5 Ways to Relax
By Iris Richard
Every morning I wake up and board an express train leaving from fast track station. As I speed along life’s rails, I stare out the window and think. Where has the time gone? How did my children manage to grow up so quickly? Now it’s happening with my grandchildren. I catch my reflection in the window and wonder where all that gray hair came from. It seems like only yesterday…
In today’s ever-changing and expanding world, it’s hard to take the focus off of what is happening to us externally, the pressures of life on the fast track. But it’s through meeting our inner needs that we are renewed. It can start simply, as the following ideas suggest:
1. Invest in relationships. Don’t take friends and family for granted; these relationships need nurturing. Let people know that you appreciate them and are glad they’re part of your life. Try to surround yourself with happy people. Being around people who are upbeat buoys your own mood. And when you are cheerful and optimistic, you give something to those around you.
2. Take a brisk walk. Physical activity releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones in your body, which increases your sense of well-being and makes it easier to approach challenges positively. Exercise also improves your overall health. While you’re exercising, concentrate on deep, abdominal breathing. This will increase the amount of oxygen delivered to every cell of your body and flush toxins from your circulatory system.
3. Meditate. Focus on an object—a flower, a tree, a cloud—and take in its wonder. Or concentrate on a positive thought or a Bible verse. Let feelings of gratitude fill your mind and flood your spirit. Picture your troubles, confusion, and fears taking flight as you breathe slowly and deeply.
4. Pray. Prayer is like an extension of meditation. It has the same immediate benefits for body, mind, and spirit, but goes far beyond that; it is your link with your Creator and releases His power to work on your behalf.
5. Take time off. Most stress is work related. Make times to totally disengage from work and do something that will have a positive impact. And instead of picking up the nearest electronic device as your default diversion, try sketching or painting, creative writing, or reading a good book—something that will stimulate you in a new way and get your creative juices flowing.
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