It is very true that, unfortunately, many people look to reduce feelings of worry and stress by doing the very things that, ultimately, bring on more of the same. Alcohol, drugs, and over indulgence in the wrong types of food all seem to offer an immediate solution to get away from the stresses of the day.
Now, I am not condemning sensible drinking or occasionally eating the ‘wrong’ type of food as a rare treat but the daily ingestion of such substances simply leads to poor health and a whole host of related negativity.
The question, though, is what are the alternatives? How can I relax and unwind without a few drinks?
The truth of the matter is this. A real, instantly accessible, answer is within you and you do it each day without even thinking about it. If you learn to harness this inner power you will, literally, have a way of eliminating stress, or at least greatly reducing it, without the need for things that are bad for you.
What is this ‘inner power’ I hear you cry! Very simply, it is your breath!
By learning a few simple exercises you can go a long way to beating stress while feeling healthier and more positive. If you perform repetitive actions such as deep breathing exercises then this helps in blocking out stressful thoughts. The more you repeat the activity and become proficient at it the easier it will be to unwind.
For an example of such an exercise try the one below for five minutes and feel how it aids in relaxation and reduces feelings of stress and worry.
1. Sit comfortably with your back straight. Place your hands on a table or desk in front of you.
2. From this position inhale until you feel you are full of air. As you do this I want you to imagine you are pulling a white pure light into your abdomen.
3. On completion of the inhalation hold this white light for a second (at most) in your abdomen then exhale.
4. Repeat five times slowly. This is the first step.
5. Now lets advance this! Do the same as above and have the white light in your abdomen area.
6. This time though do not simply exhale. Instead, as you exhale, imagine this white light spreading from your abdomen throughout your entire body. As it spreads into your legs, feet, chest and head allow it to soothe and relax your major body parts.
7. Do this at least five times slowly. This requires a slow exhale to allow time for you to visualise this pure, relaxing, white light time to spread throughout your whole being. Feel your muscles (and mind) loose any unnecessary tension.
Try this right now.
Give yourself five minutes to experience how just your controlled breath can really make a difference. At the end of each day perform this for five to ten minutes. Not only will it help tension to melt from your mind it will also benefit your health through your deep focused breathing gently massaging your internal organs.
Have at it!
© Tim Webb 2005
Tim Webb is a fitness instructor, Ju Jutsu instructor and competitor. He specialises in easily accessible deep breathing exercises that combine breath and mind together. His site http://www.breathforsuccess.com/ offers a product that provides deep breathing exercises for invigorating yourself, relaxing, and highlights how your breath can be tied in with your goals to move you towards them in record time!