Mindfulness: Steps to Relaxation

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Young woman doing yoga exercise indoors at home, meditating.

The aim of relaxation is to nourish your mind. So, how do we do this?

Here’s a mini-story:

Sam is sitting at home tired, stressed, irritable, miserable, bored. Pretty much emotional overload. Not hungry or thirsty, but after an hour of negotiating with herself she ‘gives in’ to the tempting voice in her head that says ‘Go on, just have one sandwich, just have one glass of wine, this is obviously a tough day. You deserve it.

Finding alternative solutions for managing stress, finding which relaxation options appeal to you is important for managing all aspects of your life.

What’s relaxation all about for you? Is it that glass (or two) of alcohol or something munchy after a stressful day? For many LighterLife clients, food in one form or another often plays a role. However, genuine relaxation involves no substances and is not followed by regret.

Today it’s no longer infectious diseases that are the major killers, but the many illnesses that have their roots in emotional overload, in stress. Millions of prescriptions for tranquillisers and anti-depressants are written in this country every year. Millions of pounds are spent on medication to relieve stress-related headaches and the like. Millions of people use substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and food and behaviours such as shopping, gambling, and exercise as coping mechanisms. How you manage your choices matters.

Including genuinely relaxing routines into your schedule not only helps alleviate physical aches and pains but also helps people take more care of all aspects of themselves. You probably know some of this, have good intentions but Sam’s story plays out all too often. If you’re letting life get to you, nourish yourself with relaxation and exercise, rather than another packet of not so nourishing crunchy, chewy things.

Too many start out with all good intentions to do the stuff they know is helpful, but not too far down the line life takes over and helpful relaxation routines take a back seat. The more evidence you gain, the more you understand why you would be better off if you made some relaxation changes to your routines the more likely you are to do it. Find out what is going to help you motivate you to take care of yourself and turn plans into action.

It’s been known for decades that thoughts and muscles work on one circuit which means that relaxing muscles can lead to the quietening of thoughts and vice versa. Most relaxation techniques fall into one of the two broad categories: physical and psychological. The physiological methods include techniques focusing on muscular relaxation, exercise and breathing methods. The psychological methods include self-awareness, goal-directed visualisation, and meditation.

Evidence suggests that while exercise is not effective for weight loss it contributes to the well-being and consequent peace of mind of the individual.

It’s important to remember that your experience of stress and anxiety is related to the way you interpret events in your life. The way you think has a powerful effect on the level of stress in your life.

There is also solid evidence that buddying up, getting support from others is very important in making any changes in your life and this is certainly no less true when exploring techniques that help you take more care of yourself. Your LighterLife Mentor and your group are there for just that purpose.

Discover more about our approach to mindfulness and our product range at www.lighterlife.com/lighterlife-fast/

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