Saturday,18 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1242, (16-22 April 2015)
Saturday,18 August, 2018
Issue 1242, (16-22 April 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Say no to stress

Let’s talk about better living! Our new interactive family corner aims to expand our lifestyle horizons with practical little pearls of wisdom from the editor and input from our readers

Deep breathing: This is the core of many relaxation techniques. Simply take ten deep breaths, lifting your chest to fill your lungs completely, and then exhale all the way. Each breath will relax your body a little bit more and you will feel the tension seep out of your muscles.

Progressive muscular relaxation (PMR): This is a simple yet effective way to reduce pain and enhance relaxation. Muscle tightening is one of the first signs of stress that can cause a real pain in the neck or lower back. All you need is to sit comfortably and close your eyes.

Start by tightening a group of muscles, such as your fists, as much as possible. Hold this tension for a few seconds and then relax the muscles. Once your muscles are relaxed, consciously soften them even further in order to be as relaxed as possible.

Once you have mastered tensing and relaxing your fists, you can move on to other muscle groups and then to your entire body. Apply the same technique, starting at your feet, and work upward. It takes just ten to 20 minutes to completely relax your entire body. To get the most relaxation possible, try combining PMR with deep breathing.

Mental imagery: Picture an idyllic and peaceful scene, such as a beach, and use all of your senses to see it. Try to feel the light breeze on your skin — your body can’t tell the difference between a thought and a real event, yet this mini-vacation can help you feel refreshed and relaxed.

If you don’t have much privacy at work, the next time your boss gives you a hard time, instead of grabbing another cup of coffee try to picture the stress flowing peacefully out of your body, from your head to your toes, and start smiling.

Today’s hectic lifestyle makes us busier — and more stressed — than ever. Unless you’re lucky enough to have learned how to deal with stress in a positive way, this constant stress can have a negative impact on your health.

While most of us can handle short-term stress with few difficulties, ongoing stress can suck the joy out of life. By dealing with problems in a positive way, you will be able to maintain your health even when life is throwing you curveballs.

So when you’re next stressed, instead of reaching for temporary measures like chocolate, smoking or drinking alcohol, try some
of these expert relaxation techniques:

Meditation: Like deep breathing, you can do this anywhere and without specialised training. Try clearing your mind for ten minutes in the morning and again before you go to sleep, gradually increasing the amount of time you meditate each day. Just sit comfortably, close your eyes, relax your body and concentrate on breathing rhythmically.

Feel yourself breathing and focus on each breath you take. Thoughts will come to mind, but just let them pass without giving them any attention. The conscious act of focusing on one thought, object or word will occupy your mind and divert your attention away from the problems that are causing you stress.

Relaxing music and sounds: These can help you clear your mind after a busy day. Find a recording that will help you fall asleep easier, meditate, beat stress and more. Go for relaxation CDs, which may contain music, nature sounds or guided meditations.

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