What is Stress? health article by Martin Mayer

With a stressful lifestyle - long working hours, less time for exercise, leisure and relaxation and our increasing reliance on television and the internet - it is more important than ever to make time away from this. Stress is our body's reaction to events that threaten us. In a hostile environment, stress could be the difference between survival and death. For example, if threatened by another animal or person, stress hormones would be released proportionately with the perceived threat. Then, adrenalin released and increasing blood pressure would lead to aggression, anger or fear of that threat.

In our society, this loss of control could lead to unacceptable consequences - we have to abide by a moral code governed by our laws. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of people hold in this anger, aggression, fear and worry. In doing this, we burn up more energy doing nothing about the causes of the stress. This leads to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Anyone, of any age, can suffer from stress and its effects can be equally debilitating.

Relaxation music or relaxing music (also known as meditation music or yoga music) can be used as part of stress relief or relaxation technique. Most importantly, try to remove yourself from stressful situations or learn to deal with the fear, anxiety or annoyance that causes them. As this is not always possible, it is important to have time away from these situations to unwind and relax. Try to find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and listen to relaxing music. Listen to relaxation music at a volume level that is high enough to mask any background noise but not so high as to be overbearing. In a busy workplace or home, headphones are useful.

The music should not be too distracting and should be carefully composed to be easy to listen to. Music should be upbeat but also interesting and different enough to capture the imagination and become a suitable focus for relief. Nature sounds enhance the experience as this helps you to imagine a place of peace, calm, tranquility and serenity. It is best to use music written specifically for relaxation, although you could use any music that you find particularly relaxing. This technique is most useful if it can be practiced for a significant amount of time - more than half an hour. However, it can be effective if used for just a few minutes at break times.

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