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.
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.
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.
Picture yourself surrounded by family and friends or excelling at a task that you find fulfilling.
4. Draw a bath.
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.
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.
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.
Head outdoors or watch videos about sandy beaches and ancient forests.
8. Learn progressive relaxation.
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:
- Zumba or Spin class.
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.
As long as you avoid extreme competition, sports can be relaxing. Schedule a game of tennis or darts.
3. Go dancing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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8 Tips to Face Your Fear
Fear is a natural emotion that humans feel whenever face with painful and challenging circumstances. We tend to be afraid to handle our concerns or even walk away from those things. However, the longer we suppress our fears in our subconscious minds, the longer it would affect our social and occupational functioning. Take the case of drug addicts who see drugs as a form of escape with their worries and personal issues. They’ve chosen to run away from their fears instead of confronting it. With this, it significantly changed them that affects only themselves but their families as well.
Overcoming fear is an important step to free yourself from situations or things that would limit you. It may take time to conquer it, but by taking action, you’re doing a favor for yourself. Here are the useful tips that can help you to overcome your fears.
- Recognize and Accept Your Fear
The first step that you should do is to recognize your fears. It may be hard at first. But acknowledging it allows you to know that you need to do something to get rid of your worries. From there, you will understand that fears exist to warn us about the possible danger that we’re going to encounter. It lets us know that we need to take better decisions in our lives.
- 2. Take Time Out
If your mind is clouded by fear and other unpleasant emotions, taking time out from it is your option. It means that you need to distract yourself from overthinking about it. You can go for a walk or take a nap to shift your mind. This is different from running away from your fear. This gesture is crucial as you need to get yourself ready in facing your fears.
- 3. Calm Yourself
This relates to taking a break from your fears. Aside from engaging in diverting task, you can also practice calming yourself. Breath slowly and if you can, meditate for at least 5 minutes. By doing this, it makes you objective in facing your fears.
- 4. Visualize Happy Thoughts
If you are letting your fears empower you, thinking about fighting it would not be easy. You must first create a mental image of happy thoughts. It can be anywhere and anytime with anyone. The main goal of visualizing your thoughts is to let make you relax and control your fear.
- 5..Seek Help
If you think you don’t have enough courage to overcome your fears alone, you can seek help. Talk with your trusted friends or family members so they can help you in facing your fear. They can also provide some advice that you can use. Apart from close friends and family, you can also seek the professional assistance of a psychologist or counselor. They can devise customized therapy programs to alleviate your fears.
- 6. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
People who are empowered with their fears tend to run away from it. Some of them turn to alcohol and drugs, believing that it would subside their fears. Instead of forming a drug or alcohol addiction, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can do regular exercise and eat nutritious foods. You can also get enough quality sleep to make your mind relax. By having a healthy lifestyle, you are making yourself physically and mentally ready to face your fears.
- 7..Plan, Practice, and Act
There are fears that you can conquer by acting it out. For instance, you are afraid to talk in public and want to defeat this fear. You can plan to enroll yourself in public speaking classes to boost your confidence and learn the techniques of managing your worries at the public places. After that, you can practice talking on the stage. You can do it alone or with the presence of a few people. The essence of this step is to gradually expose you to fear so when you’re faced with the actual issue you’d be able to handle it well.
- 8. Treat Yourself
Trying to overcome your fear takes a lot of courage. If you’ve been with a stressful day, you can reward yourself for doing your best. It can be anything that would bring happy feelings. It would also serve as your reminder that there are greater things that you have compared with your fears.