Saturday, 07 March 2009

Five easy stress reducers

Stress is one of the big killers of the day. Stress can wreck the health, relationships and career of those that suffer from its effects. We all know how it feels and how it affects us at home and at work. As one of the main health-hazards of the age, stress must be managed on an ongoing basis to minimise its impact.

After a stressful day at work many find themselves in a bar in a vain attempt to drown their sorrows. Some take on illicit relationships or indulge in narcotics, gambling or overeating. These are not solutions! In the long run destructive practices can lead to even greater levels of stress.

A few simple yet effective techniques can help!

Exercise is a key remedy. You can start with a few breathing techniques. Deep breathing is very beneficial and can help to turn a stressful day into one that is relaxed and under control. Breathing can be done in any position standing, lying down or sitting. Begin with a four-part cycle. Inhale to the count of five, hold your breath for a count of five, exhale to the count of five and finally leave your lungs empty for a count of five. Repeat five to ten times. Both inhalation and exhalation are through the nose. Apart from promoting deep relaxation, deep breathing ensures greater circulation of oxygen through the body. The breathing techniques can be applied on rising, before retiring and at key times during the day.

Running, walking or exercising at the gym are healthy and constructive outlets. A bio-kineticist may help to identify precisely what exercise you need. Stressed people often avoid exercise, but a few minutes per day of physical activity can produce very beneficial results. Yoga provides a more gentle but equally beneficial alternative. Remember, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.

Creative activities such as drawing, painting and music are known for their therapeutic effects. Consider joining an art class! Listen to music. Words come from the heart, music from the soul. If you can play an instrument, then make a practice of doing it. Find people to play with you. Music puts us into a different mind-set and can help to change our levels of stress in a very real way. Take yourself out of your usual stressful environment into a world where the power of your brain's right hemisphere is unleashed. Art is a very effective stress reliever.

Spend more time with your family. One of the harmful effects of stress is to push our family into take second place. But isn't it family and friends that that are really important? Think of activities in which the whole family can take part. Make time for real communication. Find time to listen to your partner and your children. Find out who they are. Do things together.

A day in the country, a weekend of boating or a few days at the coast away from the rat race can work wonders. The annual summer holiday has great benefits, but the results tend to be short lived. Making more of the weekends and more often can help to provide that much needed balance. Put the stresses of daily life aside for a while. When you return with less stress, you will be better placed to face the world.

Finally, get yourself a pet. The benefits of forming relationships with animals are well documented. Retirement homes and hospitals have introduced the concept of animal visits because of their profound therapeutic effects. A dog or a cat can provide a lot of comfort and company. Animals do not judge but give pure love.

Relieving stress is not only vital to our health it is fun! Remember. Less stressed people are happier and live longer. Begin a stress relief programme today!


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