When it comes to relieving stress there are as many methods and experts as there are in the dieting industry. There is always a new best selling book on various subjects from building sandcastles to hiding in a remote destination and taking daily prayer with monks. The point is everyone is exposed to stress, and we are all seeking relief ! How we deal with the stress is what counts.
Our natural response to stress is the fight or flight mechanism. In modern times this amounts to seeking remedy, shelter or comfort. For some its ice cream, some alcohol and for others its meditation. Being mindful about how you seek relief from stress is important. Having more than one way to find relief from stress is a good strategy. This will help us avoid dependency, because lets face it; stress never goes away.
The worst thing about stress in humans, is we manufacture and self impose most of our stress. The bottom line is whatever your source of stress is, get good at identifying it and apply good strategies for eliminating it.
That is; unless a monster is going to eat you. (That’s not the time for strategy.) Then it’s ok to freak out and fight or flight using the adrenaline in your body caused by the stress to save your life. But the truth is many of our stress factors are not as real as we think.
The goal is clear: let go, relax, recharge. But if you are constantly overwhelmed and rushed through the day, you are a candidate for organic or mental illness, says Dr. Dietmar Ohm, psychotherapist from Lübeck.
The inability to pause and reset makes you sick in the long run. It is therefore important to find a balance between being active and passive, taking into account the individual professional and personal situation. Relaxation techniques can help with this.
If a person is physically relaxed, muscle tone, pulse rate and blood pressure decrease. Breathing deepens. This reduced level of arousal in the body has a positive effect on the psyche. Those who are balanced feel in harmony with themselves and their environment. “Relaxation methods provide instructions and practical options on how to activate a relaxation reaction,” says Ohm. Regular training enables you to call up these reactions in explosive situations and to calm yourself down. In addition, it increases the general stress tolerance and the ability to relax. In this way, it prevents the harmful effects of stress. We must learn to Relax actively and passively.
Below Dr Ohm has rated proven relaxation methods according to which stressful situations and for which stress type they are particularly suitable:
Stress activates the body, this is its biological function. It adjusts the organism to movement – a holdover from primeval times when our ancestors had to fight or flee to survive in the face of danger. With substitute movement such as jogging or cycling, modern humans use the additional energy that the organism makes available in stressful situations in the most sensible way – and thereby break down the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Endurance training for relaxation particularly benefits those people who are mainly mentally challenged at work, for example office workers. Those who sit all day accumulate the energy provided in stressful situations, which is not dissipated. Typical consequences of this are states of tension, which are expressed either in inner restlessness and the urge to move, or in exhaustion. Endurance sport is then a good outlet to let off steam.
Muscle relaxation and the Far Eastern forms of training yoga, tai chi and qigong aim to relieve stress mentally with gentle physical exercises. Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation is particularly easy to learn. From the hands over the head to the feet, one region of the body after the other is consciously tensed and then relaxed again. Those who have mastered the method can use it practically anywhere unnoticed by others, for example at work or in the waiting room. This method is particularly suitable for people who have little time to spare, as it does not require much effort. Progressive muscle relaxation should best be learned under professional guidance. This also applies to yoga, tai chi and qigong, in which movement and breathing are closely related. Those who want to improve their body awareness and ability to concentrate will benefit from these techniques.
The ability to concentrate is not the goal in autogenic training, meditation and biofeedback, but an important requirement. These techniques are therefore recommended for everyone who can collect themselves inwardly and can easily visualize something. People who are mentally overstimulated often find it difficult to use the mind as a gateway for relaxation. It is better for them to exercise first and then use a concentrative method. Experts advise mentally unstable people to only practice meditative techniques with their religious-spiritual background under professional guidance, as they can trigger fears. Autogenic training should also be acquired in a course.
Rewarding yourself in everyday life with massages, relaxing baths, walks or simply doing nothing creates intense moments of relaxation and switching off. The anticipation can carry you through the whole day. These activities are suitable for enthusiastic and enjoyable people who can consciously perceive moments of happiness and recharge their batteries. The disadvantage: They do not change anything in the life situation or the specific stress triggers.
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