Experiencing stress is inevitable; it is a natural part of life that can affect people physically, emotionally, and mentally. The key to managing stress and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is through relaxation. Contrary to popular belief, relaxing isn’t necessarily a motionless and quiet activity, such as taking a nap or practicing meditation. To attain ultimate relaxation, you must do something that satisfies you and takes your mind off life.
Play with Your Pet
Spending a few minutes with your dog or cat is a quick way to distract you from whatever is making you tense. Pets are great at reading how a person is feeling. If you’ve had a bad day, cuddle up next to your furry friend. Snuggling with a pet can actually lower your blood pressure if you are feeling wound-up. If you’d prefer to do something a little more active, kneel on the ground and playfully push your pet around like he does to you when he greets you at the door.
Put down your phone, computer, and other electronics, and become one with nature. Whether you go for a walk or simply lay down in the grass, taking a step back from technology promotes a feeling of calm. Be in tune with your senses by blocking out your thoughts from the day. What do you smell? What do you hear? What can you see?
Preoccupy your mind by making a new recipe. Watch videos on the web, flip through your favorite magazines, or search recipes online until you find a dish you’d like to try. Following a recipe will help you forget the stress of the day and focus on the task at hand. For added excitement, turn cooking into a challenge by having a friend or roommate randomly select three ingredients from your pantry; work to make a delicious meal using the three ingredients selected.
Use Your Imagination
Similar to having a great dream in the middle of a deep sleep, visualizing provides a temporary escape from reality. Imagine yourself standing at your favorite place during the most picture-perfect season of the year. Think about who is there with you and what your surroundings look like. The more detailed your thoughts are, the more relaxed you will be since the brain is unable to identify the difference between reality and imagination.
While cleaning may not seem relaxing, it can, however, be very rewarding. Not only do you feel a sense of accomplishment when you are finished, but organizing your physical environment actually helps organize your mind. The less cluttered your thoughts and surroundings are, the less frazzled you’ll feel.
Stress is something everyone experiences at some point in time; it is your body’s way of reacting to a situation or environment you are in. Whether you feel anxious after a quick trip to the grocery store or after a busy week at work, stress can take a toll physically, mentally, and emotionally. Regardless of how hectic your schedule may be, it is important to make time to relax.