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Finding the Relaxation that Work for You

Friday, May 15th, 2020 | Free Classified

People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behaviour. They are able to handle life’s inevitable challenges, build strong relationships, and lead productive fulfilling lives. When bad things happen, they’re able to bounce back and move on.

One of the key factors in your emotional health is the ability to balance your emotions. The capacity to recognize your emotions and express them appropriately helps you avoid getting stuck in depression, anxiety, or other negative mood states.

Stress takes a heavy toll on emotional health, so it’s important to keep it under control. While not all stresses can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you bring things back into balance. Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems.

Dealing with Stressful Situations: The Four A’s Strategies

Think about the way you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Are you coping strategies healthy or unhealthy, helpful or unproductive?

Unhealthy strategies of coping with stress include smoking; drinking alcohol; overeating; zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer; withdrawing from friends, family , activities; using pills to relax; procrastinating; taking out your stress on others; filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems.

There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change the situation or change your reaction.

When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept. Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.

Change the situation:

Avoid the stressor – Stress management strategy #1 (Avoid unnecessary stress)

Alter the stressor – Stress management strategy #2 ( Alter the situation)

Change your reaction:

Adapt to the stressor – Stress management strategy #3 (Adapt to the stressor)

Accept the stressor – Stress management strategy #4 (Accept the things you can’t change).

Stress management strategy #5:

Find the relaxation that is working for you and make regular time for it

Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by nurturing yourself. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you will be in a better place to handle life’s stressors when they inevitable come.

Identify your body’s stress response:

Internally, we all respond to stress the same: our blood pressure rises, our heart pumps faster, and our muscles constrict. When stressed, our bodies work hard and drain our immune system.

Externally, however, people tend to respond to stress in three different ways: some become angry and agitated, others space out or withdraw, and still others freeze up.

How do you act when stressed?

Overexcited stress response – If you tend to become angry, agitated, or keyed up under stress, you will response best to stress relief activities that quiet you down such as meditation, deep breathing, or guided imagery.

Under excited stress response – If you tend to become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are stimulating and that energize your nervous system, such as rhythmic exercise.

Frozen stress response (both overexcited and under excited) – If you tend to freeze: speeding up in some ways while slowing down in others, your challenge is to identify stress relief activities that provide both safety and stimulation to help you ‘reboot’ your system. Techniques such as mindfulness walking or power yoga might work well for you.

Making relaxation techniques a part of your life

The best way to start and maintain a relaxation practice is to incorporate it into your daily routine. Between work, family, school, and other commitments, though, it can be tough for many people to find the time.

• If possible, schedule a set time to practice each day

Set aside one or two periods each day. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.

• Practice relaxation techniques while you are doing other things

Meditate while commuting to work on a bus or train, or waiting for a dentist appointment. Try deep breathing while you are doing housework or mowing the lawn. Mindfulness walking can be done while exercising your dog, walking to your car, or climbing the stairs at work instead of using the elevator.

• If you exercise, improve the relaxation benefits by adopting mindfulness

Instead of zoning out or staring at a TV as you exercise, try focusing your attention on your body. If you are resistance training, for example, focus on coordinating your breathing with your movements and pay attention to how your body feels as you raise and lower the weights.

Learning stress management will not happen overnight. Like any skill, it takes time, self-exploration and above all, practice. But think of it as an education with a huge payoff.

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