Ways to relax

Are you feeling worried, hurried or overloaded with work and you have a lot of mental and physical tension? If you fail to relax you can easily poison your relationships at work and at home and you may develop physical health problems. That is why you need to arm yourself with tools and techniques that can help you to relax. Here are some of the ways to relax.

1. Progressive muscle relaxation

There are times when you feel stiff and rigid especially around the shoulders. In the evening, instead of watching television, take a hot bath with a relaxing essential oil and then lie down. Start from the head and squeeze the muscles for a few seconds and relax your them. Repeat five times. Go through each muscle group, i.e. the face, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, belly, back, buttocks, thighs, calves and toes, squeezing and relaxing. Finally tense the whole body for a number of seconds and let go completely. This will relieve the tension in your body.

2. Meditation

Meditation is a technique that relaxes both body and mind, improves sleep, controls anxiety and reduces stress. You may want to do it after progressive muscle relaxation but sit up comfortably in a straight-backed chair or cross-legged. Then use your imagination to visualize yourself in a tropical paradise at a beach, sitting there alone. Imagine the sound and sight of ocean waves, the heat of the sun on your skin and a gentle breeze. Enjoy the peace and quiet and allow yourself to relax for 20 to 30 minutes or even longer if you can sustain the visualization.

This will take your mind away from the work or family problems and calm you down. It’s a mini-holiday that you can take every day after work.

3. Take yoga classes

Do you spend your evenings after work either watching endless television programs or having drinks with your friends? Consider using your valuable time to learn one form of yoga.

Yoga is not just a physical activity. It is also a mental and emotional activity. Some of your problems may be caused by glandular problems and some yoga poses massage certain glands to improve both mental and physical wellbeing.

Yoga relaxes the body, reduces stress and anxiety and improves your health status by reducing the secretion of cortisol, the stress hormone as has been confirmed by many studies.

4. Deep breathing

Learn to breathe deeply to provide your body and brain with sufficient oxygen. With deep breathing you also remove all the stale air from the lungs.

Sit up straight in a straight-backed chair. Then breathe deeply filling your lungs until you feel even expand your belly to fill the bottom part of the lungs. Breathe in for a count of 8, hold for a count of 10, then breathe out slowly to a count of 8. Repeat several times.

While breathing in, imagine that you are taking in prana (of Ki) in the form of a bright white light. See that prana filling your lungs. As you breath out see yourself breathing out dark grey air. That way you are bringing into your body, not just oxygen, but more energy as well, and you are removing stale air and toxins as you breathe out.

Do this first thing in the morning, during the day when you feel rushed and in the evening before going to bed. Eventually, deep breathing will become a natural habit. You will find that most of your tension is gone and your brain is clearer.

5. Essential oils

Turn to nature for relaxing body and mind. Essential oils are extracted from barks, stems, flowers and roots of plants and they are concentrated sources of beneficial phytochemicals. You will benefit if you buy the right pharmaceutical grade essential oils for relaxation.

Inspire positive emotional states with essential oils. Each oil’s pleasant and unique scent activates emotions and memories, which can help in your search for joy, peace, tranquility and balance. To achieve that, use essential oils and blends through inhalation, diffusion, massage, soothing baths, or topical application.

For relaxation and stress relief use lavender, Roman chamomile, bergamot, sweet marjoram, neroli (orange blossom) or vetiver essential oil.

For anxiety and depression use lavender, cedarwood, bergamot, frankincense, clary sage, geranium, mandarin, neroli, patchouli, Roman chamomile, rose, or sandalwood.

Essential oils are powerful and they can burn the skin. Learn first how to use them before you begin.

6. Massage

If you have a partner or spouse, learn how to give each other a full-body massage. Buy massage oil pre-mixed with relaxing essential oils. Then take turns to give each other a massage. This can become a multi-benefit activity as you both relax and become more romantic.

If you don’t have a partner or spouse, have a regular massage at the spa near you. Skip some of the non-essential expenses and invest in a full-body massage session every few months. You will love the way you feel relaxed.

7. Develop a positive mindset

There are times when you are tense, worried or stressed simply because of your mindset. You may be worried about finances or a possible job loss or any other life situation. It is wise to really examine your thought patterns and be objective about it.

If you find that maybe you are too negative, start having more positive self-talk. Relook at the stressors in your life in a more positive way. Instead of continued thoughts that your son will end up in jail, start visualizing him behaving more positively and being more responsible and actually graduating from the university. You will actually create a better future for him rather than a future in jail.

Are you probably jumping to conclusions or overgeneralizing, giving yourself sleepless nights? Maybe you made a mistake at work but that doesn’t mean you will be fired. Why not own up your mistake, apologize and make an effort to impress the boss? If you are worried about losing your job because of automation, why don’t you reskill yourself so that you can continue being employable?

The moment you own up to your negative thoughts and begin to change them, you will find that you begin to relax and sleep better. Also, you will begin to take action to improve your situation.

It is possible to relax

If you adopt some of these ways to relax, you will become more relaxed and happier. Once in a year or two, go for a holiday at a health hotel for deeper relaxation and rest.