Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Mental Relaxation and Your Mental Health

Relaxation is important to both physical and mental health.
Mental relaxation benefits not just your mind but also your

Stress is part of life; it is almost impossible to avoid
stress. In fact, attempting to avoid stress is enough to
create stress. Stress is what you experience emotionally
and internally in response to a given situation with which
you are incapable of coping. However, stress, ironically
enough, may also be beneficial in that it teaches you about
how to handle difficult situations in life. Learning to
deal with demands in life keeps your mentally healthy, just
as exercise keeps you physically fit.

Stress is related to your feelings, which signal that
“something is not in order.” Stress, therefore,
requires expression of these emotions in an appropriate way
– in the form of mental relaxation.

Mental relaxation is possible only when you have a plan for
a balanced lifestyle, including regular bedtime, even on
weekends and holidays. The reason is that your body’s
biological clock plays an important role in regulating your
sleep patterns, which are critical to your mental
well-being. Plan your daily routine and pace your life.

Take full responsibility for you own stress. This is the
key to managing stress in your life. Never say, “You
give me stress!” Nobody gives you stress but
yourself. You are responsible for your own feelings.
Otherwise, you would be passing the responsibility to
others – that does not work in real life.

Change your attitudes and perceptions of what you
experience in your life. Events that happen to you remain
the same, but your perceptions may vary. Change your
attitudes and perceptions to change the way you think about
your experiences. Learn to laugh at others as well as at
yourself. According to studies, children laugh 40 to 50
times a day, and that is why they are happy; adults, on the
other hand, laugh only 10 to 15 times at the most. Do not
take life too seriously, develop and nurture a sense of
humor, which is a component of mental relaxation.

Enhance your physical capabilities to cope with
difficulties encountered. These capabilities include
physical fitness, good nutrition, and deep sleep without
sleeping aids.

Change the environment that gives you stress. If your job
gives you stress, change the job or take a vacation to
de-stress yourself, although this may be a passive way of
dealing with your stress.

Life is full of problems. Understanding yourself and the
things that trouble you most is an important step in
solving your life’s problems, thereby eliminating
much of the stress. Your mental health is determined by the
way you work with and relate to others. In other words, you
may have behavioral problems that create stress for you at
work and in relationships. Isolating yourself in order to
avoid these behavioral problems only makes you more
difficult to enjoy good mental health.

To deal with any behavioral problem, you must learn how to
communicate easily and clearly with others. You must be a
good listener. You must be assertive without being critical
or aggressive. You must learn to trust others, and see the
good, instead of the bad, in others.

Eliminating stress is not equivalent to producing mental
relaxation. To help your mind relax, you need to give it
“a break.” When you are asleep, your mind
remains very active and does not “rest.” When
you are awake, your mind is preoccupied with mostly past
and future thoughts. Nearly all your thoughts, including
your desires and fears, are based on either the past or the
future. Your desires are no more than recollection of the
past pleasure and hope of repeating them in the future.
Fears are also memories of past pain, and your desire to
avoid them in the future. To give your mind the rest it
rightfully deserves, help your mind focus on the present
moment. Meditation does just that: it enables your mind to
focus only on the present moment to the exclusion of past
and future thoughts.

In meditation, you focus on your breathing, noticing your
inhalation and exhalation, directing your mind to the
present, thereby shutting off wandering thoughts of the
past and future. In meditation, you are essentially giving
your mind a period of relaxation. There is no other way as
effective as meditation in giving your mind total
relaxation. Modern medicine is beginning to use meditation
to cure mental disorders because it works at your
subconscious level. In Buddhist meditation, you experience
“nirvana” only through meditation, in which you
empty your mind of impure thoughts to arrive at a mental
state of enlightenment.

Meditation, in conjunction with self-effort in changing
attitudes and lifestyle, provides the best mental
relaxation for your mental health.

About the Author:

Stephen Lau is a researcher, writing synopses of medical
research for scientists. His publications include "NO
MIRACLE CURES" a book on healing and wellness. He has also
created several websites on health and healing.

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