Taking Time to Relax
Children have the right idea when it comes to relaxing. If you have ever watched toddlers, you have seen them engaging in a frenzied flurry of activity until the moment at which they no longer want to be engaged. At that point, they simply drop to the floor and rest. When they are refreshed, up they pop and off they go.
Toddlers have a very affirmative sense of self-worth; the entire world revolves around them! While becoming as self-centered as a child may not be the best course of action (and it will not win you any points at home), learn to acknowledge your own self-worth. The more value you place upon yourself, the more likely you are to take the time needed for relaxation. For people with low self-esteem and a low sense of self-worth, working with a professional therapist could be helpful.
To your stress-relief tool chest, add another important tool: music. The right sorts of music can be both energizing and relaxing, and this combination is perfect for reducing stress. Let memory aid in the selection of relaxing music. Try to recall a vacation that was particularly enjoyable and relaxing, such as a trip to the beach. A CD of ocean waves might, in that case, allow you to relax and recall that time when you were calm and at peace. If a recent hike in the wilderness proved soothing, look for a CD with bird sounds or wind rustling.
If you cannot commit to an hour for relaxation, can you find ten minutes? Progressive relaxation offers a quick, simple means to relax the body and mind. More importantly, it can be done anywhere, without the aid of expensive equipment. This technique involves a conscious awareness of each and every part of the body, in succession from head to toe. As each body part is visualized and focused upon, muscles relax and tension dissipates. Best of all, progressive relaxation is a technique that can be used at work, on a bus, or lying in bed at night.
Yoga is one of the most popular methods of combining exercise, stress relief, and relaxation. Yoga involves stretching, positioning, breathing, strength, stamina, and flexibility. Instructors teach different yoga positions that work different parts of the body, and these poses can be executed extremely slowly, or relatively quickly. Yoga is a flexible system that can easily be adapted to an individual's physical limitations, and it is ideal for migraineurs because it does not involve high-impact activities that can act as triggers. If time is a consideration, yoga is a perfect outlet for stress relief because it can do double duty as both exercise and as a relaxation technique. Watch a yoga program on television or, if time permits, join a yoga class.
Meditation is another stress-relieving activity that allows both the body and mind to relax. The idea behind meditation is that attention can be focused outside the body, onto an object or idea. Focused breathing and postures are two of the central elements of meditation. Many Eastern religions around the world use meditation as a way of achieving a higher spiritual connection, and most religions incorporate meditation into their practice in some capacity. Consider learning more about meditation by reading, attending workshops, or working with an expert.
If music is sufficiently soothing and played at a low enough volume, it can also be used as a sleep aid. Look for music with rhythmic, repeating elements. Some people prefer natural sounds such as ocean waves and wind, while others find the monotonic, repeating sounds of African drumming to be more soothing.