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Wellness

14 Ways to Relax Without Alcohol or Food

Happy hours can be a great way to unwind after a stressful day at work. You bond with your coworkers, talk about your day, and listen to some upbeat music. On the other hand, if you make such activities a regular routine, you could be taking in more alcohol and empty calories than you want. Plus, you may be training yourself to think that consumption is the only way to relax.

You can’t remove stress from daily life, but you can learn to deal with it without creating more troubles. Start with these ideas for relaxing without alcohol or food.

Calorie-Free Ways to Relax on Your Own:

1. Breathe deeply. 

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Pause and take a few calming breaths. Inhale from down in your diaphragm instead of up in your chest. Lengthen your exhalations to match your inhalations. Focus on the air as it moves in and out of your nostrils.

2. Meditate and pray. 

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Sit down for a few moments and connect with yourself and the divine. Observe your thoughts without judging them. Give thanks for your blessings.

3.   Engage in visualization. Close your eyes and imagine something that makes you feel happy and inspired. 

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Picture yourself surrounded by family and friends or excelling at a task that you find fulfilling.

4.   Draw a bath. 

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Fill your tub with warm water and enjoy a luxurious soak. Buy fragrant bath salts or make your own. Set out fluffy towels, candles, and other accessories of your choice.

5.  Stretch your body. 

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Make it a habit to stand up about every half hour when you’re working at your desk. Place your hands on your lower spine for support, and do a slight backbend. Rise up tall, and reach your hands down to the floor, bending your knees if necessary.

6.  Take a walk.  

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Stroll around the block or hike the trails at your local park. Pick a quiet time of day and explore new routes.

7.  Appreciate nature. Scientific studies prove that nature has the power to soothe us. 

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Head outdoors or watch videos about sandy beaches and ancient forests.

8.  Learn progressive relaxation. 

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Experiment with progressive muscle relaxation. Start with your hands, squeezing each muscle group as you breathe in, and releasing as you breathe out. Continue across the rest of your body. 

Calorie-Free Ways to Relax with Others:

  1. Zumba or Spin class. 

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Zumba or spin class cultivates community as well as stress relief and physical fitness. Bring a friend with you to your next class. 

2. Play sports. 

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As long as you avoid extreme competition, sports can be relaxing. Schedule a game of tennis or darts.

3.  Go dancing. 

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Take listening to music a step further by getting out on the dance floor. Sign up for rumba lessons or spend your next date night at a club with a live band.

4.  Pet your dog. 

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Remember your animal companions too. Studies show that talking to them actually tends to be less stressful than interacting with humans because we don’t worry about being judged.

5.  Talk it over. 

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On the other hand, your fellow humans are probably going to have more insights into how to deal with your love life or conflicts at work. Call a friend when you need to vent or discover a different perspective on whatever is on your mind.

6.  Laugh it up. 

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Humor makes our struggles easier to bear. Spend time with others who encourage you to see the funny aspects of parenthood or practicing law.

Whether you’re on your own or surrounded by friends, you can banish stress safely and effectively. Learning to relax without alcohol or food will help you to stay slim and peaceful.

Wellness

Advice for Resolving Conflicts in Your Relationships (And if You’re Funny Use Humor)

The conflict has been brewing all day. The combatants are at crisis point, and it feels like the entire office is holding their collective breath waiting to see what happens next. At this point, they’re ready for bloodshed, or at the very least, some very strong words.

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No matter how much you like the other person, at some point, conflict is likely to happen. While most conflicts are fairly small (like trying to decide where to go out for dinner), left untended a conflict can fester and grow. That’s why it’s so important to resolve conflicts in your relationships before they have a chance to take on a life of their own.

How do you go about doing that?

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  1. Start by listening. But don’t just listen to the spoken words, but the feelings behind them. It’s the emotions that drive the conversation after all! By listening actively, meaning pausing to ask questions, clarify, and to reiterate what you think the other person is saying, you tell the other person that what they have to say matters. But more importantly, you’re letting them know that they’re being heard.
  2. Look for resolution over being right. Giving up the notion that you have to ‘win’ is where you start seeing the solutions. Conflict is not a competition.
  3. Stay at the moment. Instead of focusing on what happened that brought you into this conflict, pay attention to what’s going on right now. Now isn’t the time for blame. Rather look for solutions.

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  1. Decide what’s important right now. It is called ‘picking your battles’ and is important in determining whether a thing is worth fighting over. Ask yourself if this is just an issue over a minor annoyance that will be easily forgotten, or if you have something deeper going on that maybe needs to be addressed.
  2. Know how and when to disengage. That means being able to do what it takes to walk away. It might be forgiveness is in order. It might be that you’re just going to need to agree to disagree. Worst case scenario? It might be time just to let the matter go entirely. Whatever the case, there’s nothing to be gained by staying in the conflict.

 

Using Humor

The last thing anyone expects is for one of the key players in the conflict to open their mouths and… make a joke?

Maybe it doesn’t feel like a resolution to the conflict, but actually, laughter goes far beyond being the clichéd ‘best medicine.’  How? First of all, laughter takes the tension out of the situation, which is exactly what’s needed to regain perspective, build stronger bonds, and yes, sometimes smooth over the differences.

How then do you effectively use humor to resolve conflicts?

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  1. Make sure that both parties are ‘in on the joke.’ By keeping humor wholesome – not at the expense of the other person, you’re focusing on inviting them to laugh with you, rather than laughing at them. How can you tell if you’re doing it right? Humor is tricky, and so your best indicator of getting it right is to gauge the other person’s reactions. If they’re not laughing, chances are they don’t find it funny. Stop!
  1. Check to make sure that you’re using humor as a defensive weapon rather than as a positive tool. If you’re using humor to mask emotions that you’d rather not deal with right now, then it’s time to put a flag on the play. Stop immediately and ask yourself what it is that you’re not dealing with and why.
  1. Work on that sense of humor. Every good comedian knows how to read their audience. The same goes for using humor with another person, especially in a situation that’s already a conflict. Watch the nonverbal cues. What language are you using? Keep the tone positive and light, and mean it. That means don’t use jokes as a means of cruelty. Lastly, consider what you might use as an inside joke. Inside jokes not only keep the situation light but create a deeper intimacy with whom you conflict.

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  1. Most importantly, be Playful! A little bit of silly fun is a good thing. Not sure how to tap into that kind of fun and crazy side? Explore humor in other ways so that you always have a repertoire to fall back on. Watch things you find funny on TV or in movies. Listen to jokes. Read the funnies. Find that side of you that likes to play and encourage it with creativity and fun.

 

And no matter what, cut yourself some slack. It takes practice to be funny. Keep at it, and you’ll find your natural sense of humor, and be able to tap into it when you need to. That conflict won’t know what hit it!

Resolving conflicts isn’t a hard skill to learn. By following these tips, you will discover how better to deal with conflict in every kind of relationship – whether business or personal. So take heart – a misunderstanding doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Instead, look at your conflict as a step toward better understanding that will, in turn, lead to better relationships in the long run.

 

 

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Wellness

What are the Causes and Benefits of Conflict?

Your day might have started fairly ordinary. Only somewhere along the way, things blew up. Now you’re in the middle of a massive conflict with no clear idea of how you got there.

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It’s normal to fall into conflict – we’re only human after all. Some conflict is even good for us! But did you know that by understanding how these blow-ups come about, you can learn how to avoid many of these conflicts in the first place?

Conflict comes about because we’ve hit a point of disagreement with another person. While a difference of opinion doesn’t have to turn into conflict, every conflict has at its heart a difference of opinion. These differences manifest in these areas:

  • A difference in values
  • A difference in motivations
  • A difference in what you perceive is true or necessary\
  • A difference in wants
  • A difference in the understanding of various ideas or even ideals.

How do these differences then turn into conflicts?

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  1. The difference has somehow become perceived as a threat. Whenever you feel threatened, there’s going to be trouble. Threats bring out that whole urge to fight to protect what’s important to you. Hence, your disagreement escalates into the realm of conflict.
  2. You’ve let that conflict fester. So, what might have felt like a minor threat at the beginning has become something much bigger in nature because of two factors. First, you neglected the conflict by not dealing with it right away. Second, the passage of time has given the conflict room to grow. So, now it’s blown up into something bigger than it ever was in the first place. How? Keep reading, and you’ll see.

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  3. By now your perception is off-kilter. It might be that what you perceive to be a threat – was never a threat in the first place. How does this happen? Chances are you lost your objectivity in the situation. Especially if you feel threatened. Then add to it #4.
  4. Your emotions got involved. Conflicts tend to attract strong emotions. But the stronger the emotion, the more likely you are to blow things out of proportion. Emotional reactions also make it a lot harder to deal with a conflict in the first place, so chances are if you get emotional, you’ve already let things get out of control.

Are There Benefits of Conflict?

When you experience a violent storm, it’s easy to rail against the weather. The wind and the rain can seem terrifying, especially when coupled with the crash of thunder and the bright crackle of lightning splitting the sky. But ask any farmer, and they’ll tell you that even storms have their benefits. The rain is necessary for their crops. And believe it or not, when lightning strikes the ground, it puts nitrogen into the soil that is essential for things to grow.

Likewise, conflicts have certain benefits that we don’t always see. Keep reading to find several of them you might not have considered before now.

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  1. Conflicts make us aware of new ways to do things. The very fact that there’s a conflict tells you that someone else has a different point of view from your own. By exploring those conflicts, you are likewise invited to explore the idea from a new angle and see a new solution that wouldn’t have occurred before.
  2. Conflicts enable us to verbalize what we want. Think of conflict as a way of being able to genuinely express yourself that doesn’t come up easily at other times. It’s through conflict that we decide what’s important to us, and how to put those feelings into words.
  3. Conflict drives flexibility. When we conflict, we’re hoping for others to see our point of view. But also in dealing with conflict, we’re forced to see the point of view of those around us. That is where we learn how to become flexible, to acknowledge that we’re not always right. The conflict then becomes the teacher of two traits that you can’t live without—that of being open-minded, and of understanding humility.

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  4. Conflict forces us to listen. The only way to resolve conflict is to listen openly to the other person. Through listening, we acquire wisdom and learn to make better decisions.
  5. Conflict drives solutions. When you deal with conflict, you are likewise dealing with a problem that needs a solution. Resolving that conflict means finding those solutions, usually in new and innovative ways. Conflict, thus, forces us to solve our problems in creative ways.

While you might shy away from the idea of conflict, it’s good to remember these benefits. Without conflict, we stagnate. So while the storm outside might rage, remember that all tempests do come to an end. The sun will come out again, and in that light, you’ll be able to see how much you’ve grown and benefitted by that conflict.

You need to maintain your objectivity, keep your emotions in check, and realize that every conflict is an opportunity to grow. Conflicts are normal in life. But it’s the resolution of conflicts that draws us closer together and builds both trust and intimacy.

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