We live such busy lives that we often don’t realize how stressed we really are. Failing to do so will result in potential exhaustion, anxiety, depression and even physical illness. There is a reason why stress is sometimes referred to as the silent killer. Your mind has the ability to withstand a lot more than you may think possible and at times, you are so focused on other things, that you miss out on your current emotional, physical and cognitive state. Of course you can be a high achiever, workaholic or a social butterfly, but you also need to realize that your health should be your number one priority. Stress can be from just one situation or it can be accumulated over time with different stressful scenarios you keep putting off. But your mind stores every single experience you go through and if you ignore the signs, you may fall into a self-inflicted trap. Here are 5 ways I found add value towards relaxation:
SPEND TIME WITH THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE AND WHO LOVE YOU BACK
When you feel overworked or have an outstanding problem that’s pending on your mind, the best way to deal with this is by externalizing yourself from the situation. By taking a dissociative approach and stepping out of the problem, you shift your focus and start seeing more solutions. A great way to do this is by being around people with good intentions towards you and you on them. The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow came up with the self-actualization theory where he placed different stages of life as part of a pyramid. The feeling of love and belongingness is placed exactly in the middle, in the third stage and this is a clear outline that these feelings are at the core of everything. When we feel loved and are able to give love back, we are aligned with ourselves and the environment around us. Spending time with people who provide you this will help you feel more balanced and relaxed.
SPEND TIME IN NATURE AND WITH ANIMALS
One of my favorite activities to do when I have a lot going on is to be outside in the nature and spend time with animals. My brother has two gorgeous beagles and I try as much as I can to visit them often. A 30 minute walk with those two little souls completely boosts my energy levels and emotional state. There is something so calming about being around your pets, particularly dogs who are extremely intuitive and gentle. Their innocent nature and careless approach to what could or should be is really a lesson for us humans to actually take things as they come and live in the moment. Being outside in the fresh air completely recharges your body and mind and it has such a cleansing effect on your mind.
FOCUS ON YOUR HOBBIES
When life gets busy, we tend to lose track of what’s important to us and of what we love doing. Hobbies are vital and the more you have, the less stressed you become. Why? Because hobbies are activities we actively participate in for no other reason than pure passion. We do them because we enjoy doing so and they bring satisfaction to our life. This is something I focused a lot of my attention on, and finding my hobbies helped me become very comfortable with my own presence and spending time with myself. I also love to continuously learn new things and improve myself and finding different hobbies makes this possible. For example, I love to cook, read, run, write, bake, sew, create scrap books and vision boards etc. I absolutely adore these and every time I am overwhelmed with something, I devote some time to one of the above. Instantly I feel better. Your hobbies are a great reminder of your passion and they help you connect with your source, your true spirit. When that happens, your energy becomes more aligned and as a result, you become more balanced.
Need I say more? Exercise in my opinion is one of the best activities you can get involved in when feeling a bit under the weather. When you are stressed, cortisol (the stress hormone) is released which in turn activates that flight or fight response. You brain doesn't actually know if you are facing a stressful situation or that it's all just a matter of panicking due to over thinking; and so it helps you to deal with it by activating the fight response. When exercising, you release endorphins and stimulate your body and mind at the same time, giving it a double powerful effect. Endorphins trigger an overall feeling of happiness which is why you will feel that happy vibe during and after a physical activity. Exercise can actually be very much like a mediation session, because if you are fully focused and immersed in the moment, without reacting to anything else around you, then you are actually becoming more relaxed without you even consciously being aware of it.
There is no way I was going to leave out the practice of meditation as an effective way of de-stressing. If you are a novice at it, know that it is very much possible to do it and I’m sure you have done it many times before without actually realizing. I consider meditation to be the practice of being still and being in the moment, whilst having your 5 main senses fully activated, but without actually reacting. Therefore you are completely aware of everything happening both internally and externally and you just simply are in the moment without taking action towards any of these. Whether you devote an hour of your time or just 5 minutes to it, meditation can really help you de-stress, activate your internal energy in a balanced form and allow you to feel more relaxed and less reactive. Everything that manifests in your life is a result of your internal state, so if you are feeling stressed, you need to address the cause and that usually starts from within. Meditation will help you gain clarity of what’s going on inside of you and this will give you the ability to shift your perception of it and create a new, more in the flow state.
There are many ways of de-stressing, depending on what you enjoy doing or how high the levels of stress are that you are currently experiencing. Just remember that your outer world is a representation of your inner world, so look within, do the things you enjoy and take a step back. Life continues as it is and the more in flow you are with this, the more open to opportunities you will be without being reactive in a forceful, impulsive way. When you resist or fare forceful towards something, you are unconsciously creating internalise imbalances. You can be persistent, without being forceful and you can feel relaxed, whilst still being completely present.