Note to Self: Relax

10 Jan

With the start of 2014, there is a lot of focus on what you will accomplish, and how you will make changes to benefit your life, but what about taking time to relax? By not scheduling in a little R&R, it can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress level. This kind of lifestyle can put your big plans in jeopardy.  Here are some tips for relaxing to help you deal with the stresses and pressures of the New Year.

 Meditate

“Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach. The process can be simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting — out loud or silently — a positive mantra.

Breathe Deeply

Give yourself a 5-minute break from whatever is bothering you and focus instead on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.       

Be Present

You rush through dinner, hurry to your next appointment, race to finish one more thing on your agenda. Now try something different: Slow down. 

Reach Out

Talking to others — preferably face-to-face or at least on the phone — is a great way to better manage whatever is stressing you out.

Tune In to Your Body

Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress affects it each day. Lie on your back or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels. 

No one likes to be told to relax, but by being conscious of your health, it will help you fulfill all of your big goals for 2014. So, get in touch with your Zen side and make this year the most relaxed, productive year yet!         

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