Can Relaxing Be One Key To Self-Affirmation?

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Are you ready to take the time to practice self-affirmation? With so much stress in our lives, it is important to find time to relax and give yourself a pat on the back for all the good you do.

Most of us ignore this need in our lives. We just plunge ahead, trying to squeeze in as much as we can, in order to accomplish whatever goals and tasks we set for ourselves in a given day.

Setting and achieving goals is very important, don't get me wrong. But it is also very important to take time out — to give yourself a well-deserved break from the tensions and duties of your life.

There are some very simple methods to achieve relaxation, you may have a favorite but some are more healthful than others. Read on for some great ideas:

Watching television may be a form of relaxation for some, but is not a recommended method by experts. When we watch TV we are bombarded with commercials, ads, sounds and images. So how do we achieve relaxation? If there are thousands of ways we can get stressed, one of them is not meeting deadlines, there are also many ways we can relax.

One way of relaxation is transcendental meditation. Recent studies have also shown that this method might reduce artery blockage, which is a major cause for heart attack and stroke. People practice transcendental meditation by repeating uttering soothing sounds while meditating, this is to achieve total relaxation. The researchers found that practitioners of transcendental meditation significantly reduced the thickness of their arterial wall compared with those who didn't practice transcendental meditation.

Another study on another method of relaxation, acupuncture, seems to reduce high blood pressure by initiating several body functions for the brain to release chemical compounds known as endorphins. Endorphin helps to relax muscles, ease panic, decrease pain, and reduce anxiety.

Yoga is also another method for relaxation and may also have similar effects like acupuncture. In another study, participants were subjected to several minutes of mental stress. Then they were subjected to various relaxation techniques, such as listening to nature sounds or classical music. Only those who did Yoga significantly reduced the time it took for their blood pressures to go back to normal. Yoga is a form of progressive relaxation.

Breathing is one of the easiest methods to relax. Breathing influences alamost all aspects of us, it affects our mind, our moods and our body. Simply focus on your breathing, after some time you can feel its effects right away. There are several breathing techniques that can help you reduce stress.

Another easy way to achieve relaxation is exercise. (I wrote about this in a recent post.) If you feel irritated a simple half-hour of exercise will often settle things down. Although exercise is a great way to lose weight, it does not show you how to manage stress appropriately. Exercise should also be used in conjunction with other exercise method.

One great way of relaxation is getting a massage. To gain full relaxation, you need to totally surrender to the handling and touch of a professional therapist. There are several types of massages that also give different levels of relaxation.

Another method of relaxation is Biofeedback. The usual biofeedback-training program includes a 10-hour sessions that is often spaced one week apart.

Hypnosis is one controversial relaxation technique. It is a good alternative for people who think that they have no idea what it feels like to be relaxed. It is also a good alternative for people with stress related health problems.

Relaxation can really be of good use once a relaxation technique is regularly built into your lifestyle. Choose a technique that you believe you can do regularly. And remember, you deserve it.

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Seven Days To Wellness: Exercises For A Healthy Life

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One of the most valuable acts you can do to affirm yourself and increase your self-esteem, is to begin exercising on a regular schedule.

We all know we could live a more healthy life-style, with less fast food and more physical activity. I know this is one thing I need to focus on this new year. But it is so hard to stay motivated. Fitness centers make most of their money in the middle of winter. New Year's resolutions account for a lot of new memberships. But it doesn't take long before we slack off and make excuses. I have joined and failed at dozens of attempts to exercise and lose weight. And I don't like myself for it.

If you count yourself in this crowd, then you might enjoy this simple 7 day program I found on-line. Of course, check with your doctor before you begin any fitness regime.

. . . . .

The true purpose of exercise* is to send a repetitive message to the body asking for improvement in metabolism, strength, aerobic capacity and overall fitness and health. Each time you exercise, your body responds by upgrading its capabilities to burn fat throughout the day and night, Exercise doesn't have to be intense to work for you, but it does need to be consistent.

*The secondary purpose of exercise is to make you feel better, look better and increase your personal self-esteem. Look good, feel good, — to believe in yourself and the unlimited opportunities is a great secondary purpose, and one that just might be your strongest motivating factor.

Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise four times per week for 20 to 30 minutes per session, and resistance training four times per week for 20 to 25 minutes per session. This balanced approach provides a one-two punch, incorporating aerobic exercise to burn fat and deliver more oxygen, and resistance training to increase lean body mass and burn more calories around the block.

Here's a sample exercise program that may work for you:

  • Warm Up -- seven to eight minutes of light aerobic activity intended to increase blood flow and lubricate and warm-up your tendons and joints.
  • Resistance Training -- Train all major muscle groups. One to two sets of each exercise. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
  • Aerobic Exercise -- Pick two favorite activities, they could be jogging, rowing, biking or cross-country skiing, whatever fits your lifestyle. Perform 12 to 15 minutes of the first activity and continue with 10 minutes of the second activity. Cool down during the last five minutes.
  • Stretching -- Wrap up your exercise session by stretching, breathing deeply, relaxing and meditating.

When starting an exercise program, it is important to have realistic expectations. Depending on your initial fitness level, you should expect the following changes early on.

From one to eight weeks -- Feel better and have more energy.

From two to six months -- Lose size and inches while becoming leaner. Clothes begin to fit more loosely. You are gaining muscle and losing fat.

After six months -- Start losing weight quite rapidly.

Once you make the commitment to exercise several times a week, don't stop there. You should also change your diet and/or eating habits. Counting calories or calculating grams and percentages for certain nutrients is impractical.

  • Eat several small meals (optimally four) and a couple of small snacks throughout the day. Make sure every meal is balanced -- incorporate palm-sized proteins like lean meats, fish, egg whites and dairy products, fist-sized portions of complex carbohydrates like whole-wheat bread and pasta, wild rice, multi-grain cereal and potatoes, and fist-sized portions of vegetable and fruits. Limit your fat intake to only what's necessary for adequate flavor
  • Drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water throughout the day
  • Include a multi-vitamin each day to ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
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