In an unstable world, a stable mind, a fit and strong body, as well as an unshakable spirit, constitute an impenetrable shield against the devastating effects of stress and anxiety. The following tools for relaxing can help you build that shield.
Simple deep breaths can do wonders for reducing stress and anxiety. Take time out for twenty seconds to release tension when things get rough. To relax, breathe in slowly and deeply through the nose and breathe out through the nose. Do this three to four times.
By using mental pictures, you can change attitudes and behaviors. Improve your organization by imagining what your office would look like when it is in order or improve your posture by imagining puppet strings attached to the top of your head and shoulders. Professional athletes are very successful in improving their performances using visualization training.
During or after the final stretch of your workout or anytime during your work day, clear your mind and focus on one single image. This could be a shape, a color, your favorite place or anything you associate with quite and peace. It is simply a “mental vacation.” It takes practice to avoid letting your mind wander to other things or let stress and anxiety trigger panic images. Combine this technique with slow, deep breathing.
Progressive relaxation trains your muscles to release tension as it builds up instead of storing it throughout the day. Lie in a comfortable position (on your back or on your side with bent knees are best). Close your eyes. Start by taking several slow, deep breaths. Now, as you breath in, you are going to tense a muscle or a muscle group, as you exhale let the muscle relax.
Follow this sequence:
- Inhale, flex your right foot.
- Exhale, let it relax.
- Inhale, flex your left foot.
- Exhale, let it go.
Repeat with the following contractions, inhaling and exhaling each time.
- Tighten both legs and press them together.
- Tighten the thighs.
- Tighten the buttocks.
- Pull in the abdominal area and flatten the back.
- Tense the chest and shrug the shoulders.
- Clench your fists and press your arms into the floor.
- Close your eyes tight and contract your facial muscles.
If you still feel tension, stress or anxiety in an area, continue contracting and relaxing until the tightness disappears. Don’t forget how beneficial deep breathing can be.
When stress, anxiety and fatigue hits you, how do you wind down and relax?
Nordine Zouareg is a former Mr. Universe, an International Fitness Coach, Speaker and Author of the book Mind Over Body: The Key to Lasting Weight Loss is All in Your Head! He offers world-class advice on health and fitness, inner balance and stress management, and achieving one’s full potential the inner keys to extraordinary performance. An inspiring message of hope and achievement, based on his own extraordinary story. For more information, visit: www.NordineZ.com