The most useful and practical thing
is to learn, and regularly practise, relaxation
of the whole body. Lying down on a firm
bed, hold the limbs up in turn until slight
fatigue develops, then let the arm or leg fall
like a bag of sand. Allow your feet and calves
to sink into the bed, then your bottom, back and
shoulders. Open your mouth and allow your head
to sink back.
It is advisable to examine your
life-style. Is the business too much?
Do you come home in time for an evening meal
with the family? Is housework and/or caring for
your children becoming too much for you to cope?
Are you too obsessed with detail? Are you too
tired to appreciate home life? Joint domestic
problems, especially those concerning finance,
should discussed by the whole family, not taken
on by you alone. Extra-marital affairs are a
serious and frequent cause of anxiety and must
be put in perspective alongside the rest of the
lives of those involved. Diversionary activity,
such as gardening, walking and other physical
activity, visiting friends or doing some craft
work, all may help, and painting in particular
is excellent therapy.
Study carefully the times and
situations that cause tension and try to remake
your programme. For example, it is
known that aggressive driving raises blood
pressure, so learn to drive skilfully and calmly
without competitiveness, and leave enough time
to make your journey without having to hurry.
Some people have a quickly lowering level of
sugar in the blood (too little will make you
feel unwell), so study any relationship there
might be between feeling up well and tense and
the eating of meals or fasting. If necessary,
eat something to avoid this kind of reaction (if
driving a long distance, take along a snack).
It is not always easy to personally
study one's own situation, so it may be
beneficial to seek the help of a psychotherapist
for this type of exploration.
Particularly in middle life it is a good idea to
work out where out are going and what your life
is all about, so that retirement and ageing,
when business striving and career drive will
have to be modified, can be accepted calmly. A
stress situation in which you feel trapped and
see no way out needs special study. Other
possible means of combating tension are
meditation, yoga, hypnotism, bio-feedback
techniques (identifying the rhythms of the body
cycle by means of electrical impulses),
deliberately focusing interest away from the
itself, and relaxation training by
physiotherapists or other skilled persons.