...or so it’s said. Why then, does it seem as though we have no control over our moods or our stress levels? We allow outside forces (as well as negative inner forces) to get in the way of peace, and we don’t have to. The first step forward might just be “fake it ‘til you make it”.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the mind-body connection. Using your thoughts and memories to positively influence some of your body’s physical responses can decrease stress and elevate your mood. Recalling or imagining an experience can often generate similar mental and physical responses to those you have during the actual event.
There are a host of empowering mind-body exercises that have been proven to help people decrease anxiety, pain, and the use of medication; enhance sleep and recovery time from injury or illness; strengthen the immune system and one’s sense of control and well being.
The Practice Of Keeping Calm
The goal of calming and relaxation exercises is to help change the way you perceive a situation and react to it: to help you feel more in control, more confident or secure, and also to activate healing processes within the body.
Practicing these exercises for 10-15 minutes a day will help you achieve a quiet mind more quickly when a stressful situation arises, and as Carole Tessier points out in Happiness, the Best Medicine could be the single most important thing we do for our health.
One Breath at a Time
Easily the most portable tool in your possession, your breathing practice can make for a world of difference anywhere, anytime. Oxygen is the source of all energy in the body, so everyone should be paying closer attention to breathing correctly. Proper breathing eliminates toxins in the body, purifies your blood, improves sexuality, and enables you to assimilate food better. Once again, Carole Tessier comes to the rescue with The Healing Breath, sharing calming exercises that will help get you on the right track.
After you’ve become comfortable with mindful breathing, try incorporating visualization of a happy event or memory. Talk about getting more bang for your breath!
Leave No Muscle Unturned
Progressive muscle relaxation involves sequentially tensing, and then relaxing, specific muscle groups in the body. By isolating and addressing one area at a time, and progressing through the entire body, you can ensure that nothing is missed, and bring the benefit of relaxation to your entire body.
The key to this exercise is to tighten a specific muscle group for at least 5 seconds until you feel the tension, and then release the muscles for 10 seconds. Start by relaxing the muscles in your feet, then your legs, up through your torso, and work up through each muscle group to your neck shoulders and scalp. With each group, keep awareness in your mind of how the muscles feel while being tensed and then after being relaxed.
Staying Sharp Without the Stress
Sometimes it seems like an impossible task to avoid stress in the modern world. We intensely feel the pressures of work, raising a family, keeping up socially, and maintaining our homes, We almost feel that juggling all of these demands requires a hyper-alert consciousness, and that we’re falling short that’s not what we’re bringing. Here’s the problem: this near-constant state of “fight or flight” causes stress on our minds and bodies that will, sooner or later, take a toll on our health.
If only there was a way to be alert, aware and productive without the stress....well, there is. Kristin Shaw explains it all here in Meditation for Clarity. You can have it all.
A Hands-On Approach
Once thought of as a frivolous luxury, it is now understood how healthful Massage Therapy can be. The act of releasing stress from our muscles by kneading, applying pressure, and stretching is the most obvious benefit. What isn’t as apparent is the reward to our minds...the time spent “letting go” while our bodily tensions are being addressed can bring about a state of long-lasting mental relaxation and clarity. And as if that weren’t enough, our emotional life is cared for as well during massage - the attention of kind and loving hands can bring about healing of a different kind.
It has always been a mission of mySpaShop to “bring Spa home”. In A Touch of Bliss, we offer some easy yet effective massage techniques that you and your partner can use to keep each other healthy and happy.
Music Therapy - what a pleasurable way to bring about physiological, psychological and emotional well bring. A combination of soothing or energetic music and therapeutic techniques simply makes good sense as a healing ritual. Music comes in through our ears, is perceived and comprehended by our brains, and makes its way down into our bodies, either relaxing us or getting us moving! It can raise and lower our heart rates, bring us joy or sweet nostalgia, and flood us with happy memories.
In Overcoming Stress With Music and Sound, Dudley Evenson reminds us of the many ways in which music can be a healing force to reckon with.
There are so many ways in which we can connect our minds and bodies, creating a holistic approach to relaxation and clarity, and bringing our emotional life along as we progress. mySpaShop wants you to be healthy, fulfilled, and joyful, and we will keep bring you tools to help unmask and unleash your happiness.
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