Healthy Family | Home Safety | Health and Wealth | Relationship Issues | Career Advice | Growing Family
Get the SixWise e-Newsletter FREE!
Google Web
Free Newsletter Subscription
Get the Web's Most trusted & Informative Health, Wealth, Safety & More Newsletter -- FREE!


Share Email to a Friend Print This

In Economic Times Like This, Here is How to RELAX ...
and Why You Need To


Stress related to the economy is taking its toll on the majority of Americans, according to the American Psychological Association's (APA) annual Stress in America survey. Eighty percent of Americans are stressed about both their personal finances and the economy.

Eighty percent of Americans are feeling stressed about their personal finances and the economy ... and women are bearing the brunt of the anxiety.

While finances are often a top source of anxiety, work and issues related to raising children are typically top stressors too. Not so this year.

"This year, the jump was marked in that the No. 1 concern is both money and the economy," Dr. Katherine Nordal, the APA's executive director for professional practice, told CNN.

"In my 30 years of experience, in the past, this was not the thing that would be high in complaint lists. Most people are driven to counseling because of relationship problems with marriage and children, depression and anxiety. But what we're seeing today is that the economy and finances are viewed as significantly more stressful, by more than 8 out of 10 Americans," she continued.

The survey revealed that half of the nearly 7,000 respondents felt increasingly stressed about their ability to provide for their family's basic needs. Another 56 percent were concerned about job stability, which translated into less productivity at work.

Meanwhile, women appeared to be "bearing the brunt of the nation's stress," according to the survey, with more women than men worrying about the economy, housing costs, money, and health problems impacting their families.

With stress levels nearing their boiling points across the country, it is imperative for Americans to learn how to relax ... or face some of the following consequences.

The Impact of Stress on Your Body

About 47 percent of Americans say they are more stressed now than they were last year. Not surprisingly, more people are also feeling the physical impacts of stress. Compared to 2007, more Americans now report the following as a result of stress:

  • Fatigue

  • Feelings of irritability or anger

  • Lying awake at night

Other common stress-related symptoms reported were lack of interest or motivation, feeling depressed or sad, headaches and muscular tension.

Americans are also turning to some unhealthy coping mechanisms in an attempt to deal with their stress. The most common coping behavior? Overeating or eating unhealthy foods, which 48 percent of Americans say they do to cope with stress. Others include:

  • Skipping meals

  • Shopping

  • Napping

  • Drinking alcohol

  • Smoking

"With the deteriorating economy dominating the headlines, it's easy to worry more about your finances than your health, but, stress over money and the economy is taking an emotional and physical toll on America, especially among women," Dr. Nordal says. "Many say they are handling their stress well. Yet, people report more physical and emotional symptoms. If Americans continue to experience these high levels of stress for prolonged periods of time, they are at risk for developing serious illnesses."

In fact, the consequences of stress are most severe when people ignore their symptoms and fail to manage their stress effectively, according to APA. This is why learning to relax is not a luxury but a necessity.

Mini relaxation breaks give yourself some much-needed time to regroup and just "be."

Relaxation Techniques to Help You Unwind

Mary Maddux, a leading meditation expert, suggests these five simple strategies to help you relax:

  1. Stop and "Do Nothing." Take "mini relaxation breaks" by stopping and doing nothing from time to time.

    Give yourself room to "simply be."

    Rest is the basis of activity, and those pauses to rest will help you "reset." One woman once confessed that when she got home from work, she liked to "sit and stare at the wall." She thought there was something wrong with her, but I assured her it was her body and mind telling her she needed some complete "down time."

  2. Take a Deep Breath. "Take a deep breath" has become a cliché -- you hear it on sitcoms, in conversations, everywhere -- and for good reason. It helps!

  3. Observe the Natural Flow of Your Breath. This is perhaps the easiest way to relax with the breath. Take a break and simply bring your attention to your breathing. Notice how the breath moves in and out, how it feels, how your body moves as you breathe.

    Take time to become aware of all the details of the experience of breathing. Not only does this remind you to breathe (it's common to have shallow breathing in response to stress), but it can be comforting to connect with this natural rhythm of life. (It's a lot like watching the waves washing in and out at the ocean.)

  4. Lie Down and Rest. Even five minutes of lying down can be refreshing. Don't mind if you feel restless and your mind keeps coming up with reasons to get up.

    When you've been revving up the engine on a car, it takes a while for it to come to idle when you take your foot off the pedal. It can be like that when we take time to relax -- we need to let the body and mind gradually unwind.

Relax and Sleep Easy With the Premier Guided Meditation Music CDs

Pure Relaxation CDPure Relaxation CD

The Pure Relaxation CD will calm your mind, soothe your emotions and create a state of deep relaxation in your body. These meditations are unique in that they guide the listener to relax in a natural, effortless way.

Sleep Easy CDSleep Easy CD

If stress is keeping you up at night, the Sleep Easy CD -- with music by a renowned meditation music composer with 20 years experience -- will help you find deep rest and sleep. Users have reported falling asleep faster, waking up less throughout the night, falling back to sleep faster when awakened during the night and feeling more rested the next morning.

Learn more about the Pure Relaxation and Sleep Easy CDs, and their special combo price and FREE SHIPPING, now!

  1. Stretch. Simple stretching can do wonders. If you sit at a computer or do any work that causes you to remain in the same position for long periods of time, it is highly stressful. Stretch your arms and legs, bring your attention to your body and notice how it wants to move naturally. Watch little children before they've been trained to "sit still."

    It's natural to move and the body loves it!

    It takes just 15 to 20 minutes of stretching a day to experience the beneficial effects. And while there are countless stretches out there, it takes just 15 of them to stretch 95 percent of your body, according to Jacques Gauthier, a top stretching expert. Gauthier's highly recommended Stretching Toward a Healthier Life DVD shows you all 15 of these most effective stretching exercises, and the full program takes just 15 to 20 minutes a day.

Switching Gears: How to Go From Stressed to Serene, Fast

When you're feeling anxious and harried, it can be hard to shift gears into relaxation mode. Sometimes it takes a bit of push to get your mind and body to really calm down, and that's why the staff at Sixwise loves the CD Pure Relaxation: Guided Meditations for Body, Mind & Spirit.

In it Mary Maddux has captured the essence of everything she's learned over the years about how to help people relax effortlessly.

It's not a series of instructions giving you yet another thing to do. Instead the guided meditations on the Pure Relaxation CD help you to let go of effort, invoking your body's natural relaxation response.

Mary's voice-guided relaxations are accompanied by relaxing, soothing music thanks to her husband, Richard, who specializes in music for relaxation. It's designed to be an ideal tool for stress reduction, and using it repeatedly helps to develop a "relaxation habit" so that you find yourself automatically relaxing during the day.

The Pure Relaxation CD also makes a great gift for friends and family who need some help unwinding, and for a limited time you can get free shipping to anywhere in the world.

The bottom line is to make sure you have an effective arsenal of stress-reduction tools at your disposal, and that you use them regularly. For even more relaxation techniques to try out for yourself and your family, read these 15 tips to help you quickly shift your gears into relax mode.

Recommended Reading

Stress Now Proven to Cause Weight Gain in Women: Five Key Stress-Reduction Tips

Some Startling Stress and Anxiety Statistics and What You Can Do to Eliminate Your High-Stress


American Psychological Association October 7, 2008 October 7, 2008

To get more information about this and other highly important topics, sign up for your free subscription to our weekly "Be Safe, Live Long & Prosper" e-newsletter.

With every issue of the free newsletter, you’ll get access to the insights, products, services, and more that can truly improve your well-being, peace of mind, and therefore your life!

Share Email to a Friend Print This