5 Ways to Help You Relax in 2 Weeks

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We know that we deserve and are meant to live an inspired life that rises above mere existence, but how? In A Life Worth Breathing, yoga teacher and spiritual philosopher Max Strom shows us the way. This is an excerpt from that book:
5 Things to Help You Relax in 2 Weeks

These techniques are to be done in tandem, and results should begin in two weeks or less. But this is more than a two-week experiment, these are new habits to aid you in staying relaxed as a new way of life. Becoming more relaxed will not disempower you or cause you to be less mentally sharp, conversely, living in a more relaxed state will empower you, and help you to not only focus, but know what is important to focus on.

1. Listen or read the news once a week – no more. You will notice a difference in your nervous system in just a few days and you may be surprised at what an addiction the news can be. From my own observation of others and myself, I believe that another one of the most insidious sources of anxiety and stress is watching or reading the news everyday. It is 99% negative andwhen you really step back, you already know what the news is going to be next time your see it.

Since, it’s going to be essentially the same every day, why do we bombard ourselves religiously with such dark images of crisis? Only the names and locations change. And after drinking a triple latte then going on the freeway and listening to horrifying news each and every day, it’s no wonder so many people are on anti-ulcer drugs and anti anxiety medication. Does this mean we should go into denial and ignore the problems? Absolutely not. Take action and do what you can to help. But in the rest of the week do not obsess about the negative. If anything really momentous happens, you will hear about it, everyone will be talking about it and then you can consult the media if you choose. In that way, you can stay be informed but not in a constant state of anxiety. The news plays up fear and conflict. Is that what you want to reinforce each day upon rising? Or the last thing you want to put in your imagination before sleeping? One of the most important contributions we can make to a trouble world is to give it more love, hope, and joy.

2. Read inspiring, life-affirming books before going to sleep at night. Books by or about the greatest souls in history. Whether it is the Bible, the Upanishads, the Torah, the Koran, great philosophers, or great poetry. To go to sleep with hope and inspiration will improve the quantity of your sleep and dreams.

3. Watch no violent or disturbing images in TV or movies. No explanation is necessary.

4. Get to sleep by 10 p.m. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the period of time between 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. is the most vital for the body to replenish and repair itself.

5. Give up caffeine gradually. Sorry, but it is important. You need to stop triggering the fight or flight response and somehow expect new results. Do so in steps, not cold turkey. Drink it only in the morning. Drink half a cup of coffee or latte and then pour out the rest. Switch to green or white tea with only water, no milk or soymilk. Then if you can, gradually eliminate the tea as well. What will amaze you is you will find you have more energy, not less.

Max Strom founded and directed the renowned Sacred Movement Center for Yoga and Healing in Los Angeles. There he taught more than four hundred students a week for over four years, building the program into one of the most respected centers in the world. In 2005, he sold the studio to Exhale Spa, which continues to thrive. Last year he taught and lectured in more than thirty-five cities in nine countries. Max is recognized by the Yoga Alliance at their Advanced Teacher Level (ERYT 500). He has taught tens of thousands of students; trained several hundred teachers; and recorded two videos, Learn to Breathe, to Heal Yourself and Your Relationships and Max Strom Yoga—Strength, Grace, Healing. Max has also immersed himself extensively in spiritual learning. Before his 20th birthday, he had studied Taoism, Esoteric Christianity, Sufism, and was practicing meditation and Chi Gung diligently. He currently resides in Ashland, Oregon.

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Thank you! Report
Boy oh boy comments from one spectrum to the other. Thought provoking! Report
MUSICNUT 10/27/2020
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
This was written 10 years ago. Ignoring life and the news is childish and if life causes you that much stress you have more issues than just stress Report
good article Report
Helpful information! Report
Great suggestions. Report
I really don't understand, I don't care what I say, I seem to always get an edit! I am afraid to open my mouth! Report
Thanks for sharing this one!!!!! Report
Thanks!!!! Report
Thanks Report
nice Report
Great info! Thanks! Report
My suggestion is take vacations & get a hammock. So relaxing to lay there with a book or simply do nothing but look at the clouds drifting by. Report
Cruise! Report
Get on a cruise ship Report
thanks Report
Great Article! Thanks for sharing this one! Report
i have a really hard time relaxing Report
I can never relax Report
Great article! Report
Great info! Report
I think this is an interesting list. There are some good ideas on it. I feel like a bit of a hypocrite because I'm currently binge-watching Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones is about as violent as it gets. Not every article is going to apply to every person. Still, it's good to look at different strategies for a healthy life. Report
Great article! Report
Most of the comments seem like reasonable goals. But the no coffee no tea - I agree it’s good to scale back, but then it flies in the face of research and experience showing that there is healthy antioxidant benefits to coffee and teas. So I guess one needs to find their balance! Report
Love the article! Report
Thank you for the information Report
Just do as you see fit....too many folks making money yapping at us about this and that......they are part of the stress problem. Report
I agree...everyone is different. I have discovered that is much healthier (for me) NOT to be glued to the news every day, but I still give myself about an hour or two to hear what's been going on in the world. As for caffeine (especially tea), I don't think it's bad for you, but that's just an opinion based on my own experience. To each his or her own. Report
Great article Report
I do most of the things already but will never give up my teas - herbal, green, white. Having a cuppa is one of the calming parts of my day. Report
thanks Report
thanks Report
Thank you for the article Report
thank you Report
Great information Report
I completely agree with # 1 because over this past year, I have watched the news more than ever and it's actually caused my blood pressure to go up to the point that my doctor is considering medication for it. I am watching much less and definitely not watching the daily press conferences. Monitoring my blood pressure has shown that it is going down and is directly related to the news. Sad commentary of today's life. Report
Regarding "the news" a recent newsletter I receive stated that more and more people are not listening to the news, because so much of it is "bad" viewed as "negative" or "stressful." So i understand the comment in this article but thought this newsletter's take was unique and remarkable--they said read the Good News! Funny take. The GOOD NEWS is still good all these centuries later. Report
Good article! Report
So basically keep negative chaotic news and t.v. out Report
I've been caffeine free for over 10 years. Well, I do drink green tea, but it doesn't affect me like black tea does. Report
Good post and some interesting relaxing techniques. Caffine is so hard to get out of your system though. Report
I agree with many of my fellow bloggers, especially remember myself. I would feel so out of touch if I didn't keep up with the news, at least locally. I don't watch violent TV late and am trying to be in bed, or at least reading (purely for enjoyment) by 10pm. Have cut out all alcohol. Drink only tea the 2 days a week I work. Am feeling fantastic at 52, not many women can say that. Do whatever you need to relax yourself, keeping in mind your lifestyle. Report
I understand that some people may feel overwhelmed by the violent images and negative news, but for me I feel like it's my duty to keep in touch with the things going on in the world.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’
-Edmund Burke

I feel like this is even more true when we close ourselves off from the news of the world.

On the other hand, perhaps if everyone were a little more chill there wouldn't BE so many bad things.
I'm kind of so-so on these suggestions. But the comments are stressing me out!

If you love coffee, or violent movies, or staying up until 11pm, more power to you, keep doing your thing! But please don't get so upset at this person for saying "these things increase stress." You're increasing your stress by being mad, don't you think? I mean, I'm going to keep watching violent movies and drinking green tea, and I'm not going to worry about it so much; it's all good. We all like what we like.

Breathe, people. Breathe. Report
"One of the most important tenants of yoga is often stated thus: Non-attachment is the greatest form of love. It sounds from many of these responses that many of us are strongly attached.. e.g. define ourselves by ideas about the world and our food intake. Non-attachment doesn't mean we don't care, we just accept the fact that we cannot change outcomes only our response to them. "

Another of the most important tenets of yoga is to be present in every moment. The practice of yoga does not require one to isolate oneself from what is going on in the world around oneself. We are encouraged to engage in life and live it to it's fullest.

I would argue that acceptance does not mean that we cannot alter eventual outcomes. Acceptance is tied to the moment. It is what it is right now. That does not mean that we cannot alter our own behavior or contribute to a better future society.

Yoga involves a quest for enlightenment. It is difficult, if not impossible, for a person in today's society to attain enlightenment with limited knowledge of the world around them.

Another key principle of yoga is practicing with ahimsa. That means living a life of loving kindess to others and to oneself. Report
Wow I READ some of the comments and was floored over what everyone was saying. The whole point was to give you tips to relax going to bed early will help your body relax and heal from your working out and you will have more energy in the morning.News she still said watch it but not so much the news always have some bads news that will upset you before you go to bed. Reading was a good idea because it will help you prepare your mind for postive thoughts before you go to bed. As far as the movie if you want to relax it would have to be some non violent movie.And you know 2 much caffeine is not good for your body rather or not if you want to quit the fact still remains. And with everything you always have that options to do what feels good for you. but don't knock it because you don't feel the same way as the writer I loved them all I LOVE to relax and treat my body and mind good. So keep the blogs coming. Report