Regardless of your age, occupation, or financial situation, everyone encounters a fair amount of stress. How we deal with stress on a daily basis is critical for reducing long-term fatigue and illnesses. There are many different ways to lower stress, but we’ll focus on the most important few to help you maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Check out these pointers to see which method is the best fit for you!
Focus on full breaths to cleanse your lungs and oxygenate your body. Deep breathing is a simple yet powerful relaxation technique. It’s easy to learn and can be practiced almost anywhere. Controlled breathing provides a quick way to get your stress levels reduced and manageable. Deep breathing is the cornerstone of many other relaxation practices, too, and can be combined with other relaxing elements such as aromatherapy and music. All you need is a few minutes and a place to stretch out. This is an excellent introduction to meditation as it teaches you how to calm yourself quickly and effectively. Breathing meditation is also a good segue into different techniques and methods as you’ll be using controlled breathes through any meditation session. Here is a good beginner’s guide on Meditation and its effects! Studies show that just 5 minutes is all it takes to reap the benefits of meditation. Having meditation sessions regularly can do wonders for your long-term mental/physical health.
Yoga and Tai Chi
The combination of physical activity and mental meditation allows for Yoga, Tai Chi, and other meditative sports to remain very popular in Western and Eastern cultures. When practiced regularly, these activities can lead to a reduction in everyday stress levels, anxiety, and muscle tension as well as an improvement in mood, energy, and focus. The basics of Yoga and Tai Chi are relatively straightforward. However, due to the technical nature of these activities (where form and positioning are critical), we suggest an instructor for your first few sessions to ensure that you are performing the poses and movements accurately. Yoga has quite a large following with Westerners, and courses/public sessions can typically be found in urban/city areas. Throughout the years, Yoga has evolved into many different forms and types. Here is a list of various types of Yoga and their benefits. Tai Chi, on the other hand, focuses on moving natural Qi energy throughout the body. Specific muscle movements in Tai Chi exercises are designed to stimulate the flow of Qi through the body and the major organs. Tai Chi focuses on correct body posture and spinal alignment to release tension, improve the digestive system, and remove stress from the back. Tai Chi varies the pressure on different joints by moving weight from one leg to another, and alternately raising the arms, legs, and hands thus increasing the flow of nutrients into the joints and increasing flexibility and range of motion. These flowing movements also strengthen muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Tai Chi has a relatively large Eastern following, popular among middle-aged and older men and women.
Massages are said to have a multitude of benefits such as improvements in anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches, stress-induced insomnia, pain, muscle tension and strains, sports injuries and joint pain. Professional massage therapy can also give added psychological and mental benefits as well. Massages, due to its high contact nature, can often trigger the patient’s body to produce more Oxytocin which is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for the feelings of intimacy, trust, and strengthens relationships. Dr. Paul Zak explains that interpersonal touch not only raises oxytocin but reduces cardiovascular stress and improves the immune system. Click here to learn more about different types of massages and their benefits! If you cannot afford a professional massage, there are ways to do a simple ‘self-help’ kind of massage too. Here’s a link to an in-depth look at massages you can do for yourself!
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