If you feel tension in all your muscles and have wondering thoughts, it indicates a chronic level of physical and emotional tension you have at this time. Those who take time to relax and release inner tension do much better physically and emotionally than those who fail to engage in such behavior. Stressmasters have a higher quality of life than those who do not or will not “let go.”
If you can find more time to relax, you will counteract the negative effect of stress. Learn how to relax your body and emotions by focusing your attention on more peaceful thoughts. Being tense and finding little or no time to relax is an important stress indicator.
Tense people often feel incredible levels of guilt about taking it easy and being good to themselves. Prolonged tension can cause muscle aches, pain, and fatigue. Back and headache pain are the most common physical symptoms of too much stress and tension.
Tense people rarely take lunch breaks, read books, or take a walk. So what can you do to help yourself?
Take time for you!
Ask yourself: “Am I giving too much to others and not enough for myself? Do I need to take time to pamper myself?” If the answers are “yes,” refuse to feel guilty about it and do it!
If you feel guilty when you do something enjoyable for yourself, chances are you will stop doing it. Ultimately, you lose. You may be living your life through other people’s standards and expectations. Take control of your guilt-producing thoughts. Focus on the benefits to you and your family that will occur when you are a more relaxed and energized person.
Go to lunch and don’t rush
Take a long lunch break at least three times a week. Don’t do business during lunch. Read a novel over a cup of tea. Go to a museum. Sit quietly by a stream. Eat slowly. Try a new restaurant. Go out with a good friend and agree not to discuss problems or business.
Walk every day
Walk by yourself or with a friend. Talk about possibilities, not problems.
Join an aerobics class, go to the gym, play tennis, ride a bike, hike on weekends, go to a fitness resort, or jog with friends. Exercise will do more to reduce stress hormones and chemicals in our body than any other activity.
Learn deep relaxation skills
Take a class in yoga, imagery training, progressive relaxation, or autogenics. Practice your relaxation skills every day.
Listen to relaxation tapes
Audiotapes are an excellent way to learn how to let go and relax. Develop the skill of deep relaxation that will cleanse your body of damaging stress hormones and chemicals.
Listen to relaxing music
Any type of music you find enjoyable can help you to let go and relax. New Age music and some classical music are particularly helpful for reducing stress.