What is Relaxation?

Relaxation is defined as the state of being free from tension, anxiety, and stress.  Simply stated, it is something that you do in order to stop feeling nervous and worried.  It is a way to rest and enjoy yourself through calm, tranquility, and peacefulness.

How to Relax

Take a bath, take a nap, read a book, walk in nature, drink herbal teas, call a friend or family member, cook, dance, walk on the beach, take long deep slow breaths, or just allow yourself to be still (even if only for 15 minutes). Relaxation is different for everyone, so find what works for you and incorporate them into your day.

Benefits of Adequate Levels

of Relaxation

Learning how to relax, as a way to reduce stress and anxiety and to promote good sleep, is a key life skill. Relaxation techniques are often overlooked in today’s busy, demanding and hectic society.  By learning, applying and finding the time to practice some simple relaxation techniques you can reduce stress symptoms, and enjoy a better quality of life.

Practicing relaxation techniques can reduce stress symptoms by:  slowing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, slowing your breathing rate, reducing activity of stress hormones, increasing blood flow to major muscles, reducing muscle tension and chronic pain, improving concentration and mood, lowering fatigue, reducing anger and frustration, boosting confidence to handle problems.

To get the most benefit, use relaxation techniques along with other positive coping methods, such as thinking positively, finding humor, problem-solving, managing time, exercising, getting enough sleep, and reaching out to supportive family and friends.

The Negative Effects of Too

Little Rest and Relaxation

People often feel like they don’t have the time to relax.  As their stress levels increase, productivity drops and eventually health can deteriorate.  Stress symptoms can affect your body, thoughts, feelings, and behavior.  If you can recognize some common stress symptoms you can get a head start on managing them.  Unchecked, stress can lead to many health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Common effects of stress on your body can include:  headache, tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, change in sex drive, stomach upset, sleep problems.  Common effects on your mood:  anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, irritability or anger, sadness or depression.  Common effects on your behavior:  overeating or undereating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use, social withdrawal, exercising less often.

However new research is out showing that how you think about stress is more important than the stress itself.  If you perceive stress positively (as your body’s natural response to help you) versus viewing it negatively, it actually can be helpful.  Here’s a great TedTalk on this topic.

Recommended Amount of Sleep

Though research cannot pinpoint an exact amount of sleep needed by people at different ages, the National Sleep Foundation’s new chart, which features minimum and maximum ranges for health as well as “recommended” windows, identifies the “rule-of-thumb” amounts experts agree upon through years of study:

Newborns (0-3 months ): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)

Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)

Toddlers (1-2 years):  Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)

Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)

School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)

Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)

Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)

Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours

Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)

***Works Cited Include:  Mayo Clinic.org, National Sleep Foundation, Skillsyouneed.com,

Information and Links

Dummy (all closed)
Sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

National Institutes of Health

American Psychological Association

Stress Management

Stress management refers to the wide spectrum of techniques and psychotherapies aimed at controlling a person’s levels of stress, especially chronic stress, usually for the purpose of improving everyday functioning.

Stress Management – American Heart Association

Tips to Reduce Stress and Sleep Better

Relaxation, Stress and Sleep

Stress Management – Mayo Clinic

 

How to Make Stress Your Friend

Massage

The application of soft-tissue manipulation techniques to the body, generally intended to reduce stress and fatigue while improving circulation. The many variations of massage account for several different techniques.

Learn More

Massage Therapists in the Area
San Brown – sanbrown@massagetherapy.com  or 989-305-2803
Dusty Chamberlin – dustychamberlin2015@gmail.com or 989-305-7854

Mindful Meditation

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Getting Started

Vipassana Meditation

Meditation Leaders in the Area:
Martha Gottlieb – Martha@spriggles.com or 616-808-9023

Restorative Yoga

Restorative Yoga allows you to completely relax and rest.  It is the blending of your breath and body, aligning the physical and mental by practicing stillness or gentle movement for extended periods of time. Usually held for 5 minutes or more, restorative yoga poses include light twists, seated forward folds and gentle back bends.

 

Yoga Practitioners in the area

Lauren Dietrich – laurdietrich@gmail.com or 586-242-7584

Martha Gottlieb – Martha@spriggles.com or 616-808-9023

Jeff Gottlieb – jeff@spriggles.com or 616-808-9508

Reiki

Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key) is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. Depletion or blocking of our energy due to stress or trauma can lead to physical and emotional imbalance and disease. Reiki helps the body and mind re-establish a state of balance by unblocking the energy pathways. Reiki promotes deep relaxation, reduces pain, alleviates feelings of anxiety and depression, enhances quality of life and overall well-being and supports the body’s own self-healing efforts.

Learn More

Reiki Practitioners in the Area:

Martha Gottlieb – martha@spriggles.com or 616-808-9023
Jeff Gottlieb – jeff@spriggles.com or 616-808-9508
San Brown – sanbrown@massagetherapy.com or 989-305-2803

Reflexology

Reflexology works with the reflexes in your hands and feet to increase circulation, nerve and blood supply. By massaging the hands and feet, reflexology releases uric acid crystals that can block nerve endings. These crystals feel like grains of sand underneath the skin. Massaging these congested areas unblocks the nerve endings while stimulating circulation and energy flow. There are over 7,000 nerve endings in each foot, which connect to different areas of the body. By applying direct pressure on a specific area of the foot the corresponding area of the body is stimulated.

Everyone can benefit from reflexology. Reflexology relieves tension and stress. The increased circulation and energy flow helps the body regain balance and normalcy. Reflexology helps the body achieve a state of equilibrium. This holistic practice can help alleviate pain and promote healing.

Branch Reflexology Institute

Reflexologists in the area:
Martha Gottlieb – martha@spriggles.com or 616-808-9023
Jeff Gottlieb – jeff@spriggles.com or 616-808-9508

Tai Chi

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that has evolved over centuries to become a means of alleviating stress and anxiety, a form of “meditation in motion.” Advocates claim that it promotes serenity and inner peace. The phrase “t’ai chi ch’uan” translates to “supreme ultimate fist” or “boundless fist.”

Learn More

Tapping

Emotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT (often known as Tapping or EFT Tapping), is a universal healing tool that can provide impressive results for physical, emotional, and performance issues. EFT operates on the premise that no matter what part of your life needs improvement, there are unresolved emotional issues in the way. Even for physical issues, chronic pain, or diagnosed conditions, it is common knowledge that any kind of emotional stress can impede the natural healing potential of the human body.

Learn More

Events

Check back often for updates!

  • April – Stress Awareness Month
  • June 21 – International Day of Yoga
  • August 15th – National Relaxation Day

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HealthQuest Lead Ambassador – “Relaxation”

Martha Gottlieb – Martha@healthquest4you.com