Rx to Relax

When you get angry, upset, anxious, tense, frustrated, or worried, adrenaline goes into your blood stream. It makes your heart beat faster, putting strain on your cardiovascular system. These strains add up, and later in life, things can go wrong because of it. Every time you are able to lessen the intensity of one of these feelings, it will benefit your health. It also makes life a more pleasant experience.

There’s a very simple way to lower your adrenaline level: Relax. Here’s how to relax on the spot:

Breathe deeply. When you tense up, your breathing gets quicker, more shallow, and higher in the chest. You’ll feel better right away, and your heart will slow down, if you’ll just make your breathing more relaxed. Deeper. Slower. Sigh in a relaxed way.

Loosen tensed muscles. Just about any time, but especially when you’ve got the adrenaline pumping, muscles tend to tighten, particularly muscles around your neck, upper back, and face. Pay attention to your muscles in those areas and when you find one that’s contracting for no good reason, relax it. If at first you have trouble relaxing a muscle, tense it first, then relax it.

Say the word “relax” to yourself. Make sure your inner voice is relaxing. Don’t yell at yourself, “Relax!!” Say it soothingly.

These three tasks are easy to do, can be done in the midst of your work, and will slow your heart down to a healthier level. When you become more relaxed, you think better, you’re more creative, and you can use more of what you know — including what you know about human relations, so you’ll get along with people better. Your life will be smoother and better. This is one of those little habits many people have formed that serves them well throughout their lives. I hope you use it too.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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