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Stress is a substantial factor of 21st century life and with the holidays approaching its intensity mounts. In addition to routine tasks, plans for parties and gatherings require shopping for food and gifts, perhaps cleaning the house, and trying to navigatae preparing for guests or to be the guests of others in a cordial way. Family members and friends may not get along--perhaps the biggest challenge of all. For some anxiety about the holidays occurs because they are ill, live alone or in some way incapacitated and have few or no friends or family to be with.
How to relax is the major question which can be answered by referring to vast scientific evidence that shows how the relaxation response counteracts the consequences of stress and quiets the nervous system. Being in such a relaxed state involves a narrowed focus to the exclusion of everything else which provides an atmosphere of trust. And within the bounds of such an experience, our innermost vulnerabilites and potentials can be unconditionally embraced, which stimualtes the growth of healthy nerve cells in our brains. And without our knowing this growth often happens when we are in nature. Who doesn't know the delights of an open field or wooded area in which a flowing creek sings, the gentle wind murmurs, and trees offer up their soothing protection? Our connection to nature is primal and use of it can heal anxiety and tone down the effects of stress.
Thus the answer to the question is: if possible once a day take a walk in nature, sit in a comfortable place and allow your focus to absorb the quieting influence of Mother Nature. If you are unable to walk you can sit in a comfortable chair or lie on a bed and imagine youself in nature. It may be a place you visited previously, or one you've seen in a movie, video, or a painting on the wall. As you quiet your mind and breathe in the energy of Mother Nature, the relaxation response takes over as you experience the beauty, comfort, safety and peace of this natural state. It's a marvelous event that in this relaxed state you not only reduce the effects of stress, but also stimulate growth of new healthy brain cells!