America–the home of the free and the brave…and the frazzled. According to the American Psychological Association, as reported in November 2017, the stress level of Americans is at an all time high. With all the angst-inducing noise surrounding us on TV, radio, the internet and social media, that really shouldn’t surprise anyone. With all the vitriol people are hurling at one another, we all need to find ways to relax.
Many people can become depressed or anxious in this environment, and that can lead to a variety of symptoms like clinical depression, overeating, antisocial behaviors and sleep disruption. If the situation gets severe enough a doctor might recommend some sort of medication to help battle the problem. These can range from antidepressants to muscle relaxants to sleep aids. Most of these drugs can produce a form of addiction and need the proper medical supervision when it comes time to stop them. If a doctor prescribed a sleeping pill, Ambien withdrawal can be a serious complication as an example. It is not something you want to try on your own. Fortunately, there are people and places that can help.
It’s not unusual for people to turn to our four-legged (the now infamous peacock in an airport notwithstanding) friends in times of trouble. An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) can be of enormous benefit to people in stress-ridden situations. It’s safe to say that the majority of people have felt the love flowing from their cats and dogs laying next to, or on, them while rubbing their furry bellies. A person who has a fear of flying can find the strength needed to face their fears with a certified ESA by their side.
One tried and true method for relaxation is a trip to a day spa. There are several treatments available to help a person unwind.
Manual Massage–A trained masseuse uses their hands to relax tense muscles, sore joints and spinal vertebrae.
Cupping Massage–This method can be traced back to ancient China. A cup, frequently made of glass, is placed over areas that may be painful, swollen or sore; then a gentle suction is induced either by heating the air inside the dome or using a vacuum pump and creating an upward pull on the affected area.
Heat Therapy–One way this is accomplished is by placing heated pads over the painful area, allowing the warmth to relax the muscles and increase the blood flow. Alternatively, one can immerse themselves in a hot tub, creating the same effect in the entire body.
Depending on the particular establishment, services like mud-baths or hot-stone massages may also be available.
There is a myriad of other practices people may find useful in the search for inner peace. For example, acupuncture (using needles) and acupressure (applying force with the hands) are types of Asian bodywork therapies (ABT) that target certain points along the body’s meridians to relieve aches and pains.
Another approach is known as reflexology. Like acupuncture(pressure), this relies on the manipulation of areas of the body, typically in the hands and feet, that are thought to correlate to certain muscles or organs in the body in order to alleviate tension.
In the society we live in today in America, it is difficult to find a way to relax. We are inundated with information, data and opinions from the time we wake up to the time we finally turn off our various devices. Not all relaxation methods will work for all of us so it might take some time to find one that works for you. So keep at it, once you find one, the reduced stress will be worth the time it took to find it.