Relax: Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Ways to calm and eliminate tensions
when you and all about are so busy
- overdoing too much of everything.

Are you waiting for that Puerto Vallarta vacation that lies ahead? If so you could be losing many enjoyable and relaxed days waiting until you are there sitting by the pool. I hate to dampen your expectations but the holiday will only last two weeks and then it's back to the grind for 50 weeks.

In this somewhat hectic social environment so many of our lives are filled with anxieties and tensions. There are unfinished tasks from over-programmed days both at work and after hours. Today's and tomorrow's to-do lists are long with routine problems and concerns.

In earlier years most days were physically intensive both for dad at work and mom at home. Much less time was spent on planning, calculating and worrying about how to fit it all together. At bedtime the mind was usually clear and the body soft and tired and ready for a sound sleep.

Depending on your environment it may not be all that easy to have a calm day, and a restless night too often lies ahead. But this can be made better with changes to daily routines and an adjusted perspective.

Not to be taken as professional help which can be so important with serious problems, the following suggestions could help put you on an easier cruise through the days ahead. A day lived poorly is a day lost forever so why not consider some adjustments?

Reduce the amount of time you spend not relaxing.
Examine your schedule for the day and see which things can be cut back or eliminated altogether. Social activities are fine if they are enjoyable but are there some more relaxing and enjoyable than others? Gatherings with family and friends are the best.

Consider reducing your work week by living a simpler lifestyle. This could lead to a much more satisfying and tranquil existence. If this kind of adjustment to work is not practical then why not just reduce your spending as an easier way of living. Debt is a heavy burden.

In a consumer society we all want more and better things for ourselves and our family. It has turned into somewhat of a competition but you have not signed on for life. Get off the merry-go-round and get your feet on good old mother earth. To be always desiring more than what you have does not bring peace of mind.

We all want better things for ourselves and our families, but we have to balance our desires with the cost. How much does the promotion, vacation, new purchase, cost in terms of life? How many extra hours of stress and anxiety, now and later, go into getting it? With the fast paced living that surrounds us it's difficult to avoid rushing through our daily lives to do and acquire more, raising the possibility of turning friends into competitors.

Use those free hours wisely with less TV and more fresh air and soft music. Generally television consists of noisy commercials, depressing news stories and violent dramas. However, viewing a dull monotonous movie (not too difficult to find), with your thumb on MUTE, can take your mind off worries that command your thoughts.

A relaxed body should translate to a relaxed mind.
In all your activities slow down and move calmly in an easy manner. Practice deeper slower breathing as you move through the day, stopping to do so if necessary.

At your desk take a few minutes and let all your muscles hang limp and soft. Don't try, just let it all go. Consciously let the muscles relax every time you feel them tighten, which might be all day long to start with. It is unlikely that you will feel any stress if your muscles are relaxed.

A simple meditative routine to calm and refresh.
Find a quiet place for yourself.
Sit in an easy comfortable position.
Rest your eyes downward, softly closed.
Breathe slowly and naturally for 10-15 minutes.
Only think about what you are doing, nothing else.

A creative break.
Picture a detailed peaceful retreat in your imagination and go there to calm your feelings. A tranquil lake or colorful passive garden with easy music floating in. Be there, rest a while and rejuvenate. Make up a calming list of words like serene, tranquil, peaceful, sunsets, tranquil and repeat them through your day.

One of the biggest handicaps to relaxing is worry.

We will not relax during the day (or night) if our minds are filled with worrisome thoughts.

A change in thinking in how we view and react to situations can be most helpful. Worrying over things that 'might' happen can waste large portions of our lives, considering that so often it is for nothing, and almost certainly has no benefit. Worrying about things that have happened will not turn back the hands of time to undo it. If there is still some action you can take in the present, and if you want to, then do it. If not forget it.

It's only a worry if you worry about it.

Count your blessings.
We sometimes go for long periods of time forgetting the things we have to be thankful for. Recalling those assets can have a very calming and comfortable effect. What about your friends, family, life and health. Perhaps your surroundings, job, nature, music. They may not all make your list, perhaps you are missing a few but list and think about those you do have.

Relax, smile. Take awhile.

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Grampa Ken - Author of 32 Keys About Life and social issues blogger at Social-Fix.
This Creative Commons article is free to copy with the hyperlinked byline intact.