When was the last time that you gave serious thought to taking the stress out of your body and mind? Sure, you’re probably thinking, I go on vacation every year. But is that really enough?
It is no stretch to say that we live in a highly competitive world which for the most part stresses an “every person for themselves ” lifestyle. All you have to do is look around and you will see that stress-producing activities are all around you and attack the tranquility of your state of mind constantly: driving, getting kids off to school, arguments or miss understandings with a friend, car break downs, being the President or leader of a group, etc.
The most constant source of stress in most peoples life’s are deadlines. Deadlines can wreak havoc on a person's mental state of mind. The reason that deadlines are so stressful is that most of us procrastinate. Procrastination is a human condition that can be controlled, but most of us rarely do.
If we are nothing else, we are creatures of habit. We learn how to procrastinate when we are young and never break the habit. Rather than spend a lot of time talking about how to break the habit of procrastination (maybe I will do an article on it later) I will stay on the topic of how to de-stress.
First, let’s take a look at what stress does to your body and mind. Here is a short article on the effects of stress taken from the Mayo Clinic.
Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior
Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. You may think illness is to blame for that irritating headache, your frequent insomnia or your decreased productivity at work. But stress may actually be the cause.
Common effects of stress
Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can help you manage them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
On your body
Muscle tension pain
Change in sex drive
On your mood
Lack of motivation
Irritability or anger
Sadness or depression
On your behavior
Exercise less often
What can you do?
Here are three things that you can do to bring your stress level down. Get in the habit of doing these three things once a month if possible. The first thing that you can do to bring your stress level down, and this should be done in conjunction with the other two things is, give yourself a day off. I mean a real day off. This will take Cooperation with another family because on the day of your choice here is what you are going to do. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I meant it. Don’t answer the phone, feed the animals, answer the door, NOTHING!
During that day the only thing that you are allowed to do is lay around in bed, sunbath, read a book, catch as many naps as you like and do the mental relaxation drill below.
Then at the end of the day (close to bedtime) if you are a member of a club with a Jacuzzi go down to it and follow the Jacuzzi workout. If you are not a member of a club get some “Epsom Salt”, put it in a tub of hot water, and soak for about an hour.
Find a quiet place.
Sit or lie down (lying down is better).
Close your eyes and begin to regulate your breathing.
In regulating your breathing, inhale through your nose to a slow count of four and exhale through your mouth to a slow count of four.
When breathing in bypass your chest and breath deep into your diaphragm.
Once you get the rhythm of breathing imaging that your breath has a luminous glow. As you continue to breathe with a four-count rhythm allow the flow to go through your body one part at a time, as it passes through your left leg allow the leg to come to a state of total relaxation; then follow the flow through your body to your right leg; your shoulders and back; your left and right arms; your neck and finally your mind relaxing each part as it flows through. When you reach your mind allow your mind to reach a deep state of relaxation. This relaxation state should feel the same as it does just before you fall asleep, but do not doze off.
Remain in this state of total relaxation for five to ten minutes then begin to work your way out by reversing the process; wake up your left and right legs; your shoulders and back, arms etc.
Treat yourself to a jacuzzi! But this is not your run of the mill jacuzzi wet down.
A lot of people belong to clubs that have a whirlpool/jacuzzi.
Before you get into the jacuzzi follow these steps. Find a secluded place to sit and lie down on a towel.
Go down on your hands and knees (in exercise studios this is called a “Doggy” position.
From the “Doggy” position extend your left or right hand out as far as you can in front of you. Once you arm is fully extended leave your hand forward on the floor and pull back and down stretching your shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
Both of your shoulders should now be stretched out. From the “Doggy” position arch/round your back towards the ceiling (this will stretch your spine).
Next, move to a sitting position on the floor or your towel. Extend either you right or left leg out in front of you; pull your opposite foot up towards you, lean the outside of the leg on the floor as you place the bottom of the foot against the inner thigh of your opposite leg. Take a deep breath; as you exhale reach down as far as you can and hold on to your ankle or lower leg. Make sure that you use your breath to help you relax your body and gain maximum distance; try to touch your head to your knee. Repeat on the other leg.
After you complete the individual leg stretch, extend both legs out in front of you; using your breathing take a deep breath, grasp your ankles and try to touch your head to your knees.
Once you’re finished, place both of your hands behind you, bend your knees, lift your waist to the ceiling and make a table. This will stretch out your shoulders and chest.
Next, extend your left or right leg out in front of you; take the opposite leg and place the foot over the knee of the outstretched leg onto the floor (the inside of your foot will be facing away from you).
Place the opposite hand as the leg that is outstretched behind you about eight or nine inches away from your body. Raise the same arm as leg that is extended to the ceiling and allow the elbow to brace against the outer upper part of the knee. Using your arm as a brace, take a deep breath, push against the outer knee of the leg that is bent and twist your upper body towards the hand that is on the floor behind you ( you should feel your spine, waist, butt, and shoulders being stretched.
For your last stretch, from a sitting position extend both of your legs out in front of you; separate your feet as far as you can; reach down towards your right or left ankle and grasp hold of it; inhale deeply; exhale and try to touch your head to the knee of the ankle that you are holding onto; repeat on the other leg; finally, hold on to both of your ankles and try to touch your head to the floor in front of you, you will be stretching the inner thigh muscles.
Now you are ready for the Jacuzzi
Step into the Jacuzzi facing the jets
Roll your right front thigh up and down the jet for about three minutes
Go up to the front right chest and do the same thing
Allow the jet to massage the front parts of your upper arm (the bicep)
Allow the jet to massage your front forearm
Turn backward and allow the jet to massage the back of your forearm and the tri-cep muscles
Make sure that the jet massages your upper back and neck on the right side
Move to the lower back on the right side
Continue down to your right glut (butt muscle)
Stay on the right side and catch the right hamstring and calf
Position yourself so that the jet massages the bottom of your foot
By turning around allow the jet to do the exact same thing on your left side: start from the front of the thigh, move up to the chest, shoulder, and front of the arm.
Allow the jet to get the back of the forearm and tri-cep
Move to the upper and lower back, butt, thigh, and calf. Don’t forget the bottom of your left foot.
After you have massaged your entire body place the middle of your back against the jet; by going up and down massage your spine. To complete the Jacuzzi workout, lean all of the ways back so that the neck and area behind your ears are being massaged. When done go home, get a good book, a glass of wine (if you drink) and get into bed and read until you fall asleep. You’ll wake up the next day feeling like a new person.
May you have everything that you want and want everything that you have.