The benefits of relaxation are more than simply a refreshed mind and rejuvenated spirit. Did you know that there are significant health benefits associated with relaxation?; Reducing stress, reducing or eliminating insomnia can decrease your chances of developing certain health conditions, such as heart disease and cancer.
By Dr. Mercola
The holidays are supposed to be one of the most joyous times of the year, and surveys show that the majority of Americans do feel positive emotions like happiness, love, and high spirits often during this season.
On the other hand, emotions of all kinds are increased, and this includes negative feelings like anxiety, grief, and stress.
Many people report increased stress during the holidays as they try to pull together the “perfect” holiday for their families, which often means balancing work and social obligations with shopping, decorating, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, and baking.
Financial pressures also tend to peak at this time of year, as do worries over having enough money to purchase gifts without running up credit card debt. Even worries related to work, including wrapping up year-end projects or getting enough time off, run high during the holiday season.
What’s the Point of a Holiday Celebration if You Don’t Enjoy It?
All of the hype and preparations surrounding the holidays can make it feel like one more “chore” that has to be dealt with. If your holiday morphs into the “chore” category, then really, what’s the point?
When you find yourself getting caught up in anxious thoughts about how you’ll get everything done, stop and remember that most people say spending time with their family and friends is what they look forward to most about the holidays. This season should not be about stress… it should be about relaxing and sharing good times with those you love.
How to Relax During the Holidays: 9 More Tips
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, it’s time to put the following relaxation plan into action. Once you’re feeling relaxed, it will help you find greater happiness and purpose as you go about your day. Ideally, don’t wait until stress becomes all-consuming… make it a habit to use these relaxation strategies regularly and often, especially before, during and after the holidays:
Exercise affects a neurotransmitter that has an antidepressant-like effect on your brain while helping to decrease muscle tension.
2. Spend Time in Nature
Even five minutes in nature can help reduce stress and boost your mood, helping you to relax.
3. Participate in Activities You Enjoy
Be sure to leave time for the holiday activities you love most, whether it’s caroling, decorating your Christmas tree, or writing holiday cards.
4. Stay Positive
Those who are optimistic have an easier time dealing with stress, and are more inclined to open themselves up for opportunities to have positive, regenerative experiences.
5. Take a Break or Meditate
Taking even 10 minutes to sit quietly and shut out the chaos around you can trigger your relaxation response.
Meditating during your breaks can help you to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety even more.
6. Live in the Present
Turn off your racing mind and simply focus on only the task at hand. Avoid worrying about what you need to do later in the day or tomorrow (if you have trouble shutting out such thoughts, jot them down on a piece of paper to help clear your mind).
7. Nurture Yourself
Try massage, a hot bath, mini-relaxations, or a quick walk to ease tension. Be sure you’re eating right, sleeping well and laughing often.
8. Be Grateful
Focus on what you’re grateful for. Keep a gratitude journal and write down why you’re grateful each day. Focus on what you do have this holiday season instead of what you don’t.
9. Use Visualization
Close your eyes and imagine yourself relaxing on the beach or sitting in front of a cozy fireplace with your family. You can also visualize your “perfect” holiday, which is especially useful if you’re worrying over what might go wrong. (Although, you should let go of the idea that your holiday must be perfect in order to be enjoyable.)
The benefits of relaxation are more important than you think! Relaxation techniques are no longer just for relieving stress – now, they're more important than ever for maintaining regular health. The benefits of relaxation which are naturally opposite to the adrenaline rush, include a restful heart rate, slower breathing, a drop in blood pressure. Relaxation is perhaps the single most important key to health and well-being. It is the antidote to stress which is known to contribute to the development of disease. When we relax, our body has an opportunity to unwind.
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