Interrealte Consultancy Relaxation in an age of stress

Relaxation in an age of stress

In this day and age of stress, stress and more stress, we all welcome the opportunity to de-stress and relax. But how can this be done given that we all lead such busy lives ?.

Every minute of the day seems to be required to just fulfill the needs of surviving the riggers of modern life. Be that due to sustaining a family and home life or going to work and maintaining the job, or both ! Living in todays society, "ain't easy no more !"

There are stresses and strains everywhere which if left unchecked and not dealt with, can eventually lead down the road towards anxiety and depression. In turn self-esteem can suffer and before we know it ........ we end up in a 'dark place'. A place where we are no longer able to be our happy selves. Somewhere in our minds where we no longer see the world in colour but rather in shades of grey.

Where our emotions come into turmoil and our body reveals the results of the stresses we are under. From this standpoint, everything can become terrifying as we struggle to maintain some semblance of 'normality'. When the effort required to do that saps so much energy from us that we become anxious, dissolutioned. Then we slide deeper into low-mood and even depression.

Relaxation as a gateway

Relaxation as a gateway

Relaxation is a necessary part of maintaining our wellbeing.

The various ways and forms of relaxation available can be the gateway to living a richer and stress free life. "Is that possible ?" we may ask as we stare blankly in front of that metaphorical 'brick wall', that obstacle to happiness that faces us back.

As we crumble with our thoughts of having to, face the family concerns and hassles; the protaganist who is affecting our life be that in the family, society or the boss or bully at work or the stresses of being overoaded with work and so on. The answer is "Yes it is possible".

At the moment we may only be concerned or worried with the latest crisis, or hassle and due to our agitated state of mind not be able to focus on a solution or a way forward or out of our anxiety state. We may be suffering the 'chattering mind', that is, our thoughts going around and around, mulling over the same old stuff. Trying hard to find a solution within our fractuous thinking, searching for answers that don't seem to come. When they don't ?, going around and around in mental circles again, going over the same ground as if stuck in a groove.

Sound familiar ? It's what the buddhists call, "the monkey mind". As if monkeys were circling us and all chattering away at us all at the same time. No respite and no let up. And No sleep !. For sleep is one of the first activities to suffer when we are in anxiety. Be that difficulty falling off to sleep, or waking up during the night or early hours with our mind instantly in turmoil, again trying to solve those never-ending anxiety inducing problems.

So what happens the next day ? We struggle to get up and face the day. We have to push ourselves that bit harder just to 'stand our ground', against the efforts required of us at home or in the working environment.

When night-time comes around again ? We have another restless night of broken sleep and the 'chattering mind'. We struggle even more this time to get up and face-upto the day ahead ....... Each time this happens, our 'batteries' are getting depleted as we use up more and more energy just to cope with what the day ahead brings.

It doesn't have to be that way ?

"It doesn't ?" we may ask.

Oh, no it doesn't.

Relaxing ways

Relaxing ways

In my psychotherapeutic counselling practice I use many ways to help my clients to relax. Once the body and mind are relaxed then 'healing' can take place.

It becomes possible for the mind to return to a less agitated state. For proper and relaxed sleep to begin again. Having gained these positions and as our energy levels increase, we find it easier to think through issues and problem solve them with a calm mind and demeanor.

Therapeutic Breathing and Calming Exercise

Ordinarily we only use a fraction of our lungs and breath very shallowly.

When tense, anxious and afraid etc.our breathing is often the first thing affected. It often results in 'holding' all the anxieties and tensions along with the breath !. These build up over a period of time.

Imagine the lungs as a pair of balloons which when fully inflated cause the diaphragm, the sheet of muscle between the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity, to move down. So when a person breathes in, the lungs expand and the diapragm moves down causing the abdomen ( belly ) to go out.

So, when breathing properly, when we breath in, the abdomen goes out and when we breathe out, the abdomen goes in. This action goes against the grain !! We tend not to do it naturally but usually the other way round. An easy way to get the exercise 'right' is to lie on a bed and do it. This will train your brain and body to do it properly, so that you can do the breathing exercise anywhere, with ease.

Feelings are more difficult to change voluntarily but one thing a person can change easily is the way they breathe and this in turn effects what they think, feel and do.

A breathing technique can be a remarkable tool to use as and when you need to, to alleviate tension, anxiety, panic etc..... the breathing technique that follows can be done anywhere and can change things almost immediately. eg, minimize panic attacks. Also a breathing exercise can be taken like a prescription and done regularly, for instance 3 times per day and can have remarkable therapeutic results.

Our Thoughts, Feelings, Actions and Breathing are related one to the other and influence each other. Change your thoughts and you change what you think, feel and do. Take some action/activity and it changes the way you feel and think.

Breathing Excercise

STEP 1) Relax. If in a chair put both feet on the floor and your hands lightly on your lap or at the side of your legs.
( TIP = Whenever you feel anxious, unsure, lacking in confidence, put both feet flat on the floor to 'ground' yourself.) Breathe in through your nose to a count of five, letting your lungs expand, causing your abdomen to move out. Hold for a count of three.

STEP 2) Allow your mouth to open slightly and let all the air out, with a sigh if you are in private. Empty your lungs as fully as possible and pull your abdomen in to get all the last vestiges of air out of your lungs. Because you have breathed in so deeply you will be releasing all the toxins, all the tensions, all the anxieties out with the out breath. Imagine all those anxieties and tensions leaving your body.

Important : You do not blow the air out - just let it out.

Make sure your shoulders are relaxed. Just drop them slightly. Much tension can be held in the neck and shoulders !.

STEP 3) Repeat this sequence 10 times.

STEP 4) Do the whole exercise of 10 sequences, 3 times per day.

STEP 5) You can if you wish, think 'peace' as you breath in and think 'calm' as you breathe out. You may like to say the word 'calm' as you breath out. People claim to have had amazing results with this breathing exercise. Regard it as a prescription and take regularly.

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