Relax – And Beat Your Stress
Stress is the curse of living in modern times and it seems almost impossible to escape from. And despite what some people might say to the contrary, just about everyone suffers from stress at some point during a typical working day. The problem is, if we experience stress continually it can take a heavy toll on our health.
In recent studies experts have determined that heart disease is linked to anger, and irritability is linked to mental stress. Too much stress can cause the blood flow to the heart to become restricted (cardiac ischemia) which can lead to a heart attack.
Relaxation becomes a far more serious matter in light of this information. In fact you owe it to yourself to learn the art of relaxation because of the wider implications to your health. Learning to relax properly can not only help you to manage the stress in your life, but it helps you to manage your anger and attitude which can be highly significant to the health of your heart.
Suppressed immune system
Also, we need to relax because apart from lowering blood pressure and decreasing the chances of a stroke or heart attack, stress produces hormones that suppress the efficiency of the immune system. Relaxation gives the immune system time to recover, and in doing so it enables it to function much more efficiently.
So when you are feeling stressed out, exhausted by fatigue or just simply having a miserable day, the best thing to do is simply relax. But that is easier said than done, because many of us have simply forgotten how to relax, – or we feel guilty when we do. In the 24/7 world of today we feel that we must always be doing something. So, what are the best natural ways to relax and reduce the detrimental effects of stress?
Learn to meditate
One of the best ways to relax is to learn how to meditate because it brings a wide range of recognized health benefits. Researchers have recently discovered that practitioners of this ancient art not only reduced their levels of stress, but they also developed improved immunity efficacy, lower inflammation levels, and decreased pain. Brain-imaging studies also reveal that meditation sharpens attention and improves memory.
To practice meditation you simply repeat a word or ‘mantra’ in your mind for about 15-20 minutes, which helps to calm your mind by blocking out anxieties and worries. Basically, you give your brain something else to focus on, instead of whatever is stressing you.
And you don’t have to sit crosslegged in the lotus position to meditate, you can sit comfortably in a chair or even laying on a bed – the main thing is to just relax and clear your mind. Meditation can dramatically reduce the stress in your life once you have learned to calm and focus your mind with a little discipline. You can learn a little more in this article about the benefits of making time for meditation.
Stretch and bend
The ancient Hindu discipline of yoga is now practiced around the world as a great way to relax and keep fit, but it actually offers much more. In a recent study, participants were subjected to several minutes of mental stress after which they practiced relaxation techniques such as listening to the sounds of nature or classical music. Only those who practiced yoga were able to significantly reduce the time it took for their blood pressures to return back to normal.
There is far more to yoga than just a few stretching exercises. When practiced properly, it helps bring about a state of spiritual awareness and tranquility, which for devotees can become a way of life. The huge range of benefits yoga can bring into every aspect of your life can not be overstated, and I can personally recommend it as a method of stress reduction.
Essential oils to help you relax
Aromatherapy is possibly the finest treatment to combat stress and help you relax, whether it is in the form of a massage or just simply enjoying the vaporized aroma of essential oils. Here are some of the best essential oils to help you relax and beat stress;-
- Basil – a tonic that helps focus the mind when stress fogs your thinking
- Cedarwood Atlas – relaxes the body and strengthens the mind
- Chamomile Roman – deeply relaxing to both mind and body
- Clary sage – a powerful relaxant that brings a feeling of well-being
- Frankincense – relaxes the body and uplifts the spirits, and calms the mind
- Geranium – this oil helps to re-balance the mind-body connection
- Juniper Berry – strengthening and cleansing action helps to dispel negativity
- Marjoram Sweet – calming to the nervous system, releases nervous tension
- Sandalwood – another deeply relaxing oil that brings calmness to the mind
- Vetiver – focuses the mind, & brings stability, strength and tranquility
- Ylang ylang – reduces rapid breathing and lowers blood pressure
Relaxing in an aromatherapy bath containing clary sage, sandalwood, ylang ylang and Roman chamomile essential oil is one of the nicest ways to wind down at the end of a stressful day, or if you prefer, add the essential oils to your burner. However, the most effective treatment for stress is a body massage, so offer to swap massages with your partner or a friend if you can’t get an appointment with a qualified aromatherapist. During the daytime, carry a couple of essential oils with you when out and about, so that if you start feeling stressed just add a couple of drops of Roman chamomile, clary sage or frankincense oils to a tissue and inhale deeply.
It has been known for a long time that preventative measures go a very long way towards protecting the body against many types of illness. Therefore, the relaxing and de-stressing influence of massage and essential oils together with their effect on the immune system, places aromatherapy in the pre-eminent position as the finest mode of preventative medicine. And everyone knows that prevention really is much better than cure.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2011. Written by Geoff Lyth