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5 Simple and Easy Relaxation Tips

5 Simple and Easy Relaxation Tips

Everyone experiences times throughout the day where you just wish you could relax for even a few minutes.  Sometimes I feel that I could really spend the day relaxing. We already know that relaxation helps your body re-energize, but sometimes you’re so busy and caught up in the moment that you just don’t have the time to unwind.  Well, fortunately there are simple ways to relax, even during your busiest days, that don’t require a lot of time or equipment.

So often, we think that we can’t afford to take an hour or two out of our busy day, we feel as if we would get further behind.  But relaxation doesn’t need to take that long, 5-10 minutes can be enough to get us going again and help us make it to the end of the day.

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 5 Simple Relaxation Tips:

 Lined up: Instead of stressing out because there aren’t enough cashiers and every line has 5 people with heaping carts of groceries, or when traffic is so bad that it is taking you 30 minutes to move 1 mile, use that time to relax your body by taking some deep breaths.

  • Deep breathing helps increase the oxygen in your blood. Your blood then circulates that extra oxygen throughout your body, helping your inner systems recharge.
  • Taking five slow deep breaths will do the trick. The proper technique is to inhale and exhale deeply through your nose and out your mouth.  I like to use a 5 count, count to 5 as you breath in, hold count to 5 and then breath out count to 5.
  • Not only will deep breathing help you relax, it’ll help to clear your mind, reduce brain fog, and you’ll feel much more alert and ready to tackle the next project on your plate.
  • Deep breathing can be done anywhere when you’re feeling stressed or just want to clear your mind.

Workplace Relaxing: It’s often hard to find time to relax at work. You might even get in trouble if you’re caught “relaxing.” Oh the horror! However, there are some techniques you can do while you’re at work to help create a sense of calm that aren’t so obvious to others.

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  • If your job requires you to sit at a computer all day, make sure you get up and move around for a few minutes every hour. This helps circulate the blood throughout your body. Just moving the blood flow will make you feel more alert and focused.  Take the stairs up to the next floor to use the washroom, a break and get your bold pumping at the same time.
  • While sitting at your desk, roll your head around, from side to side and from front to back with your eyes closed. This technique helps to relieve neck tension, increasing blood flow to your brain, which is a natural and easy way to relax. My chiropractor has recommended specific neck stretches for me, check with your doctor for some techniques specific to you.
  • During a break or lunchtime, go for a walk. Walking is a great way to clear your mind and your body will benefit from the extra exercise as well. If you take a look around your city, you might even be able to find a yoga class during the lunch period, this would be a great way to come back to work ready and productive.

Feeling the Rush: Take just a few moments to daydream and escape the busyness of reality.

  • Daydreaming lets your imagination flow, causing instant relief from the stress of the real world.
  • Think of a place or experience that makes you feel happy or calm. Imagine how it smells, how the air feels, and who’s around.  A past vacation or a future vacation a great way to vision your next year.
  • After five minutes of a calming daydream you’ll feel relaxed, reenergized and ready to face the real world again.

Smile: Smiling is proven to help relax and rejuvenate your body.

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  • When you’re out and about, smile at others around you. Have you noticed when you are walking down the street or at the mall, when you smile at someone passing you by…. you can see their whole face lights up with a big smile as well.  So you are creating a great experience for you as well as for others.
  • When you’re at work, smile at your co-workers. Not only will it help you relax, it’ll help relax them as well.  

Laugh it up: Laughter’s proven to be an instant stress reliever. Now I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to be seen as a nut case, so laughing out loud when you’re in line at the store or sitting at your desk may not be the best time. When you can, get someone involved in your laughter with you.

  • Tell a funny joke or story to a co-worker (at an appropriate time, of course).
  • Play a fun game or sing a silly song with your kids as you’re driving.
  • Watch funny videos on YouTube or TV.  I love watching cartoons… with or without my kids!  And my kids are hysterical, you just let them tell you a story and you will be rolling on the floor laughing.

Engaging in these simple, everyday relaxation techniques will help to sustain and strengthen you throughout your day. Most of these ideas really only take 5-10 minutes are most to make a huge impact.  Just think about what would happen if you spent 30-60 minutes, you would be changing your world for you and the people around you. Your friends, co-workers, and family will all appreciate the new, relaxed you!

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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