Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Each of us is wired differently, but one aspect we all have in common: Certain activities relieve stress. When life overflows with tension, we need to make a conscious decision to partake in stress-relieving. But often, instead of pursuing some action that will minimize the affects of stress, we become so bound up in the situation, that we stop doing what helps us.
For me, the list of stress-buster activities is pretty short:
- Exercise. My dog, an Australian Shepherd, lives for stimulation. Give him a job, or he’ll find his own work–usually gnawing on a baseboard or tearing up a rug, or de-stuffing a toy. Given his disposition, I’m pretty much required to walk him. Oh, the miles we’ve covered together. Being out in nature gives me time to take a deep breath, pause from concentrating on whatever is producing stress for me, and a chance to take pleasure in the change of seasons and small things like spotting a heron fishing in a lake.
- Reading. Studies show that individuals relax 10 to 15 minutes after starting to read a book, magazine article, or the newspaper. As a matter of fact, the relaxing effect kicks in sooner when reading than in pursuing almost any other activity. I read in bed because it causes my mind to shift from the day’s events to the book’s events. And then I slip much more readily into sleep.
- Laughing. Laughter often is the best medicine. First, it helps us to realize that humor can be found in almost any situation. Second, it makes us stop frowning! Funny how something so small can reset our mental and emotional barometers.
- Water. I find water inherently relaxing. Apparently I’m not alone in this. Just think about a water fountain’s tinkle, and most of us feel more tranquil. When I slip into a swimming pool, stress slips away. I have a spa in my backyard that signals “relax” as soon as I feel the toasty water surround me. Because our yard backs on a state park, I survey the soft hills of the park or pick constellations out in the sky, or just listen to the crickets chatter with each other.
I’m feeling relaxed just writing about relaxation!
What relaxes you?