|Issue: # 1||June/2007|
Welcome to Relax and Unwind, a monthly newsletter devoted to finding a healthier way to live. In this issue, we explore what it means to "live in the moment" and why it is vital to maintaining a healthy mind and body.
Too often, we stress about things we can't control. We worry about the past or future - what we did or didn't do, or what we should have done but were afraid to try. We forget about the here and now.
But living in the present moment is truly living life. So how do we relax and focus on the present? And how do we keep it going when we get there? You'll have to read on to find out.
Feel Good, Stay Healthy and Be Happy...
Matt Gleicher, CMT
|Reduce Stress with MBSR Meditation|
"Our bodies need to recharge," she says. "A 20-minute meditation will give you energy for hours afterward. But even three minutes will bring benefits to the body and the mind."
Meditation is a simple practice designed to help us improve our awareness of our ourselves and our surroundings. It starts with sitting in a comfortable position and focusing attention on our breaths. As the mind starts to wander, bring it back gently and patiently. By bringing our minds back to the breath, over and over, no matter how often our attention wanders, our ability to focus and concentrate is enhanced.
The goal, Dr. Dina says, is to become more present in our lives. "People don't realize how much our minds are all over the place," she says. "And the body is intimately connected with the mind. When the mind starts creating negative scenarios, the body feels the tension."
The meditation practice makes us aware of our thoughts, which helps loosen the tensions and relieve the stress, Dr. Dina explains. "We can examine our thoughts nonjudgmentally, without the added self-criticism, which is often the source of our tension," she said. "It's like trying to fall asleep. The more we try to force ourselves to fall asleep, the more awake we are. Only when we relax and let go of the fight does sleep come, bringing us the rest we need."
|Q & A|
Q: I love how I feel after getting a massage...how do I make it last longer?
A: A good massage elevates the body's level of serotinon - the anti-pain hormone - and reduces its cortisol - the stress hormone. The treatment also works out the knots and tight muscles, making us feel looser and with greater range of motion.
To remain in this state longer, I recommend some advanced planning to allow at least an hour after the massage to unwind in a stress-free environment that allows us to integrate the good feeling with the rest of our lives. Drink lots of water to flush out all the toxins that were released and maintain a positive mindset. I also recommend to soak in a hot tub or a leisurely stroll in nature for 30 minutes. The important thing is not to allow stress to enter directly after the massage. If you have no other choice, take as much time as possible at the end of your day to wind down and relax.
Sometimes people feel soreness after a message, especially if it was very deep and intense work. This is similar to how a person feels after working out for the first time after a long break. If you know you may feel sore after the message, you won't worry that you've been injured.