Learning to use the relaxation response guarantees you will be able to relax under any kind of stress. Using the relaxation response, you need to focus on a word, phrase, sound, or activity (for example, put a rubber band around your wrist). Then when you are focused on this word, etc., you need to passively ignore other thoughts that come into your mind. You can not think two thoughts at the same time. Choose to be relaxed when you get into stressful situation.
(1) Freedom to Relax:
“Sometimes I focus too much on what I can’t do or wishing I was different than I am. I forget about the things I can do. Like today I took my kids to the one place where I can let myself relax – in the woods – in the hills – in nature. That’s where I feel alive – free – energized. In the woods, in the mountains, I feel connected – to my body, my mind and to God.”
“Today the three of us hiked and ran up the mountains. We laughed and sang and shouted. I danced around them encouraging them to keep climbing. Later on the drive home, my oldest told me I love the extreme stuff and she loves doing it with me. My youngest said she had a ton of fun. I thought of the beach. Maybe it’s ok to be who I am. My daughters words echoed in my head long after they had said them.”
1. Reduce Caffeine
2. Do NOT consume alcohol or nicotine before bed-
3. Always finish vigorous exercise 5 hours before bed.
4. Avoid heavy meals before bedtime.
5. Keep fluids to a minimum after 8PM.
6. Avoid stress inducing activity prior to sleep- e.g. emails, voicemails, paying the bills or stress inducing television programs such as the news, etc.
7. Establish a bedtime routine
8. Write it down
9. Create a restful environment in your bedroom
10. Utilize Relaxation techniques- light stretching, soothing music, aromatherapy oil, deep breathing, guided imagery, meditation. You can do any one or better yet a combination of these activities to release the stress of the day, relax your mind and prepare your body for sleep. Sleep experts highly recommend these stress relieving techniques because they work and because anyone can do them.
- Take 5 minutes to go outside for a walk. Breathe the fresh air.
- Give yourself more time to do things. More time means less rush.
- After work, get outside, take in nature, run around if you can.
- Play. Play like a child. Play with a child. Play when you work.
- Give yourself a day off. Sleep. Watch TV. Eat bon bons.
- At work, give yourself an hour off. Don’t try to be productive. Just have fun.
- Work with someone who is exciting. Get excited about a project.
- Take evenings off. Seriously, no working in the evenings.
- Get a massage.