If the answer is "I can't remember" then you are not alone.
Relaxation has become a skill many of us have lost touch with. Society has become overworked, overburdened, and overstimulated. In our spare time we have an urge to fill it with “something”. The average person spends several hours a day staring at their social media and email loaded smartphones.
Relaxation may feel like an indulgence but there is a very good reason why we should take time to relax – our health.
When we relax our parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest mode) is activated and our sympathetic nervous system (fight and flight mode) is turned off. Relaxation lets your body know that you are ‘safe’. The results of this are rather impressive:
Your heart rate and breathing slows
Blood pressure goes down
Digestion improves and your immune system works better
Anxiety reduces and your memory improves
Spending time in nature is one of the most enriching and rejuvenating ways to deeply relax. Current research shows that being in nature or even viewing scenes of nature contributes to mental and physical wellbeing.
Nature also provides us with many herbs and plants that help aid relaxation.
These plants contain constituents that act as relaxants and mild sedatives to bring about a sense of calm to the mind and body, restoring balance.
Below are some well-studied and proven herbs that can help you to relax.
An official medicine in history, it is well known for its calming effect, reducing tension, and inducing sleep.
From the Pacific Islands, Kava is great for reducing tension and anxiety and improving sleep.
Also known as English lavender, it has long been used to calm the nerves and promote sleep.
Calming and gentle, it melts away tension and improves sleep.
A very safe herb that is particularly good for people who find it difficult to unwind and are plagued by an overactive mind.
A wonderful overall tonic with a mild sedative action to aid sleeplessness.
These herbs can be taken in different ways however I find the ritual of preparing and drinking a cup of medicinal tea is extremely therapeutic, and the results are well worth the effort.
To make a cup of herbal tea - Put 1 teaspoon of dried or a few leaves of fresh herbs into a cup and infuse with boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
Magnesium is known as the relaxation mineral. It is superb at relaxing the muscles, calming the mind, and supporting sound sleep.
L-Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. Taken as a supplement it quickly promotes relaxation and reduces stress.
There are many other ways to support relaxation including deep breathing exercises, meditation, massage, reading
a book, Epsom salt baths, going for a walk or listening to music.
Choose something you enjoy and set aside time to relax!