Three Reasons to Take Your Relaxation Seriously
In today’s technology-driven, digital age the lines between work, home life, and leisure have become increasingly blurred. For good or bad, smartphones and mobile devices have given us the ability to be always “on” and accessible. We are living life in the fast lane and, when the moment arrives to finally take a break, we struggle to slow down and unwind. Yet, here are three reasons why it is really important for you to take your relaxation seriously:
1. To keep your body healthy
The negative effects of chronic stress on the body are well-documented. Under stress, your muscles tense up. Tight muscles cause headaches, body aches, back and shoulder pain and can lead to injuries. One of the benefits of relaxation is giving your muscles the chance to relax, averting the need for pain medication, and minimizing the chance of injury.
Sustained high stress levels can raise the risk of hypertension, and of experiencing a stroke or heart attack. Stress can also upset the digestive system, lead to stomach ulcers and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Over time, stress can compromise the immune system and make you more vulnerable to flu and viruses. It’s particularly important to deal with stress at work. Exercise and relaxation techniques and strategies are a way to counter these negative effects and give the body’s regulatory systems time to rebalance. They help you to keep your body healthy.
2. To maintain a healthy mind
Stress can impair the centers of the brain involved with memory and learning, abstract thinking, and cognitive analysis. When stressed you are less likely to make good decisions or respond to situations appropriately. A number of studies have also linked stress and Alzheimer’s, suggesting that stress possibly accelerates the development of the disease.
Other studies have found that chronic stress can kill brain cells, and even prevent the creation of new ones, most specifically in the part of the brain that helps us respond to stress in a healthy way. This can create a vicious cycle that leads to depression. The prolonged presence of the stress hormone cortisol is known to reduce levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are connected to depression.
On the other hand, relaxation helps gives the always active mind a break by encouraging you to be more fully focused on the moment and not your to-do list. Relaxation helps you to gain greater mental clarity and feel your best emotionally. Relaxation supports a healthy mind and a greater sense of well-being.
3. To improve your relationships and live a richer, longer life
When we are over-stressed we are rarely in a good mood. Too often, a stressful day at work is taken out on those closest to us at home, damaging relationships with those we care about. Dr. Randi Gunter in Psychology Today explains how stress results in sensory overload that can diminish our ability to experience touch smell, taste, sight, hearing, and intuition; the senses that allow us to connect intimately.
Relaxation has the opposite effect. When we slow down we are better able to enjoy the moment and truly experience the environment and those around us. Relaxation underpins feelings of joy and happiness and can help you live an emotionally richer life. The funeral scene in the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral begins with the following opening lines from the poem Leisure by Welsh poet W.H. Davis:
‘What is this life if, full of care,
We have not time to stand and stare’
That’s a great question. Stress can kill or reduce the number of years in your life, while relaxation helps you to live a longer, richer life by allowing you to see and appreciate the little things and the beauty all around. As the poem puts it; ‘to see in woods we pass, where squirrels hide their nuts in grass’.
There are many tools and techniques that can be used to aid relaxation including, hypnosis, massage, meditation, tai chi, yoga, and music or art therapy. These can take time to learn and master. They often involve leaving the house to join a class or find a practitioner or therapist.
On the other hand, a drink of Kava can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home anytime you feel the need to unplug, unwind and free your mind from the worries of a workday or busy life. Many people have already discovered the benefits of using kava for stress relief on a regular basis.
We urge you then to take your relaxation seriously, and we suggest you make Kalm with Kava a part of your relaxation routine.