How To Relax Your Mind, Body & Spirit
by Gabriel Jacana
Life is hectic. We are constantly worrying about everything whether it be money or health. In this day and age we are always communicating electronically, forcing us to sink our heads into our electronic devices. We reach those moments where we want to just…relax. Luckily there are many ways for us to relax and I’m here to tell you all about them.
One of the most well known ways to relax is to simply breathe. Breathing properly is always important whether you are stressed out or not. Proper breathing should begin from the abdomen, not the chest. Inhaling should be slow and exhaling should be released naturally. Closing your eyes as you do said breathing is recommended as it helps in regaining calm and focus. Breathing is automatically incorporated into activities because everyone breathes and does it subconsciously. Yoga, stretching and meditation are popular forms of relaxation exercise. You don’t have to enroll in class (you can if you want) all you need is nice-comfortable space. A yoga mat and calm music is a plus. You can also go for a nice jog or a simple walk. All techniques should connect you with your mind, body and spirit.
The thing that is appealing about relaxation exercise is that it gives you the opportunity to go outside and have alone time. Being alone allows you to collect your thoughts and helps you clear your head. If you can see the sun outside then chase it. The sun the cheer you up and help people who are suffering from depression (think “light therapy”). Going outside or simply looking out the window will allow you to digest your surroundings and enjoy the scenery.
You can also consume your way to relaxation, but not in a gluttonous way. Green tea is the most popular non-alcoholic drink that is synonymous with relaxation. Green tea contains L-Theanine, which is a chemical derived from tea leaves and helps to relieve stress and anger. If you are opting for something to chew on there are many options. Dark chocolate is known to increase good cholesterol, improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve brain function and contain flavonols that protect your skin from sun-induced damage. Most importantly, dark chocolate is a rich source of nutrients such as fiber, iron, magnesium as well as antioxidants. Although, I would recommend eating chocolate in moderation as it is also rich in calories and sugar.
Other indulgent foods that are recommended are chewing gum and crunchy snacks. Both have been proven to reduce stress and cortisol levels. In regards to the crunchy snacks, it does not have to be potato chips – carrots, celery sticks or mixed nuts can make do (and are a more healthy option). Honey, which contains compounds that reduce inflammation in the brain, can reduce depression and anxiety. Walking into the fruit aisle I would suggest purchasing mangoes as they contain linalool, a funny-sounding compound that can lower stress levels.
There are also conventional ways to relieve stress. Massaging your hands is one of them, which includes acupressure. Acupressure is when you rub the soft area between your thumb and index finger using your other thumb and index finger. You can also incorporate balls into your routine by rubbing your foot over a small ball or squeezing the “age-old” stress ball. So remember, if you need to relax just try the relaxation and massaging exercises that I told you. I gave food options, but you are welcomed to eat (in moderation) whatever pleases you. And remember to stay organized and give your electronics a break.