Are you finding it increasingly difficult to experience mind relaxation? Are your thoughts riddled with worries and stress? Stress has become synonymous with the modern lifestyle prevalent in today’s society. Instances of moderate to severe mental disturbances due to stress have been occurring with alarming frequency. Finding a tried and tested method to keep one’s mind relaxed is the need of the hour. The best way of relaxation from stress is by training your mind to remain calm and cool even under duress.
How Does Stress Affect One’s Mind And Body?
Hard work, ambitions and, a strong desire to succeed in every aspect of life are the driving forces of today’s competitive world. While these qualities help to achieve a lot, they also have a flip side. The compulsive need to be a successful person brings along an unwanted guest; mental stress. The fast-paced life which most of us have leaves little room for mind relaxation.
Stress can affect not only one’s mental well-being but also has an impact at the physical level. Unwanted stress is most likely to cause the following ill effects:
1. Weight Changes
Fluctuating weight without any seemingly obvious cause could be a sign of underlying mental stress. Stress affects hunger, sleep and, digestion thereby causing drastic changes in a person’s weight. People may either begin gaining unhealthy weight or lose a considerable amount of weight in a relatively short time span.
2. Appetite Changes
Stress and worry have an unhealthy effect on people’s appetite. People often indulge in unhealthy stress eating or alternatively have no desire to eat anything. Extreme change in a person’s hunger pattern not only affects their digestion but contributes to unhealthy weight changes as well.
3. Blood Pressure
Stress is directly responsible for increasing blood pressure by causing contraction of the muscles of blood vessels. Elevated blood pressure can affect the normal function of the heart, metabolism, digestion, and may even cause mental stress.
4. Sleep Disturbances
It is not uncommon to see people losing their sleep over the frustration of stressful situations that they may be facing. Stress does take a toll on one’s sleep pattern which eventually has a cascading effect on overall health. On the other hand, people may also experience constant sleepiness and fatigue due to stress.
5. Psychological Effects
People who are perpetually stressed out may develop psychological health issues like anxiety, depression, mood disorder over a period of time. This tends to have an effect on the mental as well as the physical well-being of that person.
These morbid changes have the potential to spiral out of control rather quickly if they are not handled well. Taking adequate measures to reduce stress will have a direct therapeutic effect on health. Stress is likely to cause a myriad of other disorders depending on every person’s constitution.
Importance Of Mental Relaxation
Most of us have lost count of the number of times we have said “Oh I am so stressed!”. And most of us spend the next few minutes or hours or even days sulking about what is causing the stress. Sitting in front of the T.V with a bowl of ice cream, spending an evening with friends over coffee, and going on a weekend getaway are the most favoured relaxation techniques for most people in a bid to beat stress. Is this truly enough to tackle stress? Do these seemingly fun ideas offer a permanent and realistic solution for stress?
The effect of stress on one’s mind and body can be reduced, albeit with proper relaxation techniques for stress. There are various types of relaxation techniques that have been scientifically and medically proven, with which the body and mind can be trained to handle stress efficiently. Practising these techniques regularly helps to keep health disturbances caused by stress at bay.
7 Effective Techniques Of Stress Relief
Gathering your mental focus at one point and strengthening your mind are the best ways to stop any negativity from affecting yourself. Given below are a few successful ways of enhancing one’s mental acuity which helps in attaining true mental relaxation.
1. Breathing Exercises (Pranayama)
Breathing exercises help to enhance blood circulation and stimulate the release of hormones that help the brain cells to relax. Increased oxygen supply to all tissues during breathing exercises causes a feeling of being rejuvenated and allows for mental relaxation.
Deep breathing, abdominal breathing, sama vritti, kapalabhati are some of the most useful breathing exercises for anxiety. They help in stimulating the mental capacity to keep stress at bay by enhancing mental focus and concentration. Practising breathing exercises daily for about 10 minutes will give successful results. Breathing exercises must be practised on an empty stomach and preferably in a well-ventilated room that is devoid of any noise and other disturbances.
Performing Yoga asanas regularly will help to overcome stress to a great extent. These include Balasana, Ardho Mukha Svanasana, Suryanamaskar, Bhujangasana, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana to name a few. It is advisable to perform yoga on an empty stomach. People with chronic illnesses should consult with a doctor before beginning the practice of Yoga.
Yoga is a holistic form of exercise providing adequate stretching to all body muscles. There are specific yoga poses to stimulate the release of neurotransmitters that help in attaining mental relaxation. These yoga poses are one of the best relaxation techniques for stress. Yoga should be learned only from a certified Yoga trainer.
Akin to yoga and breathing exercises, meditation can keep stress at bay by enriching the mental focus and concentration power. There are different types of meditation, but they all teach the same thing i.e focus. Meditation allows enhanced blood circulation within the brain tissue, thereby helping brain cells to rejuvenate easily.
One can begin meditation by sitting in a well-lit, calm and airy environment. Focusing all the mental strength on a single arbitrary point, a mantra can be chosen to be repeated while meditating. Meditation is one of the best relaxation techniques for stress.
4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive Muscle Relaxation or PMR is a DIY activity where you focus on one set of muscles in the body at a time to release all the unwanted stress from the body. To perform PMR, choose a well-lit and ventilated environment that is free from any noise.
Wear loose comfortable clothing and assume a relaxed position by sitting or lying down. Begin from either of the feet by contracting and gradually relaxing the muscles of that foot. Concentrate on the stress leaving the muscles as they are eased back into relaxation. Perform the same for all body parts to feel complete mind relaxation. PMR helps to attain a state of progressive relaxation thereby helping to release all the pent-up stress.
5. Memory Games
Most of us have had fun playing memory games in our childhood. Difficult as it may sound to believe, these simple memory games are quite effective in sharpening mental focus and concentration. Memory games offer a great way to attain relaxation for stress. There are several types of memory games available online which can be practised daily to keep mental stress at bay.
6. Body Massage
Who could have correlated the efficacy of a good body massage with stress relief and mental relaxation?! Body massage helps to release built-up stress and tension from the muscles. Not only does it allow a person to feel good physically, but it also helps rejuvenation of the mind.
Getting a body massage done regularly from certified massage therapists is a good way to keep mental stress at bay. It is an effective but undervalued relaxation technique for battling stress.
Yoga is not the only form of physical workout that helps in keeping a relaxed and calm mind. Performing any form of exercise which offers a good physical workout to all the body muscles is an effective relaxation technique for stress.
It is advisable to do some form of physical exercise for about 30 minutes daily. However, people with chronic illnesses should consult with their doctor to decide which exercise regimen would suit their health.
There are several other techniques which can be practised to obtain relaxation for stress. Practising such types of relaxation techniques regularly helps to develop mental strength that allows you to keep stress at bay. However, sometimes people end up confronting situations that call for emergency stress relief measures. What can be done in such situations?
Easy Ways For Instant Stress Relief
Stress does not give any warning before hitting hard. In a rather sensitive situation, stress can affect one’s ability to think straight or even cause physical discomfort. Here are some handy tips to keep stress and bay and to avoid finding yourself in sticky situations.
- Note down anything that is bothering you, however trivial it might be. Penning down one’s feelings helps to release stress instantly
- Try and smile even in the most stressful situations. The mere act of smiling is known to stimulate neurotransmitters that help in elevating one’s mood
- Take deep breaths and feel the stress leave your body with every exhalation. Deep breathing exercises for anxiety stimulates better blood circulation and enhances oxygenation of tissues, thereby making a person feel rejuvenated
- Avoid caffeine and junk food at any cost, no matter how bad the situation is. These foods are unhealthy, affect digestion, and will only serve to compound the effect of stress on the mind and body
- Keep a stress ball handy at your home or work-place. Squeezing a stress ball has an instant calming effect on an agitated mind
- Walk away from stressful situations as much as possible; literally. If you ever feel the burden of stress, excuse yourself and take a short brisk walk. It will refresh your mind and offer some physical activity. Both of these will in turn help to obtain stress relief albeit temporarily
Everyone faces stress in some form irrespective of age, gender or socioeconomic status. The instant hacks and other stress relief techniques described earlier are useful for everyone who is trying to battle stress. Try these effective techniques for a healthy and hassle-free life!
Stress is like a person’s shadow. The shadow will follow its owner everywhere, and its shape and position are dependent on the owner’s action. Similarly, stress follows us everywhere and how it affects us is upon our own responses and reactions. The presence of stress cannot be stopped, but its effects can be avoided with necessary precautions. Striking a healthy work-life balance is very important to keep stress away. Indulging in creative activities may not be a permanent solution to avoid stress, but it is very important. It helps to detox the mind and offers a healthy outlet for negative mental energy. Facing problems, talking about them, allowing free expression of mind are essential to enjoy a stress-free life.
Eat right, live healthy, be happy! Following this simple yet effective motto will make sure that you never spend a single day burdened with stress!