Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Art Of Relaxation Is Important to Learn

Including relaxation time in your day generally adds to your productivity by enhancing your ability to think clearly. It improves your relationships with those around you at work and at home allowing not only you but also others around you to be more productive.

Relaxation lowers your blood pressure, improves your immune system and a host of other benefits. Benjamin Franklin said, "He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities".

A certain amount of stress is needed. Your body and mind grow with some stress. Too much stress breaks your body down. Illness and depression can result.

Too much stress causes your body to go into the "fight or flight" mode. Powerful hormones run throughout your body allowing you to run fast and fight hard. Your body also prepares for the attack by accelerating your heart and lung action. Your blood vessels constrict in some areas and the vessels that go to your muscles dilate. Your digestion slows down and many other bodily functions are altered to prepare you for the up coming event.

If your body stays in this mode too long your immune system is weakened, constipation occurs, panic attacks and a host of other problems can arise. Learning to redirect your mind so your body can shut down the "fight or flight" response is important for your physical and mental well-being. Relaxation is important for your health.

Learning to relax is an art. We do not all find relaxation from the same activities. Taking the time to try out several methods of relaxation is time well spent.

Including some relaxation time in you day is very important. Quieting the mind generally requires awareness of your body. There is nothing more vital than your breath. Focusing on your breath is an excellent way of learning to be aware of your body.

Here is an exercise that will help you become aware of your breath. It is my favorite breathing exercise:

Sit in a chair with your feet on the ground. Imagine a string attached to the top of your head is gently pulling you up helping you sit up straight. Allow the natural arch in your back to occur. Relax your shoulders and let them drop down.

Place one hand on your belly. Breath in through your nose filling your belly up like a balloon. count in your mind how long it takes to fill up your belly. Once your belly is full slowly release the air through your mouth. Count in your mind as you do this and try to double the amount of time it takes to empty your lungs so if it took three slow counts to fill your belly, your goal is to take six slow counts to empty your belly.

Do this exercise for two minutes a few times a day. Once your body learns to deep breath you can stop counting the inhalation and exhalation instead breath in and then say something like "calm" or "peace" as you release your breath through your mouth.

Now that you are aware of your body you can go on to expand your search for other ways to relax your mind and body.

Exercise is key in assisting your body to learn to relax. It actually decreases your stress hormones and increases your "feel good" chemicals. Research suggests that those who exercise develop some immunity to stress so relaxing is easier to do when you exercise on a regular basis.

There are many ways to relax. A lot of people meditate to relax. The use of candles, calming scents and hot tubs are effective for many. Listening to calming music can help you let go of the day's stresses. Just sitting and doing nothing can be relaxing.

Laughter is a great way to relax. Watching comedic movies and television shows as well as reading funny books adds to your ability to relax. Laughter releases chemicals that sooth stress.

Massage therapy can be very relaxing. Surrounding yourself with positive friends helps too. Use your imagination.

Having a list of ways for you to relax should be on the top of your list of things to do. Learning to relax will enhance your life and those around you. It is an art worthy of learning!

Your fitness expert


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