A recent study shows there are many benefits associated with taking a vacation, including feeling better, managing stress more effectively, improving sleep patterns, reducing blood pressure, strengthening relationships, living longer and increasing libido. The same study determined that most people deem themselves too busy to take a vacation and, as you can imagine, economic concerns enter into this decision as well. In fact, you might say, "I don't have time" to avoid admitting the more embarrassing truth — "I can't afford it." Unfortunately, this cover-up takes a toll on our mental health and is stressful in itself.
Although commercials, websites and brochures show peaceful, relaxing pictures, there are many details that go into a successful vacation. If just one of those is out of whack, like a flight delay or a mistake in hotel reservation, the fun, stress-relieving experience you planned and looked forward to could become more stressful than staying home. Fortunately, it is possible to have a more relaxing, peaceful life every day.
You see, the subconscious mind does not know the difference between what is imagined and what is real. So the imagination is fertile ground for creating a daily vacation and the subconscious mind will accept it as real, which is why, with practice, you will begin to reap the same benefits of a physical vacation. However, using your imagination in this way requires practice. Here's how:
1. Set aside time for two, five-minute breaks per day.
2. Find a quiet place, sit with arms and legs uncrossed and close your eyes.
3. Take slow, deep breaths — in through your nose, out through your mouth.
4. Think about what you are grateful for (e.g. a loved one, sunny day, great career, healthy body, this peaceful time you're taking to relax).
5. Focus on your breath; feel it enter and exit your body.
6. Focus on your heartbeat; feel it first in your chest and then in your fingertips.
7. Imagine yourself somewhere peaceful.
8. Notice the details. Is it warm or is there a cool breeze? What are you doing? Are you with anyone? What are you able to reach out and touch in your imagined vacation? What is there to eat and drink? Notice how it tastes. How do you feel? Take it all in.
9. Take a slow, deep breath and relax.
10. Count to three and open your eyes.
There are excellent videos with guided visualizations/mini-vacations at Deepak Chopra's website, as well as many from other people on YouTube to help you practice.
Important note: If you find during practice that negative thoughts or pictures enter into your imagination, simply say, "Thank you for sharing," and allow them to move on alone without your attention. They are just a test and when they decrease, you'll be feeling even better. Giving them attention makes them real. This is why we practice. Soon, it will be second nature to take mini-vacations for two or three minutes throughout your day. I look forward to hearing how you do. Let me know in the comment area below or contact me at Positive Women Rock.
For more positive instruction, encouragement and support in your journey toward relaxation and feeling better about yourself and your life, visit Positive Women Rock. You'll get a weekly Positive Woman Tip and my free eBook and audio book, "Women: 5 Mistakes We Make That Give Our Power Away."
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