Your body is meant to exist in a state of relaxation. Taking a few minutes to do nothing and quiet your mind will help your body to relax. Why is this so important? The opposite state of relaxation is stress. When your body is in a stressed state, hormones such as cortisol increase, causing changes that dramatically decrease your body’s ability to heal. Changes such as increasing blood glucose, shutting down digestion and reducing immune system function will significantly reduce your body’s ability to heal.
The changes associated with the stress response are meant to be short-lived; once the crisis is handled, your body should return to a state of relaxation. This process is normal. It is the effects of prolonged stress that dramatically increase stress-related health risks. Life is full of circumstances that can be perceived as stressful; but the truth of the matter is, you have a choice in how you approach each one of them.
Any time you choose relaxation over stress, your body will benefit. You can do all the same tasks, just in a more relaxed state. You will also find that in a state of relaxation, you will be more efficient, think more clearly, and have more productive interactions with others. It is a win all around.
Here are some tips to work relaxation into your daily routine:
- Sit quietly, close your eyes and just notice your breath for 5-10 minutes. Breathe slowly. Rapid breathing signals the body that there is danger present. Breathe in for a count of 5, pause for a count of 5, and then exhale for a count of 5.
- Spend time in nature. Go for a walk, or just sit where you can observe plants and wildlife. Stop and put your feet in the grass or stick your toes in a creek or lake. Nature has an inherent ability to heal and impart wisdom.
- Have some fun – listen to your favorite music, dance, laugh( think of something that has made you laugh or smile in the past)
- Exercise, if it is part of your normal routine, will help your body to relax. Do not do something extreme that your body is not used to doing; this will cause another stress response
- Keep an attitude of gratitude; we all have something to be thankful for. Further, tell someone how much you appreciate them; it will brighten both of your days
Try to work some relaxation time into your day as often as possible. It does not take long, just a minute or two of focused breathing or quieting your mind will make a big difference.
As an experiment, try starting each day with a relaxation exercise of your choice for 21 days. Keep some journal notes to keep track of changes. What do you notice?
For a more in-depth exploration on the effects of thought on our health and the importance of relaxation, we are offering our workshop, Thought as Medicine on July 22 at Taspen’s Organics in Aspen Park, Co. For more information, see our events page: https://theinnertrail.com/events