Learning the Art of Relaxation

Please welcome to our blog Ashely Sotelo who has written a sensational Guest Post article about a concept that rolls off the tongue very easily… but actually can be harder than it instantly appears.

Ashley has some great ideas about…..


Learning the Art of Relaxation

Are you feeling uptight, unhappy, or simply worn out? If you are, then you most likely need to give yourself a break from whatever you are doing right now. Often, what we need to make us feel better is a mini deviation from the task that is causing us frustration. If you are having a bad day, it is best that you keep your mind off the unfortunate events that have transpired in the past hours.

There are tricks that you can employ to induce a state of peace into your troubled mind, and in a while, you will be reading about them. Learning the art of relaxing yourself is not difficult at all and can prove especially helpful when one stress after another comes your way.

  1. Take the time to meditate.

What image pops up in your head when you hear the word, ‘meditate’? If you ask me, the first image of a meditating person that pops up into my mind is that of a person doing yoga. However, yoga is not the only form of meditation you can employ although it is the most common form.

Meditation does not need to be complicated. Here are some guidelines when meditating:

  • Look for a quiet place. Obviously, you cannot meditate at a place with so many distractions. Meditating in a place with loud music blaring from a nearby speaker just would not help you concentrate on your thoughts.  If possible, look for a spot that you can have to yourself for the entire duration of your meditation.AQuietPlace
  • Listen to soothing or calming music. Music plays an important role in meditation, as it helps you focus on your thoughts and drown out whatever noise you may hear in the background.  Soft instrumentals may do the trick of helping you relax and calm your nerves.
  • Make yourself comfortable. Finding a comfortable position for your meditation will help minimize distracting thoughts.  If you feel more comfortable lying down, then by all means do so.
  • Close your eyes and take note of your breathing. Take note of the rise and fall of your chest and crowd out all other thoughts from your mind. Wait until you are breathing at a normal pace before you proceed to the next step.
  • Focus on a peaceful scenario. Experts note that using guided imagery for meditation will help you keep restless thoughts at bay.  True, it may initially be difficult to focus on the image you have conjured in your head.  Gradually, however, you will find it easy to tune out distracting thoughts. Hold the peaceful scenario in your head for at least ten minutes.

 

  1. Do something you particularly enjoy.

When you are feeling stressed, you can break the tension by engaging in an activity that you enjoy.

  • Create art. If you love to paint, you can try to create artwork that would express your emotions.  If you are more comfortable with words because you cannot express yourself fully through visuals (like me), try writing a literary piece.  Releasing your tension through art can leave you with a feeling of satisfaction afterwards.
  • Play a sport. If you are into sports, you could also try to release your pent-up tension by playing or watching a game.  Call up your sports buddies and meet up for a game.  The adrenaline rush that you’ll experience by engaging in a sport may be all that you need to minimize your stress levels.
  • Explore a craft. How about exploring a craft you have not yet tried?  For instance, maybe you could try to learn how to knit, sew a dress, or create a scrapbook.  You may also try to learn how to cook a certain dish, or maybe you could putter around your kitchen and learn how to bake.  There are many creative projects that you could take on.  Keeping yourself busy with a craft that interests you will help keep your mind off the things that bother you.
  • Watch a movie. Experts say that watching a movie is a great way for you to stop thinking of, at least for a few hours, the worries building up in your head.  The emotional catharsis resulting from the movie’s capacity to suspend disbelief can momentarily help you forget reality.  So if you’re feeling tense, take a break in your routine and amuse yourself with a light movie or a tearjerker.
  • Play a musical instrument.  Whether you wish to rock out and crank the amp up past eleven, or would rather play subtle and quiet calming music is not the point.  The point is to to immerse yourself into another world away from your stresses and tensions.  Music and musical instruments can help you to do just that.

 

  1. Delight your taste buds.

I am pretty sure that you’ll agree that great food does not only delight your taste buds but also makes you feel better.  Have you ever wondered why we crave for comfort food when we feel down?  The answer lies in the link between our guts and our brains.  Scientists have discovered that our guts play a major role in determining our stress levels.  Simply put, if we do not fill our gut, it sends stress signals to your brain and adds to your already high level of stress.  How, then, can you best address the needs of your gut? Munch on foods that can help boost your levels of happy and relaxing hormones.  Look through the list of foods below to know the ideal foods that you should feast on.

  • Selenium-rich foods. Foods high in selenium content such as nuts and tuna, salmon, cod, and shiitake mushrooms, can aid in minimizing depression and anxiety.
  • Magnesium-rich foods. Foods high in magnesium content can also lower anxiety levels.  Foods such as pumpkin, spinach, and halibut, are good sources of magnesium.
  • Green tea. A cup of tea is great to induce a feeling of calm.  Although green tea contains a minimal level of caffeine, it also contains natural L-theanine. L-theanine works to relieve stress and anxiety without sedating the individual.
  • Dark chocolate. Who says you cannot give in to your sweet cravings when you feel stressed?  Research shows that dark chocolate contains high amounts of tryptophan that works to boost your serotonin level, which in turn makes you feel happy.
  • Ice-Cream.  Ok.... it is difficult to paint ice cream in a healthy light.  However, in moderation, ice cream can soothe the soul, relax the mind and when combined with dark chocolate, it will quadruple your happiness. *

*   Note - technically, ice cream is not good for you.  But, a little bit now and then can make you feel happier, relaxed, less stressed.  Think of it as being wholemeal and surely it can't do too much damage, can it ?  Any statistics mentioning ice cream here are entirely made up.

A combination of all of the three suggestions above will go a long way towards helping you learn the art of relaxation.  Taking the time to implement each suggestion above in turn, one at a time, to get used to the concept will help your quest for a calm mind, a relaxed body and to reduce stress.

Good Luck !

About the Author
Ashley_Sotelo

Ashley Sotelo is a pro-active health enthusiast; she does research for various leading health companies--focusing mainly on the different alternative treatments available for chronic illnesses.  Writing health articles has grown to become her passion, becoming the author of roughly a hundred of such articles and currently writing at BRI Nutrition whose sole purpose is to provide natural and safe supplements.  When she is not writing or engaging in her regular fitness routine, she could be found curled up in a nook and reading her favorite books.

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Thanks so much for your guest post, Ashley.  You have raised some excellent ideas and suggestions.

Please visit Ashley via her online locations above.  Tell her Calming Music Weekly sent you 🙂

Matthew

Photo Credits:  Jimmy Brown and Ashley Sotelo.

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