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Relaxation Exercises for peaceful stress free livingrelaxation exercises stress free living

Introduction to relaxation exercises

Effects of a stressed mind

Some relaxation exercises

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Introduction to Stress and Relaxation

All the extraordinary faculties of the human beings are projected through the mind. It is the mind which has been responsible for all the great developments in the civilisations as we see it today. Mind is a formless state. It cannot be brought on record or measured by any of the modern instruments. Fundamentally mind is concerned with the thinking and it's applications.

The brain controls all the functions of the body system and if a stressed mind state continues for too long it leads to failure of body functioning in any way it pleases by way of an array of illnesses etc. It must be remembered that the mind is to the brain what soul is to the body. Thus it is very important to keep the mind as free from stress as possible. A healthy (stressless) mind is essential to keep the body illness free and also to enable a person to take correct decisions.  Have you ever seen a "Lucky" person around you who is stressed. They are always as is said "HAPPY GO LUCKY". Therefore to be happy or to be lucky is to have a stressless mind.

 

Some effects of a stressed mind

Sleeplessness
It may be late onset of sleep, getting awake between sleeps or keeping awake after a short spell of sleep. All types are alarming. What is more important is the quality of sleep. We may be asleep but it may be shallow in depth. Poor sleep results in a physical drag which interferes with the day to day working and ultimately leads to mental drag and stress. Reading a  relaxing story or listening to some relaxing music before sleep might help.

Anxiety / Depression
Acute problems often lead to anxiety while chronic problems to depression. These states are usually the result of constant and continuous thinking and pondering on the same subject again and again, with addition of imaginative fears and concocted end results. This happens particularly at night in lieu of sleep or being alone. Use of anti anxiety drugs or anti- depressants do not relieve the situation and may lead to either worsening or drug addiction. Try to listen to uplifting people (Gods) and music.

Cardiovascular
Changes in the blood pressure are commonly observed but is not an early symptom but when detected means that a middle stage has been reached. Vascular hypertension if unchecked is distastrous for the heart (heart attack), kidneys (renal failure), eyes (decrease in visual acuity), blood vessels (cerebral hemorrhage & atherosclerosis), etc. in the long run. Anti hyper tensive drugs have their limitations as they cannot alleviate the underlying mental stress. Change your life!!!

Diabetes mellitus
Intolerance to sugar is also a very frequent consequence of mental stress. The biggest problem is that one may harbor it for years without even having the slightest hint of it. It injures, or even kills us, very silently. No tissue in the body is spared by the onslaught of the increased blood sugar levels as sugar is an energy requirement which is basic for every living cell. See a good ayurvedic pracitioner.

Reduction of mental clarity
It is very natural for the mental stress to affect our other mental faculties due to their interlinkage and interdependency. Importantly it affects one's concentrating power which leads to taking improper or wrong decisions very often. It makes a person irritable more than required, unaware of immediate surroundings, less tolerant, irrational, short tempered etc. All these do not permit the person to plan in a correct perspective or to take the best decision, where it matters. Do a good cleanse on all levels.

General
Body malaise, restlessness, problems in social relations, carelessness, lethargy etc. are all signs of underlying stress. Don't wait until it develops into serious health issues. Do something now, it's easy:
 

Some Relaxation Exercises

Meditation

Meditation can work for some people, but not everybody can meditate properly  leading to inability to get the desired results. Two common reasons are

Posture: To sit cross legged on the floor for a long time can stress the vertebral column and the muscles if not done correctly.

Mind Control:  It is essential to close the eyes in the traditional system of meditation, but as soon as the eyes are closed we find that stray and weird thoughts of all kinds surround us i.e. our mind becomes full of unrelated thoughts and worries- the same thoughts which we originally wanted to remove from our mind.


Gazing

Sounds similar to grazing, and it is similar too. It's just about taking life at a very relaxed (stoned) pace.
You can sit as usual on a chair or even be semi-reclined in an easychair. No need to sit cross legged.
Place yourself close to a window, rooftop of a building, open areas like parks, hills or even in a skyscraper from where you can have an obstructed view of either horizon or at least 3-4 kilometres of clear path of vision i.e. no buildings or trees in between.
Take care to see that there is no audible disturbances like car horns, music systems or chatting/shouting of people in the close vicinity. Noises are likely to break the meditation effort.
Keep your eyes open and focus your vision (gaze) towards the horizon or the most distant object. Keep the line of vision horizontal, don't look up to the sky or in depths.
Focus intently at the farthest areas as if you are trying to "see" or "locate" something in that distant area. Shortly everything you see would appear blurred. Keep on gazing at the infinity for at least a few minutes.

Within a short time you might feel as if you are not there where you belong to. The mind will be totally lost in the realms of the hollow space surrounding you. Like staring a whole into the wall.  It would be akin to a state of semi-trance or self-hypnosis.

Within a few minutes you automatically come out of this state when the eyes urgently need blinking. Often around five minutes or so. You repeat the procedure for as many times as you like and keep on adding the benefits, but 30-45 minutes in one session is quite reasonable.

Do the same procedure for a few sessions as and when you like it and then feel the difference.


Sleeping

Nature's method of relieving stress is by way of a good sleep or reclining down at least for 6-8 hours a day. In case we don't get enough rest , the stressed spine and its tired muscles give out constant mild or strong pain or irritation impulses to the brain , which leads to a continuous attrition in the brain and then thereby the mind becomes stressed. This stress when combined with other mental stresses generated due to the society, job, finances , family etc. becomes more than enough for the mind to handle and thus it gets stressed.


Exercise

t is very essential to have a de-stressed body in order to reach a state of stressless mind. A body which is physically stressed or tired can generate or aggravate the mental stress. The vertebral column and its associated array of, tiny as well as huge and powerful muscles (numbering around 100) which are being subjected to a day to day physical stress building and its accumulation due to our normal activity of standing erect, walking, running, jumping etc. This physical stress is basically a by product of our ability of standing erect.

You can learn to control this stress by exercise . Regular exercise is like a weapon when fighting stress. It not only makes you more agile but also makes you a happier person and gives you all the positive energy that you require. Exercise is necessary in order to keep the body healthy, physically and mentally.

Yoga

The ancient Indian philosophy of Yoga already envisioned exercises to relieve physical stress in order to reduce the mental stress. There are a number of Yogic exercises described, but presented herewith are a few exercises based on Yogic philosophy , modified or even devised anew to achieve the aim of reducing the physical stress of the spine.

The objective of all Yoga based exercises is to stretch certain joints and muscles in a particular direction which shall counter the day to day physical stress . This stretching shall relieve the stress applied to the joint capsules, ligaments, tendons, fascias, muscles and even the bones. It improves blood circulation in these areas thus leading to a better viability of these tissues, removal of accumulated unwanted excess tissue fluids (cause of fatigue) plus removal of tissue waste products.

CARE should be taken to do the exercises in a slow and gradual manner, increasing the stretch and pressure to reach naturally permissible limits initially, stay shortly (10 - 30 seconds) at this point and then gradually return to the original state. Repetition of a few times of one type of exercise in one sitting would be enough. Exercising once a day is enough but may be done twice with a gap of 8 to 10 hours.
These Yogic exercises are not to be done with speed or excessively repeated. Don't overstretch the joints. The stretchability shall increase with the time to a limit. Don't exercise on full stomach, when feeling hungry, during illness or weakness.

Exercise no: 1 - Place the feet 18 to 24 inches apart, hands stretched above head, bend the body slowly forward, try to touch the floor or as low as possible with the tips of fingers, stay there for 10 to 30 seconds then retrace slowly and relax. Repeat a few times.

Exercise no:2 - Place the feet as before, hands on the waist, bend to one side as much as possible, stay for 10 to 30 seconds, retrace slowly and relax. Repeat a few times then do it on the other side.

Exercise no:3 - Place the feet as before, hands on the waist, bend the body backwards as much as possible easily without falling, stay for 10 to 30 seconds, retrace slowly and relax.

Exercise no. 4 - Place feet as before, one hand on waist and raise the other hand vertically up at the shoulder, try to push it up as much as possible as if you are attempting to touch the ceiling, stay for 10 to 30 seconds, retrace slowly and relax. Repeat a few times. Repeat on the other side in reverse.

Exercise no. 5 - Stand close to the wall, face opposite. The heels should be 2 to 3 inches away from the wall. Now with the feet firmly in position slide down your bottom by bending the knee and the hip joint simultaneously till you acquire an " h " shaped position i.e. back of the thighs in firm contact with back of legs, front of thigh in firm contact with the abdomen and the bottoms a few inches above the floor. Stay for 10 to 30 seconds, stand up slowly, relax and repeat a few times.

Exercise no:6 - Lie flat on the floor or hard bed, raise both lower limbs with simultaneously bending the knees, so that the front of the thighs comes in contact with the abdomen then. Then use both the arms to press the buckled lower limbs to your belly as firmly as possible, stay for 10 to 30 seconds, release slowly, relax and repeat for a few times.

Exercise no:7 - Lie flat on floor or hard bed. Rotate your body on the vertical axis so that you are completely on one side. Fold the hand on the underneath side and place it under your head like a pillow. Now bend the knee of the lower limb on the upper side bringing as close to the abdomen as possible, stay for 10 to 30 seconds, release slowly, relax and repeat a few times. Do it for the other side in reverse.


Massage

Massage is another potent remedy to manage your stress. Not only can you indulge in self-massage, you can help others too by the power of touch. Breathing correctly and muscular relaxation are again techniques to control your stress. They are easy-to-do and help in making you feel relaxed. The ancient practices of meditation and yoga also serve as perfect antidotes to manage stress. However, itís not enough to merely know about the techniques -- the onus lies on you to derive the desired effect by making a positive effort towards actually doing it.


Lifestyle

In addition to these techniques, you can also control your stress by making changes in your lifestyle. You can learn to eat right, relax, quit smoking, sleep properly, clean your system and have mastery over your time. Once you accomplish these, your stress will vanish making you feel fitter and lighter.


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