MindSpa for Stress Reduction
Stress is perhaps the most prevalent health issue facing the modern world. Many well respected studies link stress to a variety of physical ailments and psychological issues. You can learn how to use a series of techniques for reducing stress in your life and improving your overall quality of life.
When stressed, we tend to create mental loops. This is most noticeable especially in the quiet of the night, when we maintain an inner dialog, going over and over problems generally related to money, work, health, or relationships. We are all familiar with this. It leaves us feeling exhausted, anxious and agitated making quality sleep difficult to attain. It also affects our decision making abilities.
Normal beta brainwave activity is associated with regular, active thinking processes while awake. These mental loops will cause our mind to remain in the high beta activity state. During the night we go through approximately a 90 minute sleep cycle. It is during the lighter sleep phase when beta activity can “spike” or suddenly rise, causing us to wake up out of a sound sleep.
So instead of dreaming, we are so anxious it knocks us right out of the sleep cycle. This increases our anxiety and stress. It becomes a damaging, repetitive cycle of negativity. When this condition becomes chronic, it can lead to many health issues.
When stress causes our mind to move into a combination of fast, high intensity beta brainwaves, the creative, problem-solving side of our brain is largely inactive. We are not so much solving problems as just thinking about them and getting more agitated. MindSpa’s relaxation programs help to disrupt these mental loops by generating natural alpha state relaxation rhythms. Alpha is the restorative state allowing the mind and body to relax.
The added benefit is that the alpha state allows us to activate the problem-solving part of our brain. Often, it is not the stress-causing issue that is the problem, but how we deal with the issue that is at the core of the problem. In other words, when you are relaxed, you will tend to see problems in a new, more productive light.
With regular use, the mind will naturally attune to these alpha waves quieting and slowing down our internal dialog. When we are relaxed, we can fall asleep and stay asleep more easily. Sleep quality will improve ultimately resulting in a better outlook and better quality of life.
Stress Relieving Exercises with MindSpa
Along with using MindSpa, there are several simple exercises you can do to help alleviate stress by utilizing very simple body awareness techniques. These techniques will help clear your mind and allow you to maintain emotional and physical equilibrium.
These techniques may be practiced with or without MindSpa; however, they are far more effective when using MindSpa, which helps shift your mind toward these beneficial alpha brainwave frequencies.
No special training is required. You can try some of them right now as you read along. As you do this, become aware that you will be generating alpha waves and notice how that makes you feel. Developing greater body awareness, especially in stressful situation, is a tremendous tool for you to use.
When stressed our breathing tends to be shallow and high in the upper area of our lungs. To experience this first-hand, pay attention the next time you are in a common stressful situation such as stuck in traffic, late for an appointment, arguing with a family member, or preparing for a challenging meeting.
As you begin a MindSpa session, or next time you are in a stressful situation become aware of your breathing patterns. Now breathe deeply and completely so you feel the motion through the lower part of your lungs into your diaphragm.
To practice this method, place your hand on your stomach. It should move up and down while you chest remains relatively still. Breathe in slowly and deeply, then hold for a count of three, and breathe out slowly and completely, after a few moments begin the deep breathing process again. With a little time and practice your rhythmic breathing will become automatic and you will even find yourself using this method while going about your daily routine.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Start with the forehead and take deep, complete breaths. Let the muscles relax. Then go to the eyes, cheeks, back of the jaw, allowing your lips to part slightly. Let your tongue fall and allow it to flatten out. Move to your chin, then the back of your neck. Feel all the muscles back there. Feel your internal organs just begin to relax. Now work on the base of your neck, then your shoulders, arms, hands, fingers…
Keep releasing each zone of your body; find the tension spots and just let it easily leave you. Use in conjunction with diaphragmic breathing. This exercise should take you at least 20 – 30 minutes or more. It is a great body awareness exercise and can also help you locate particularly tight spots. It helps you become more aware of your body and what it is feeling. While you are doing this, notice what thoughts arise. Acknowledge them and let them go along with your tension, like clouds passing on a lazy summer sky.
Tensing and Releasing
The practice of tensing and releasing is another very effective method for releasing physical tension. While doing a session for relaxation and rejuvenation, center your attention on individual parts of your body. You can start from the top of your head and work down. As you progress through each area of your body, physically tighten your muscles. Hold this position for a few seconds, then let go and move on to the next area. Remember to continue to breathe as you conduct this exercise.
Start with your head and neck. First take a slow, deep breath and tense up, but not to the point of pain. Hold for a few seconds. You may continue to breathe while maintaining tension. When you feel ready, exhale deeply as you release tension and be conscious of how you feel.
As you move to the next area of your body, take a deep breath. Move down to your shoulders, arms and hands, then the chest area and middle back region, down into the abdomen and lower back, then to the buttocks, the upper legs, lower legs and finally the feet and toes. You can take as much time as you want to complete this exercise. However, when time is a factor, this exercise can be effectively completed in as little as ten to fifteen minutes. It can be highly effective to help you let go of body tension and move into a performance state, or towards restful sleep when done before bedtime.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for stress and better health. Even something as simple as a ten minute brisk walk is another effective stress relieving technique. While moderate to strenuous exercise is preferable, even short breaks are beneficial.
More details for reducing stress can be found in our Five Elements Program and on many other parts of our website. With an understanding of how MindSpa works, and how you can lower stress in your life, you can easily live a better, happier and more productive life.