August 15 is National Relaxation Day

Sometimes the most productive thing to do is take a break

Is relaxation at the bottom of your to-do list? It is for many people, but it shouldn’t be.

Research shows that relaxation keeps your heart healthier, cuts stress, reduces muscle tension, improves brain function and memory, and helps you avoid depression, anxiety, and obesity. It boosts your immune system and helps alleviate the symptoms of many medical and psychological disorders. Relaxing is important!

National Relaxation Day is the perfect time to jump off the daily treadmill and chill out. Relaxing for just a few minutes can often give us the energy we need to recharge.

Finding time to recover and relax is good for your health

Staying in a constant state of stress is damaging to our physical and mental health.  Taking short breaks periodically increases the flow of blood around our body and gives us more energy. It helps us to have a calmer and clearer mind which aids positive thinking, concentration, memory, and decision making.

Relaxation slows our heart rate, reduces our blood pressure, and relieves tension. It also aids digestion as we absorb essential nutrients more efficiently when relaxed, which helps to fight off disease and infection.

Simple ways to relax you that you can do almost anywhere:

  • Deep breathing Take slow, deep breaths through the nose, and exhale gradually through the mouth to let the whole body relax a little more with each breath.
  • Progressive (deep) muscle relaxation Progressive (deep) muscle relaxation involves first tensing and then releasing groups of muscles throughout the body. Start with your facial muscles then move on to other muscle groups—neck, shoulders, arms, chest, stomach, legs, and feet—for full-body relaxation.
  • Meditation Meditation involves resting in a comfortable position without distraction and focusing your attention on only one thing. This can be a word or phrase, your breathing, a sound, or an image. Re-focus your attention each time you become distracted.
  • Visualization Visualization means using your imagination to create a visual image of a relaxing, soothing, or healing place. Imagine every part of this image—sight, sound, taste, motion, and texture—to make it as real as possible.

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