- Meditate. If you can't meditate because you can't concentrate, than practice so that you can. Meditation is one of the best methods available to revealing stress. The reason we want to eliminate stress is because it negatively affects our body over time. Initially, it speeds your heart rate up, increases blood-brain flow, increases muscle tension, and speeds up breathing. Prolonged effects of stress include, but are not limited to, chronic fatigue, weakened immune system (from the steroids released), and can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Alright, so now that I've worked in a little scare tactic, let's learn the basics in meditation. Close your eyes and breathe slowly, it can help to count to 3 when inhaling, and to 6 when exhaling. What this does is help remove the excess carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals in the body. It also lowers the heart rate. Next, try to relax each part of your body separately. Start low, such as your feet, and on the exhale, release all tension in that area of the body, then move up. the body until everything is relaxed except your thoughts. Now imagine yourself in a place where no one else is around. It should come naturally to you. My meditation spot is on the cliff of a rocky beach with long grass on a summer sunset. In the back is a cool forest. This spot should be somewhere that relaxes your thoughts. Once you do this, try to keep your head empty of thoughts. Every time you think of something, dismiss it, reject it, remove it for the time being. What this does is bring your brain waves down to the theta level, which is right next to the brain wave levels for sleeping. It refreshes your brain and makes you able to think more clearly, and stay more relaxed. It also makes it easier to remember, comprehend, accept, and process things. You want to do this for about 20 minutes a day. If, however, after trying it, you can't do it, you can use something called binaural beats, which will artificially bring your brainwaves down to the theta level.
- Do everything with a positive point of view. Not only will this improve your ability to avoid stress, but it will make you happier. If you're always dreading events and what not, you will release hormones that account for depression and stress, even if you aren't stressed. Long term affects will dimly relate to those of stress, but not to the same extent. Basically, your skin will look less radiant and be more prone to acne if you dread events, or stay depressed. If you fake smile, fake laugh, fake happiness, you'll end up making it a reality, so don't embrace the negative point of view.
- Completely contradicting myself here, you need to make sure you're sad at times. "There is no peace without war" (Tolstoy). Now this is an interesting statement, however, it makes perfect sense. It basically says that there can not be one thing without its opposite. Likewise, you can't be happy without experiencing sadness. This will take a lot of self control, but you need to find a way to make yourself sad for a small amount of time each day so that you can be generally very happy for the rest of the day. The psychology of happiness will increase your health by a large margin. You just need to make sure you have a way of getting out of your sadness, if you get locked in, it can get ugly.
- Music. Music is my last part of the advance section. The kind of music will not only affect your mood, but it will affect your brain function as well. Listening to sad music will make you sad (this is how I sadden myself each day, and sleep is my exit), listening to happy music will make you happy. That is very basic, so we will go into more advance functions that deal with music. The complexity of the music plays a large role in its affects on your mental state. More complex music, in general, boosts critical thinking abilities. For the record, rap in not complex, where as classical music is. (This is not always the case, as there are some rather non-complex classic pieces out there) If you're unsure on which classical music is complex, just search for the major artists, such as mozart, sebelius, beethoven, brahms, bach, ect. Now, on to the next element of music. Music, as in writing, generally has a mood. The mood associated with it can change your mood as well. For instance, heavy, angry metal music usually makes a person more angry. When rats listened to it, they ended up killing each other. A pop-y or preppy piece of music usually makes a person feel more up beat, awake, or happy. It is a good idea to try to combine the mood and complexity of music that is fitted to your current needs, not so much for good sound. I rarely listen to newer music because it is not as complex as older music, however, it has a lot preppier mood, and therefor I listen to it very occasionally in order to have a better mood when I can sacrifice higher brain function.
So here we are, it's not only the way you treat yourself physically, but the way you treat yourself mentally that produces a healthier state. You need to make sure you have high self-esteem to be mentally and socially healthy, but be modest about it, no one wants to be around an egocentric twat.
Until next time.