Progressive Muscle Relaxation Can Change Your Life

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Can Change Your Life

We all need to relax sometimes.

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Relaxing is something many people, especially college students don't have time to do. It's hard to find time in our busy schedules to sit down and push the stress away.

I feel like I am constantly on the go. I always have somewhere to be or an assignment to turn in before 11:59 p.m. Finding time to relax is hard for me. I found that I was always tense. My shoulders especially were always rigid because I was so used to being in stressful situations. When I was in these situations, my whole body would tense up. I had been living in that tense state most of the time.

I spoke to a counselor about my stress and asked how I could manage it better. She told me that guided meditation helps a lot. She also suggested something called "progressive muscle relaxation." This is basically like guided meditation, but instead of the speaker telling you to clear your mind and lay still, they tell you to tense each part of your body at a time and then to let go of the tension, while relaxing into a comfortable position. It also helps you focus on your breathing so that you calm down.

I thought the idea of it sounded strange and I didn't understand how tensing up muscles and then relaxing them would help anything, but then I tried it. I can honestly say it was life-changing. I tried it for the first time one night after a busy week of exams. I was so stressed out and anxious that I couldn't sleep. I went to YouTube and searched up a video on it and closed my eyes as it played. I followed along and immediately started feeling calmer. My heart rate slowed down and I finally felt at ease.

This video helped me incorporate muscle relaxation techniques into my everyday life. Sometimes when I'm out somewhere and I notice that my posture is stiff, I'll tense my muscles for a few seconds, and then I'll let go of the tension. Doing this has helped decrease my stress levels a ton. I am finally able to relax a bit more when I am in stressful situations.

Progressive muscle relaxation is something I definitely recommend to anyone who feels tense and is looking for a way to relax. Guided meditation is also great for when you want to clear your mind of any worries or fears.

Check out this video if you want to start your relaxation journey today!

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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.

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Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100 percent real" and that incoming freshman should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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3 Videos To Start Your Yoga Journey Off On The Right Foot

Yoga: not only a physical exercise, but a mental release that will leave you happier, healthier, and more in touch with your body.

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It's important for us to incorporate a variety of physical activities and exercises into our normal routines in order to keep our bodies strong, happy, and healthy. Many people, however, think of "exercise," solely as intense cardio or heavy weight lifting session. While those are both great forms of exercise, nobody should be so hyper-focused on the intensity of a workout as a sole criterion that they overlook the validity a slower yet equally beneficial option like yoga incorporated into our routine once in a while.

It is just as important to push our bodies as it is to give them time to rest and heal. Yoga is a way to connect your mind to your body and to explore your body's limits. It is a way to slow things down, allowing for a release of tensions from your body and mind. Studies have shown that people who practice yoga on a regular basis experience less stress, feel happier, and are more in tune with their emotions. Additionally, yoga is an easy way to increase muscle tone, strength, and flexibility. Haven't convinced you yet? Yoga can also increase energy levels, help to balance metabolism and improve circulatory and cardiovascular health.

Since I have started practicing yoga, I have seen changes in every aspect of my life. A few years ago I learned to start listening to my body when it told me it needed a break. I like to start every morning with a workout. If I wake up feeling sore and fatigued, instead of painfully pushing through an intense workout like I used to, I simply pull up one of the following videos and allow myself to heal and recharge for the day while still feeling satisfied having done something physical to start my day.

Since implementing that, not only have I noticed a change in the way my body feels, with higher energy levels and more endurance in my workouts the following days, but I also notice myself feeling more at peace throughout my days. I think straighter, and become far less irritable. My anxiety levels go down and I have more patience. I have been practicing yoga for nearly six years now, which has given me plenty of time to find some wonderful videos to use. Here are my top five, suitable for any level yogi to use with modifications to make your session more or less difficult depending on what your body needs.

1.25 Minute Fat Burning Yoga Meltdown Beginner & Intermediate

This is a video that I have used so many times that I think I have memorized every word by now. This video is part three of a three-part yoga for weight loss series. If you are a beginner, use this video but also check out the first two videos which may be helpful for you in learning some basic terminology and poses!!! I prefer the third video greatly over the other two but please feel free to try the others as well.

First of all, it's short (25 minutes) so you can squeeze it in at any time of the day, whether it is a quick morning session or a mental break between class. It is very mild and by far the least difficult of the three videos I will share, however you will still feel a nice burn in your legs and a good full body stretch. I also absolutely love the instructor, she is happy and fun to listen to, even after a hundred times listening! Trust me you will use this video all the time.

2. Full Body Flow - Intermediate Vinyasa Flow Yoga Workout

This video says it is an intermediate level, and you will notice that it is slightly more challenging than the first video I shared if you end up trying them both. That being said, it includes options for modification which allow any level of practices to successfully complete. In this video, you will be doing a series of Vinyasa Flows which is a great way to bring your body into a rhythm. It is also a great way to keep your muscles feeling balanced and to bring a sense of symmetry into your workout. You can expect everything you do on one side to be repeated exactly the same on the second side.

This video will test your strength and flexibility, and allow you to reach full relaxation and focus in a short 35 minute time spans.

3. Fluid Flow Intermediate/Challenging Yoga Class

Leigh Butler is an incredibly talented yoga instructor. Of all the videos I have shared with you in this post, this video will be the most challenging. I still encourage you to try it as there are modifications throughout the video which allow you to take it easier or more difficult variations on the poses.

This is also a longer video, it is a full hour long practice. When going into this workout you should expect to challenge your body. It will be a challenge of strength and flexibility that will leave you feeling energized and free of any tightness throughout the rest of your day. If at any point in the video something is too hard, just take a break and what feels good for your body until you are able to jump back in. Good luck!

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