Ways of relieving stress

Ways of relieving stress

It's common knowledge that in the West we let stress, worry and anxiety ruin our health. Not on Okinawa! The islanders owe their lust for life and happiness to trusty stress-relieving techniques: visualisation, various self-therapies, deep breathing, meditation and magnesium supplements.

Deep breathing
When you breathe deeply you burn more calories, improve your energy output, relieve stress, tension and general wellbeing and even help ward off age-related complaints and illnesses.

You can do it in any position, and it's best in a quiet, airy place. Inhale and exhale through your nose, into your stomach and chest as much as possible, let out a fifth of the inhaled air and hold (start by holding for 10 seconds and work up to 30). Then breathe out deeply and repeat without letting any air out after you've breathed in. Do 20 breaths, alternating the slight exhalation after you breathe in (one breath with and one without). Do it first thing in the morning, before each meal and whenever you're stressed, tense, tired, emotional or aching...

The aim of this is to stop thinking! Meditation is about recentring the self, being at one with nature and not being at the mercy of your thoughts the whole time.

Either at sunrise or sunset, choose a calm, quiet place. Put a candle on the floor and sit on the floor. Concentrate on your breathing, on the circulation of air through your body and on the candle flame. To meditate, put the candle just over 10cm from you at eye level. When a thought comes into your head, see it and let it pass. Don't react to it - enjoy the precious feeling of complete freedom.


Sarah Horrocks
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