National Relaxation Day

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This art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of energy in our great men.Captain J. A. Hadfield

Do you feel that stress is over rated? If so, you’ll appreciate an official reason to send it right out the window. National Relaxation Day─observed on August 15─was initially celebrated as National Slacker Day in Britain in 2001. It has since become popular in the United States as a way to promote leisure and wellness activities.

What does relaxation mean to you? It might be defined as refreshing your body, mind and spirit. Unwinding periodically is vital to your overall wellbeing. Too much stress not only damages productivity, motivation, and concentration, it can also promote illness as well as weight gain by causing the body to produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, which affects metabolism and fat storage. For many overworked Americans, true relaxation can feel like a lost art. But you can reclaim it. For example:

Tame tension with tea

Tea leaves are naturally rich in the amino acid L-Theanine. According to Dr. Michael Lyon, Medical & Research Director of the Canadian Center for Functional Medicine, L-Theanine is transported directly to the brain where it stimulates Alpha brain waves, helping to create an alert but relaxed state. Herbal teas such as chamomile and valerian also soothe away strain.

Curl up with carbs

Oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown rice and other complex carbohydrates have been shown to enhance your body levels of serotonin─a neurotransmitter that helps regulate moods and feelings of well-being. Bonus: the B-complex vitamins in these whole foods help calm your nerves as well.

Curtail caffeine

While you may love your morning coffee, caffeine stimulates your central nervous system. Consuming too much, especially later in the day, can contribute to stress and inhibit your ability to relax. Antioxidant-rich green tea offers a gentle lift with minimal caffeine. Or treat yourself to a square of high-quality dark chocolate for a jitter-free mood lifter.

Skip the sugar

Sugary foods and refined carbohydrates like white flour-based/commercial baked goods, sweets and desserts can inhibit relaxation by raising your blood sugar levels. The unhealthy crash that ensues can sap your energy and vitality. Whole food carbs paired with protein will keep you more productive now for worry-free relaxation later.

As you can see, what you eat and drink has a major effect on how you feel. These tips can help you better defy stress and invite relaxation─every day of the year.

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