Most people are so busy in today’s society they simply don’t have the time to relax properly, and often don’t know how to go about doing it. We all know relaxation is essential for our health and wellbeing. The constant stresses of daily living affect the body physically, emotionally and behaviourally. These can be manifest in a variety of ways and can lead to all kinds of problems such as depression, headaches, under or overeating, insomnia, and extreme emotions such as anger or frustration. The good news, however, is that you can undo stress, since it is primarily a self-generated pressure based on feelings and perceptions.
Relaxation counters the effects of stress by allowing the immune system to recover and function more effectively. This includes restoring organs and glands, reducing muscle tension and encouraging deeper, more rhythmic breathing. It helps lower blood pressure and so decreases the likelihood of stroke and heart attack.
In addition, it provides an emotional break from stressors and lowers the activity in the limbic system (or emotional centre) of the brain. Relaxation is accompanied by a pleasurable good feeling. It renews depleted energy supplies and restores normal functioning levels in general. Each time you relax, right-hemispheric brain activity is increased which results in a clearer, calmer state of mind.
Children, in particular, are in desperate need of learning to relax. They are over stimulated, over scheduled, and are not provided with the tools, or allowed the time, to be quiet and become acquainted with themselves. Here is a list of the top 10 kids stressors.
Teachers are in a unique position to teach relaxation techniques and immediately apply them to their students’ advantage. Incorporating relaxation techniques is easily done in five to ten minute segments and can greatly benefit all within the classroom. Ideally, relaxation is conducted daily at a routine time, but any efforts in this direction will produce results.
Simple relaxation techniques will contribute to improved verbal and spatial memory, reduce anxiety, enhance creativity, increase clarity, aid in self awareness, encourage positive coping strategies, clear the mind for full concentration at a given task, and decrease impulsiveness and aggression. This definitely describes a heathy life where all are emotionally, physically, and mentally prepared to enjoy each day for the gift that it is.