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3 doors to instant relaxation

3 doors to instant relaxation
three-doors.jpg

    Your mind is racing, your heart is like a time bomb. You can’t think straight and you feel like you will explode if you don’t relax.

    Then you remember the standard advice: “Take all of your senses to a grassy meadow. Smell the flowers, listen to the insects, feel the grass, watch the birds flying above you.”

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    What a load of rubbish.

    When I am really under pressure, this sort of method just doesn’t work. How am I supposed to pull together all of my senses to create an image like this. I can’t think straight as it is. I need a quick solution. Something that is reliable, practical and versatile.

    I have found that there are 3 quick and reliable doors to relaxation. Try these any time you are stressed to the max and need to relax.

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    Door 1 is your eyes. Plug your ears (if you have ear plugs, good, if not use fingers). Let your eyes, lazily, slowly drift across any surface near you. Don’t read or identify what you are looking at. Instead, try to just look at the colours and shapes. Is it constant or is there change happening. Can you see definite lines and transitions or are shades blended and fuzzy. If you use only your eyes in this way for a minute or two, you can effectively stop the escalation of stress. You will quickly return to a more normal state of mind and then you can deal with whatever is stressing you.

    Door 2 is your ears. Close your eyes. Just listen. Don’t listen for words or recognisable sounds, just listen to the noises around you. Think about what direction they are coming from, and listen to the sounds they are made up of. By isolating your sense of hearing you will cut yourself off from the stream of stress and break the cycle of stress reinforcement. Give it a minute or two and you will be back to a more stable state. Then you can go to work.

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    Door 3 is your mouth. Close your eyes. Take a small mouthful of food or drink and try to really taste it. Notice the flavours. How many are there? Notice the textures and temperature. What part of your tongue is picking up these sensations. What is it like to chew the food? If you have no food available, just lick your lip and try and taste the subtle flavour of you. Concentrate entirely on your taste sensation and quickly you will be calmed and soothed enough to return to reality with enough peace of mind to be more productive in dealing with your situation.

    Think of these exercises as miniature holidays. Sneak away for a minute or 2 with just one of your senses and you will come back a different person. The stressful situation will still be there when you return but you will be in a much better state of mind to deal with it.

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    Practice it right now, and then when you really need it, you will be ready to use one of your 3 doors to relaxation.

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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