January 5, 2007 7:09am CST
The average man is generally high-strung and stresses over every little detail -- from paying the rent to taking out the garbage. Advice to relax and take it easy is always rampant, yet tips on how to achieve this state of mind are often overlooked. For those who would love to get into the relaxation groove, but just don’t know how to or think they don’t have time to, here are some ways to relax the mind and body to achieve a more soothing lifestyle. Six-second breathing A great way to achieve a relaxed state of mind is to maintain a good flow of oxygen throughout the body and to regulate the heartbeat. The best way to do this -- if not the only way -- is to practice your breathing technique. Considering breathing is a necessity of life, it shouldn’t be too hard to master this one. Simply inhale for six seconds, wait a moment, and exhale for another six seconds. Try to keep your breathing as controlled as possible while focusing on the oxygen filling up your lungs. As you exhale, imagine yourself releasing all your negative energy in one big sigh of relief. The good thing about this technique is that you can do it absolutely anywhere, anytime you feel the need to step back and relax for a moment. This technique is also very helpful at bedtime when trying to fall asleep. Muscle contraction A great way to relax tense muscles is to contract and release them until the desired effect is achieved. Whether you’re at your desk or lying down in bed, this exercise is really effective. The key is to concentrate on one body part at a time. The six-second breathing technique will help you achieve this, but this time be sure to exhale as you release the muscle in question.