1. Relaxation in your
Car, Home and Work
2. Stress Relief Tips
3. Relax Into Health
4. Squeeze To Relax
5. A Forty-Five-Second Meditation
Relaxation in your Car, Home and
The problem with the many stress relief techniques offered today
is the requirement to take time out of your busy day to practice
For many of us, that is simply not possible.
And while it is universally agreed that allowing yourself to relax
is an important health benefit, stressing oneself to find the time
to relax seems a bit counter-intuitive. And for many people, taking
yourself out of your normal day-to-day activities to "relax"
might actually cause more stress then relief!
Two Techniques That Work EVERYWHERE
Along with deep, diaphragmatic breathing (breathing through your
nose, making your stomach, versus your chest, rise and fall), the
only relaxation tool that can be used anywhere you may find yourself
is playing relaxation music.
Many wellness traditions consider sound therapy one of the most
profound healing modalities. As a result, several health spas, interested
in extending the relaxation their guests feel, are providing branded
relaxation music to their customers to help with their customer's
home spa routine.
The great thing about relaxation music CDs is that, regardless
of your location, popping in your favorite CD will immediately bring
calm. You can listen to your relaxation music in your car, calming
yourself before (or after) a tough day at work, you can listen to
your relaxation music at work to help keep your stress level in
check, and you can listen to relaxation music while at home, dealing
with the day-to-day issues life brings our way. In other words,
any where you go, your ability to put relaxation music CDs to work
for you follows!
Take the time to get some relaxation music in your life. Now is
the time to enjoy the easy-to-use benefits of relaxation music!
© 2005 -- Great Relaxation Music
Stress Relief Tips
You can learn to manage bad stress by making a committment to
doing one or two of these tips each day.
Stress can act as a motivator or energizer. Too much of bad stress
can cause medical and social problems. Because the body responds
to stress physically, bad stress causes the “fight or flight”
reaction. The body changes, prepares to either confront the challenge
or flee from it. Stress releases adrenaline (the stress hormone),
heart rate increases, breathing quickens and blood pressures rises.
The liver increases output of sugar and blood flow is diverted to
the brain and large muscles. Symptoms of stress include, feeling
anxious, feeling scared, irritable or moody. Stress affects thoughts.
Thoughts of low self-esteem, fear of failure, inability to concentrate,
worrying about the future, preoccupation with thoughts/tasks and
forgetfulness can be present. Stress affects behavior. It can cause
stuttering and other speech difficulties, bouts of crying for no
apparent reason, laughing in a high pitch or nervous tone of voice,
increased accident prone behavior, overeating, under eating and
increased use of drugs and alcohol.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80%
of health care is spent on stress related disorders. These ailments
include hypertension, migraine, headaches, ulcers, anxiety, allergies,
asthma, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Constant, chronic stress
can also suppress the immune system thereby making the body more
susceptible to disease, even the common cold and flu.
Major life events or changes are the greatest contributors of stress
in most people. These events place the highest demands on resources
for coping. On most life stress evaluation tools, the top ten stressors
in life are
-Death of a spouse
-Death of a Close Family Member
-Personal Injury or Illness
-Loss of Job
Below are tips for reducing stress and managing the stresses in
every day life.
Breathe Deeply – Inhale deeply through your nose. Pull the
air all the way down, deep into the lungs. Hold the breath for a
count of six. Exhale slowly through the mouth to the count of six.
Do this for several minutes. Be careful not to hyperventilate. If
dizzy or light-headedness occur, begin breathing naturally.
Express Feelings and Thoughts - Call a friend. Join a group. Join
a community on the Internet. If you feel these avenues are not helping
talk to your doctor, seek out a counselor. Use all resources after
through work, church and community. If seeing a counselor is something
you’re fearful of, consider getting a pet. Pets listen very
Make Time for Relaxation and Fun – Find an activity that
makes you feel good. It may be dancing, listening to music, walking
along the beach, prayer, hiking in the mountains, working in the
garden, taking photographs, watching birds, going to the movies,
golfing, swimming, visiting museums. Make a list of activities that
give you joy. Break them down into time segments of 2-5 minutes,
5-20 minutes, 30 minutes to ½ day and ½ day or longer.
List the activities that give you joy under these time segments.
Do at least three of them everyday. Most people think they have
to do big things, such as vacations of whole days away from work
or home to relieve stress. Not so, small activities that give you
joy are the best stress busters.
Exercise - Try something new, like swimming. Begin a walking program.
Do some form of exercise that interests you. Make sure to consult
your physician beforehand.
Laugh - Laughter is a great way to relieve stress. If you find
something funny, have a good belly laugh. Watch funny movies. Read
Get Rid of Negative - Take a hard look at the circle or environment
you’re standing in. People who are negative and prone to “moods”
spread negativity to others. Learn to say no to negativity and remove
yourself from it whenever possible.
Write – Write out your complaints or troubles. Writing is
no substitute for professional help but it does allow you to vent
your feelings and frustrations. By writing with pen in hand or at
the keyboard, you may discover an insight or solution to whatever
is frustrating or bothering you.
Get A Massage – Make an investment in yourself. Massage therapy
can relax muscles, easy muscle spasm, increase blood flow to skin
and muscles and relieve mental and emotional stress. A massage will
be one of the best investments you’ve ever made.
Be Realistic in Expectations – Don’t expect everyone
to be like you or behave to your code of “shoulds and oughts”.
Don’t expect to be right all the time. Don’t expect
harmony all the time. Real life has conflicts in it. Be willing
to confront conflict, state your needs then work at coming to a
Monitor Your Communication Skills – Aggressive and hostile
communication with others antagonizes and alienates. Assertive training
can help you learn to express your needs without offending others
or feeling ignored.
You can only change yourself - Work to grasp the full meaning of
this statement. Trying to change another person causes stress to
both parties. It can ruin relationships, damage relationships and
cause others to withdraw from you. If you make statements such as
– if only he, if only she, if only they – then you need
to look in the mirror and say, what can I change about myself to
make the situation better.
Accept - If you can’t leave a situation that is causing you
extreme stress then accept it as it is. Adjust your approach to
it. Look for ways to see positive things. Do not dwell on the negative.
Above all, if the situation is abusive, either physically or emotionally
(this includes work situations also) seek professional help through
Stress will not suddenly disappear in modern day life. It will
remain even increase. To reduce and manage stress takes a commitment
to do so. Make a commitment to practice or do anyone of the following
tips and chances are stress levels will begin to fall to a range
where it is manageable and causes no long-term damage to health
© 2002 Pagewise
Relax Into Health
By Wayne McDonald
I’d like to share a little secret about relaxation techniques
for athletes (or health-minded people that workout) and anyone that
wants to feel more focused, calm, healthy and peaceful.
But first, let’s define relaxation techniques, or more specifically,
meditation. To begin, it’s not necessary to be a Zen master
to learn meditation. Anyone can jump-in at any time and start meditating.
You should put any expectations aside; do not try to force the outcome;
don’t try to over-analyze "what meditation is";
and in general, just turn-off the brain and be in the moment. When
meditating it is not necessary to blank out your mind or chase thoughts
away. You’ll learn that as you progress with meditation, your
mind will become quieter. Sit comfortably, with your spine reasonably
straight. You can rest against a chair, a wall or headboard. Your
hands can rest comfortably at your side or on your lap. Your legs
can also be in any comfortable position (crossing them or any complicated
pretzel position is not necessary). Overall, allow your body to
sit comfortably so your body-mind-spirit can be open to relax.
There are different types of meditations that you can use in your
daily practice. Here are a few:
* Mindfulness - A process focusing on physical sensations and being
present of the moment. It is being attentive to the sensory information
entering your mind through your five senses. Beneficial to athletes,
people in body pain or someone with a health challenge, dieters
and overall for body awareness.
* Visualization - This process creates in the mind specific places
or situations, such as a green forest or the calming waves of the
ocean. This can be used for goal setting or for quieting the mind.
* Breath mediation - A process focusing on the rhythm of breathing.
* Walking meditation - This Zen Buddhist form of meditation focuses
on the sensation of the feet against the ground. Some people have
discovered its benefits without realizing it was meditative. Pacing
back and forth can be very calming on the mind.
This next meditation I strongly recommend learning first. In fact,
I do a "sandwich" - I start with grounding then one of
the meditations listed above and end my meditation practice with
Grounding - This process is being fully present mentally and emotionally
and will help you feel more centered and focused. Practicing grounding
will put you in control of your environment and focus your energies
in your daily routine. Anyone learning meditation for the first
time will gain great benefits by practicing grounding on a daily
The Tree Meditation is the simplest exercise to feel more relaxed
and energized. Yes, you can actually experience both of these at
the same time! Familiarize yourself with this meditation by reading
it two or three times and then begin. If you want, you can set a
timer for ten minutes.
* Close your eyes and breathe in calmly. Each breath, imagine sipping
air with a straw.
* Breathe in --- slow --- and relaxed.
* Imagine a beautiful, majestic tree. As you think of this tree,
breathing in more relaxed, imagine YOU are the tree. With each calming
breath your spine lengthens. See your body as the trunk of the tree;
and as you continue breathing down from your head to your spine,
down to your hips ---continue breathing down, feeling more relaxed
and calm; down your legs --- your feet ---supporting you like the
trunk of the tree.
* As you continue breathing, imagine healthy strong roots extending
from the bottom of your feet. Your roots extend deep into Mother
Earth, anchoring your body. You’re healthy-whole-and complete;
fully supported as you breathe deep into the earth. You are a beautiful
tree; you feel strong, solid and fully grounded where you are.
* Continue relaxing and breathing. When you are ready, come back
to the present --- alert, confident and fully energized.
The last type of meditation is Transcendental. This is a specific
type of meditation that must be learned from a certified teacher
of the Transcendental Meditation program. Introduced in the late
1950s, this meditation focuses on a mantra (a sound, word or phrase
that is repeated over and over, either aloud, as a chant or silently).
Studies of relaxation techniques have shown overall improvements
of the body-mind connection for athletes and many health benefits
for individuals. Taking the time to meditate and quiet our mind
gives us the time to pause in our daily lives. It is the greatest
power we hold, to be in the moment, alive and aware of our surroundings
and our body. Relaxation gives us time to better organize our day,
focus our energy and work more efficiently.
Start your meditation practice in the morning for ten to fifteen
minutes. Many of the types of meditations - Grounding, Mindfulness,
Visualization, Breath, Walking or Transcendental - can be done at
home, work or out-and-about. There are hundreds of meditations to
match the needs of the individual or to meet a specific purpose.
You can find meditations online, in books, on CD and by taking a
class. Over time you will have increased self-esteem and self-confidence;
greater creativity; a greater ability to problem solve; and a more
calming effect on your surroundings and the people you interact
Copyright 2006-2007Wayne McDonald
Wayne McDonald is the author of "Relax Into Health" -
a comprehensive guide to completely relax your body in five minutes.
He is the founder of http://www.HolisticWebDirectory.com - an on-line
health directory of complementary health care professionals. For
more health articles, signup for the monthly Health Newsletter.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Squeeze To Relax!
By Tim Webb
This heading may seem like a contradiction in terms. How on earth
is squeezing anything going to allow for relaxation to occur? Surely
it will generate more tension, won’t it?
Well, not necessarily. Indeed, combined with focused breathing
it is a great tool to alleviate stress and will help those stubborn
tense muscles to let go!
It is a common affliction for many people to have unnecessary muscular
tension throughout their bodies and this becomes the norm. Hectic
lifestyles and sedentary jobs all contribute towards tension in
the body as well as bad posture.
This being the case it may sound ludicrous to suggest creating
more tension by squeezing. However, it is by initially squeezing
that a wonderful physical contrast is created leaving the body feeling
more tranquil. Also, once you have experienced the difference it
will also encourage you to consciously become less tense and to
use less energy when going about everyday tasks.
Below are some simple instructions that can be instantly used to
experience how squeezing muscles and breathing in a specific way
can help tension to subside!
1. Sit or stand comfortable.
2. Inhale and squeeze a muscle group.
3. Hold for a second and then, as you release this muscular tension,
exhale slowly and fully.
4. Repeat this five to ten times. Note the distinction between
how your muscles felt to begin with and now, after having let them
relax from a contracted position.
5. Note – If you are looking for a quick way to loose tension
all over your body all you need do is, from a standing position,
inhale and squeeze your entire body and then on the long slow exhalation
release all tension. Try this five times and feel the positive effects!
Whether you squeeze and then relax one muscle at a time or your
whole body you should have the feeling of almost deflating like
a balloon and loosing undue tension.
It is also worth bearing in mind there are no long periods of squeezing
muscles and holding the breath! It is not required and is dangerous.
You can utilise this method whenever you feel stressed, tense,
or angry and it will go a long way towards reminding you that a
relaxed body is almost always better and happier than a tense one.
Give it a whirl and feel for yourself!
© Tim Webb 2005
Tim Webb is a fitness instructor, Ju Jutsu instructor and competitor.
He specialises in easily accessible deep breathing exercises that
combine breath and mind together. His site http://www.breathforsuccess.com/
offers a product that provides deep breathing exercises for invigorating
yourself, relaxing, and highlights how your breath can be tied in
with your goals to move you towards them in record time!
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A Forty-Five-Second Meditation
By Steven Gillman
Is Meditation Too Much Time And Trouble?
If you haven't meditated before, you might think it's too much
trouble to learn. If you do meditate, you know it can be difficult
to find the time to do it consistently. So is there really a meditation
you can learn right now that can be done in 45 seconds? There is.
Three Deep Breaths
Try this: breath through your mouth, and notice how your chest
expands; then breath through your nose and you'll notice how your
abdomen goes out more. You see, breathing through the nose causes
the diaphram to pull the air to the bottom of your lungs. This delivers
a good dose of oxygen into your bloodstream, and into your brain.
It also tends to relax you.
This is why meditators breath through their noses. It's healthier,
and it is the basis of this forty-five-second meditation. You simply
close your eyes, let go of your thoughts (to the extent possible),
and take three slow, deep breaths through your nose, paying attention
to your breathing.
The Rest Of The Story
Now, this won't get you into a deep meditative state, especially
if you've never meditated before. Is this a reason not to do it?
Not at all. You'll get what you get out of it, and that almost certainly
includes a clearer mind and a reduction in stress.
Make it a ritual. For example, each time you get into your car,
quietly do your three deep breaths. Having a regular "trigger"
like this to remind you will keep you from procrastinating so often
that you eventually forget to meditate altogether (isn't this typical
when we don't make a habit out of the things we want to do?).
Want it to be a deeper experience? There's nothing wrong with just
enjoying the relaxation created by three deep breaths, but you can
go further, if you wish. Longer meditation will help, of course,
but that isn't the only way.
If, when you have more time, you learn mindfulness, how to relax
more fully, or better ways to let go of distractions in your mind,
you can more effectively use that forty-five-seconds. You may even
be able to get to that "alpha" state (brain wave frequecy
of 8 to 12 hertz) during your short meditation.
Don't worry if some say this isn't "real" meditation.
We walk before we run, and not everything has to be difficult to
be of value. Why not do a forty-five-second meditation right now?
Steve Gillman has meditated and studied meditation for over twenty
years. You can visit his website, and subscribe to The Meditation
Newsletter at: http://www.TheMeditationSite.com/newsletter.html
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