no chance to do so, not in our super busy daily lives. If you take care of your body and mind, though, it pays healthy dividends and can help protect against the effects of chronic stress. The first strategy to put in place is to get your share of rest and relaxation.
Your Body Needs Rest
Getting enough sleep - good quality sleep - is absolutely essential for functioning optimally. Sleep is essential for restoring your body’s energy, repairing muscles, and promoting good appetite. Quality of sleep matters as much as the amount of shut eye you get. The more time you spend in the REM stage of sleep the better, as REM (dream) sleep is the most restorative. Lack of good sleep can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, headaches and depression.
Finding Ways to Relax
Of course, sleep isn’t the only way to rest. Finding ways to destress throughout your day is important, too. You may have heard of the fight-or-flight response? Well, it has an opposite and complementary response – rest-and-digest. This happens naturally when your body no longer thinks it is in any perceived danger, and when the autonomic nervous system returns to balance after a stressful situation. The relaxation response is like an off switch, where the body moves from a stressed state (physiological arousal) to one of calm. You can engage this response by using techniques that are designed to relax both body and mind. Some effective ways to do this include:
Laughter is Good Medicine
Did you know that a hearty laugh is an amazingly effective way to destress, too? Get the funny films out, the hilarious internet pet videos, or other material that gives you a big belly laugh. Laughter can potentially help your heart and lung health as well as promoting muscle relaxation. We know that a good giggle can help our mental health,too. As well as flooding our body with feel-good chemicals, it helps to reduce anxiety.
If you aren’t getting enough time to relax, and find yourself feeling really tense and stressed out, carve out a few minutes each day to do a simple meditation and deep breathing exercises. Schedule a massage session or attend a yoga class. Feel the relaxation kick in again. Make time to unwind so you can enjoy life to its fullest!