The Art of CHILLAXATION


June 26, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ LIfestyle



“ IT’S NOT STRESS THAT KILLS US, IT IS OUR REACTION TO IT. ” Hans Selye

Too much stress isn’t good for anyone, but it may be especially bad for people with chronic illnesses. It can prevent you from effectively managing your condition by thwarting your intentions to eat a good diet, keep up with your exercise program, and remember to do regular check ins with your physician. Worse still, there’s considerable evidence that stress makes blood sugar rise in the case of patients with diabetes, so maintaining a calm and relaxed state is imperative to those particular sufferers.

Hormones released when you’re tense or under the gun—particularly cortisol and epinephrine—pump glucose into blood from storage sites in the liver so the body has more energy available to meet a challenge. So-called stress hormones can have other harmful effects as well. One study found that stress inhibits the ability of blood vessels to expand, which might make it a factor in heart attacks.

To tame your tension, practice this routine every day for about half an hour if you can and you’ll soon become skilled at “letting go.” Then use it whenever you’re tense, when life feels overwhelming, or when you can’t sleep at night. Practicing deep relaxation is especially helpful for anyone who suffers from a chronic illness.

 

1) Lie down on a firm surface such as a bed or on a comfy floor mat. Place a small cushion under your head and a large cushion under your thighs, to take the strain off your abdomen and ease the small of your back. Ensure you’re warm—perhaps cover yourself with a blanket—as you can’t relax completely if you’re cold.

2) Focus your attention on your shoulders and pull them toward your feet—the opposite of shrugging. Hold them there for a few seconds, then let them go. Now feel as if         your shoulders are tipping backward toward the support you’re lying on. Register having more relaxed shoulders.

3) Become aware of your arms. Move them slightly away from the sides of your body, and bend your elbows outward a little. Let your hands rest apart from each other on your lower abdomen or on either side of your body. Now push your arms down into the support, hold for a moment, then stop pushing. Feel your arms sinking down more heavily into the support. Tell yourself to let go through all the muscles in your arms. Feel them being completely held by the support. Let go a little more.

4) Now move your attention to your hands. With your hands still supported, stretch out your fingers and thumbs. Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then let your fingers flop. Let them go limp—don’t clasp them together—and register the feeling of still, relaxed hands. Feel just how calming it is to have completely relaxed hands.

5) Now be aware of your legs. Push them down into the support, hold them there for a few seconds, and then let go. Now let them fall apart a little more. Feel them sinking down more heavily into the support. Let go a little more and feel the relaxation flowing through all your leg muscles.

6) Now be aware of your feet. Stretch out your toes and hold for a moment, then let your feet flop out sideways. Feel your feet in contact with the support and register the complete relaxation you feel in all the muscles throughout your feet.

7) Now be aware of your abdominal muscles below the waist. As you breathe out, let these muscles feel loose, limp and easy—no holding in. Now feel your buttock muscles letting go. Feel the whole of your lower body being supported more fully and relaxing more completely.

8) Now be aware of your diaphragm, just above your waist. Feel as if this part of you is expanding slightly. Let go all around your middle, and feel how you breathe naturally into your diaphragm area as you relax. Be aware of your middle expanding as you breathe in, and feel yourself letting go more completely as you breathe out. It is the out-breath that relaxes you. As you breathe out say to yourself “let go,” and feel this letting-go all through your body. Take a few moments to experience your calm, rhythmical breathing, breathing out a little more slowly than you breathe in, and let go even more.

9) Now be aware of your back. Press down a little more heavily into the support, hold for a few seconds, then stop pushing and let go. Feel your whole body relaxing deeply.

10) Now be aware of your mouth and jaw. Make sure your top and bottom teeth are slightly apart, not clenched together. Let your tongue rest behind your lower teeth. Let your lips touch lightly. Register how it feels to have a relaxed mouth and jaw. Now imagine a smile beginning in your mouth and slowly spreading out into your cheeks. Feel as if your cheeks are widening a little, so that the whole of your lower face feels relaxed and calm.

11) Now be aware of your eyes. Let your eyelids be lightly closed; let your eye muscles relax. Don’t focus on anything. Just let your eyes rest, and become aware of how relaxing it is to shut out visual stimuli for a little while.

12) Now be aware of your forehead. Imagine that gentle fingers are smoothing it outward from the centre to the temples. Feel as if it is widening out. Imagine all the worry lines being smoothed away. Now imagine it being gently smoothed upward. Feel as if your forehead is becoming higher. Feel a sense of having a high, wide brow that is smooth and serene.

13) Now imagine those gentle hands smoothing up over your head, gently massaging your scalp. Feel as if your head is expanding a little, as you let go of any tension in your scalp. Imagine the tension floating away.

14) Stay in this relaxed feeling, and rest your mind by picturing a beautiful, peaceful place—somewhere you’d like to be right now, a place that feels safe and calm. Rest here for a few minutes—enjoy taking a little time away from the outside world. This is your inner sanctuary, where you can return for rest whenever you choose.

15) When you’re in a state of deep relaxation, hold the awareness that all the repair mechanisms of the body are enhanced, and the immune system is boosted. By relaxing deeply, you are helping your body toward better health.

 

After you feel more relaxed and wish to come back to normal alertness, do so slowly and gently. First, wiggle your fingers and toes, then have a stretch. Stretch out your arms, hands, and fingers, then stretch your legs, feet, and toes. Push your heels away from you to stretch out your spine and body. Roll onto your side and, when you feel ready, sit up slowly and stay there for a few minutes, as you prepare to return to everyday living. Maintain the feeling of calm for as long as you can.

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