In addition to resolving conflict with your mate, getting close to your children, and nurturing special supportive relationships, it is also essential that you develop some techniques to help you relax on your own. Here are some helpful ways.
- Escape into music: Choose a selection of music that is special to you for whatever reason, and listen to it for about 15 to 30 minutes, in a place where you will be free from disturbances.
- Escape into fantasy: Take the same 15 to 30 minutes of undistracted isolation, get comfortable and close your eyes. Let your mind wander into your most delectable fantasy
and enjoy your own private adventure. Just set up a scenario and then let your imagination take off on its own.
- Escape into TV: Space out with your TV remote. If you are over-stressed and cannot relax, then sit in front of the TV and flick through the channels until you find a programme that is on your level of intensity and let yourself escape into it.
- Escape into self-indulgence: Schedule a day or half in which you do exactly what you want to do (without breaking the law or hurting anyone, of course). Go for an afternoon movie. Sit on the bench in a park and watch the birds. Treat yourself to a fine meal at an elegant restaurant. No one to please but yourself - - at least for now.
- Escape into whining: Write a letter to an old friend or relative, pouring out your heart and life's stressful situation. Then decide to mail it or not — at least you got it off your chest.
- Escape into worry: If you are stressed by compulsive worrying, set aside a half hour the same time each day to focus on your worries. If you are inclined to worry at any other time, just relegate your worries to your designated 'worry time', and get back to focusing on what you are doing.
||SLEEP WELL TO AGE WELL
Although most of us need about 6 to 8 hours of sleep, there are a number of very high-energy people and seniors for whom just four hours of sleep is sufficient. Scientists believe that a natural 24-hour cycle lets our body 'know' when to go to sleep. But to keep away from being stressed out, we compulsively need our night sleep. So if you have trouble falling asleep, here are some tips on sleeping well.
- Keep a regular time for going to bed: Our bodies are really creatures of habit. If you go to bed at different times, your body may ask: "What the heck is going on up there? Will you make up your mind so that you can get some regular sleep?" When you go to sleep at a regular time, not only will you fall asleep more readily, but the sleep you get will be more restful.
- Set up a routine as you prepare for bed: A bedtime ritual is very helpful to prepare both the body and the mind for giving up the day's activities. Look at it as a form of seduction, inviting both body and mind away from external stimulation to solitude. That is what prayers do for children and adults. Children may want stories read to them, adults will read stories themselves. Others do different things, like watching TV or reading a magazine for a while before turning off the light. Create your own routine and stick to it.
- Do some form of exercise each day: If you follow an exercise regimen (running or swimming) every other day, then at least do some stretching on alternate days. But do not exercise before going to bed. That will stimulate your body. If you must do something physical before going to bed, you can either have sex or, take a nice leisurely stroll.
- Avoid caffeine after 4 p.m.: Different individuals have different sensitivities to caffeine. If you are having trouble in sleeping, become aware of your caffeine intake. Caffeine sometimes comes in surprising forms — not only tea and coffee but also chocolate, soft drinks, and cocoa. Instead, drink a glass of milk, which contains the relaxing arnino acid tryptophan.
- Do not depend on alcohol or pills: Alcohol may put you to sleep, only to cause you to wake a few hours later, unable to fall back to sleep. Sleeping pills will work at first, but once you become dependent on the pills even though they start losing their effectiveness. You cannot fall asleep with them and it is more difficult to sleep without them.
- // you cannot fall asleep, keep your eyes shut: Sometimes you become so energized that you just cannot fall asleep. Keep your eyes closed, even though your mind does not shut off. Rest your body, despite the awakened mind. Your body and mind will feel more relaxed the next day, and you will probably get more actual sleep that way. You may not have control over your mind, but you certainly have at least that much control over your body.
- Meditate twice daily: Sometimes you are just too tired to fall asleep. You are dead tired but your mind does not let go. The solution here is to try the discipline of meditation. This discipline is not a cure-all for everything, as some claim, but it is a lot better than whatever comes second. Meditation allows you a couple of rest periods during the day so that you will not be dog tired at the end of the day. Studies have shown that insomniacs can reduce the time needed to fall asleep from 75 minutes ordinarily to about 15 minutes after having practiced meditation for 30 days.
||STOP WORRYING AND START THINKING
(1) Discipline yourself to worry at specified times.
(2) Attack your worries logically. Problem solving involves:
- Identifying the problem clearly.
- Brainstorming all the possible options.
- Evaluating the best options.
- Aiming at the optimal outcome.
The best problem solvers seem to find opportunities in the most crucial circumstances.
(3) Take a proactive approach.
(4) Visualise success.
||REDUCING STRESS AT HOME
'I'lie closest and most logical place to begin nurturing life and enhancing relationships is the home, with your family. If you are the head of the family, the responsibility is yours to nurture open lines of communication with your children. Set aside at least one opportunity for open discussion where you can catch up on their lives, so that they can get a sense of your place in their lives. The best, and most logical time would be the evening meal. Not only is it essential for you to be on good understanding terms with them; it is important as well.
(1) How to get respect from your children: Another opportunity to strengthen the nurturing quality of family relationship is to have a family meeting to get consensus on all decisions affecting the family as a whole, whether it is getting a new pet or considering a move to another part of the town.
Letting the children in on the process of decision-making makes them feel important and makes it more likely they will respect you as parents.
(2) How to achieve family closeness: Another way of enhancing family closeness is to develop some strong family rituals to help family members bond with one another. Do not overlook opportunities for family sharing such as holidays and birthdays. Beyond these rituals, develop some that are unique to your family, such as attending football games if your child is on the team or in the band.