As a young girl one of the best ways to relax for me was to ride full speed on a big, beautiful horse named LuJack, with the hot wind of the Arizona desert blowing my hair back, as my eyes drank in the beauty of the red buttes and the dry sandy washes.
I could feel the stresses and tensions melt away as I became one with the surrounding landscape. I also loved climbing to the top of rocky mesas and sitting cross-legged just watching dirt devils twist playfully across the red-washed terrain.
Yes, that was a glorious time. As time went on I moved away from Arizona and from my friend who owned LuJack. I needed to create a new way to relax.
When I had my first baby I enrolled in a Lamaze class to learn the best ways to relax while having a baby. The class focused mainly on breathing and concentration. Picking a focal point and staring at it was easy to do as I visualized the big powerful horse and the red buttes of my youth.
Later, as I had several little children I found that the things I did, quickly got undone. Adding to the pressure was the fact that my husband had a job that took him away from home for a week at a time. I needed to find some of the best ways to relax with my children.
When milk was spilled on my clean waxed floor, I learned to ask myself, "What does this have to do with the rest of eternity?" I then had to admit to myself that I would forget all about it in a few hours - and my violent reaction would serve only to drive a wedge between my child and myself.
Instead, I taught myself to get the camera and take a picture of that sorrowful little face in front of the puddle of milk. Years later it became priceless.
These experiences in finding the best ways to relax from my early life have influenced the way I have felt and reacted to the many varied situations that have crossed through the journey of my life. They have influenced the ways that I deal with stress and depression.
What Is One of YOUR Best Ways to Relax?
Think of the last time that you were totally relaxed and felt peaceful with the world. Where were you? What were you doing?
A few years ago my husband and I visited one of our sons in Maui, Hawaii. He had arranged for us to stay in the most beautiful and romantic cottage on the beach.
We were greeted with beautiful, exotic flower arrangements and baskets of the most exquisite fruits. He also left us some ginger-lemon herbal tea for extra relaxation.
We were gifted with our own private space, but also with direction and purpose all day long as we were escorted from attraction to attraction.
We enjoyed waterfalls that only the locals know about, ate at little corner cafes with the most delicious food, had picnics on the mountain side, and were nearly always 100% stress free.
After a few days I began to notice that my husband was smiling more, and laughing alot. The stress from the work grind had really been weighing down on him. By the time the vacation was over he was back to his normal self.
(I'm sure he was thinking the same thing about me.)
Well, obviously, we can't spend every day riding a steed across the desert, or basking in the lap of luxury on a Hawaiian beach, so what can we do? What are the normal, everyday, best ways to relax?
I've polled a lot of people, and here are some of the results of what they think are the best ways to relax, in no particular order.
The warm water is a great way to unwind while helping your body detox. It dilates your blood vessels, aids blood circulation, and draws contaminants out through your pores. The aroma of herbs or oils stimulate your well-being and it just plain feels good.
As we climbed I began to be aware of the beautiful waterfalls that cascaded past me over and over again as I navigated the sometimes precarious switchback trail. Soon I stopped. I drank in the beauty of the scene in front of me as I allowed the fingers of healing to massage my troubled mind. I felt an amazing peace.
Watching something grow from seemingly nothing, and becoming a large and beautiful plant, perhaps giving of its bounty for your enjoyment. Gardening clears our minds and helps us stay "grounded."
It has been fun learning the birds in our area and discovering that bird watching is another one of the best ways to relax. The distraction works marvelously to relieve stress.
The energy that we use to perform our everyday tasks, such as eating and digesting, talking, walking or exercising, can then be used for repairing damaged tissues and cells, recharging our immune system and giving our overworked minds a chance to relax and reboot.
In my own experience, however, I have found that if I look for something good that happened that day, or try to write something uplifting, even if it is after I have put down my stressful issues, it helps me relax more and walk away with a more optimistic attitude.
Okay. These are some of the best ways to relax, but there are many more. MANY more. I wanted to add Laughter as a way to relax, but then there would have been 22. I need to stop. But remember, the best ways to relax for one person may not be the best ways for another person.
In the 5th Century BC, Herodotus already understood all this. He said:
"If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it." Herodotus (484 BC - 430 BC), The Histories of Herodotus
"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." Ovid (43 BC - 17 AD)
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