Just lying around your house watching TV is NOT relaxing. Dramatic shows, sports programming and TV news rely on stress and suspense to keep you hooked.. Plus it's a passive activity, and mildly addictive, so it's nowhere near as relaxing as many other options that you can choose. Here are 6 different ways to relax at home that are truly therapeutic:
1. Listen more than you talk. Feel good chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin are released in the brain when you really connect with another human being. And when you really listen, according to author Dr. James Lynch your blood pressure actually goes down.
2. Take 3 deep breaths. According to Herbert Benson, M.D., deep breathing is just one of several ways to activate The Relaxation Response which, when turned on, also turns off the stress response.
3. Meditate. New research out of Harvard University, by Dr. Sara Lazar shows that just 8 weeks of regular meditation shrinks a tiny section of the brain known as the amygdala. The smaller the amygdala the less sensitive we are to stress.
4. Call up an old friend. According to the American Psychological Association, "emotional support is an important protective factor for dealing with life's difficulties." In addition: "loneliness has been associated with a wide variety of health problems including high blood pressure, diminished immunity, cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline." So calling up an old friend is not only relaxing it's good for your health.
5. Take an afternoon nap. According to the Mayo taking a short nap in the mid afternoon can promote relaxation, reduce fatigue and increase alertness.
6. Listen to a relaxation CD. Guided relaxation tracks are just about the easiest way to learn how to relax. Here’s a link to a relaxation CD called A DAY AWAY FROM STRESS.