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Relaxation: the antidote to stress

The pace of modern life can leave us little or no time for rest and recreation. However, relaxation is an important aspect of good health. Find out how you can reduce your stress levels.

Stress is a natural physical reaction to pressure and tension. It can have very positive effects and spur us on to deliver our very best, but there has to be a balance between tension and relaxation to allow our bodies to cope with stress. Permanent stress is detrimental to our health and can cause symptoms such as headaches, back pain, muscular tension, insomnia, high blood pressure and digestive problems.

Everyone relaxes in their own way. You should try a variety of relaxation methods to discover the one that is right for you.

Plan your day
Some people find it helpful to make a list of the things they have to do and the deadlines they have to meet. Day and week planners provide a framework for everyday activities and can help you to focus on the essentials, even when life becomes hectic. Structured planning can help you see difficulties and problems in a new way and shift your concentration to the next job on your list.

Exercise is good for you
Physical exercise is good for you and also helps reduce stress by triggering the release of endorphins. Find a sport which you really enjoy and which allows you to forget about the stresses of everyday life. Some people find that a simple walk in the fresh air does the trick. Walking in a natural environment blows the cobwebs away and gives you the mental space you need to organise your thoughts.

Meditation and yoga
Close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out: meditation can calm your mind and help you relax. Yoga also has a positive effect on general wellbeing. Combining breathing techniques with physical and mental exercises has a harmonising impact on the body and the entire nervous system. There are many different styles of yoga. One of the most popular is hatha yoga which incorporates several types of yoga and is ideal for beginners.

Learn to relax
Autogenic training and Jacobson's progressive muscle relaxation are techniques which can be learned and applied in everyday life. With autogenic training, which exploits the power of autosuggestion, a state of relaxation is reached by concentrating on different parts of the body. With progressive muscle relaxation, individual muscle group are tensed and relaxed, one after the other. It's probably best to learn these techniques with the help of an expert.

Keep the right balance
SWICA rewards activities relating to fitness and prevention, such as exercise, nutrition and relaxation (e.g. gyms memberships, massage, and relaxation classes) by offering generous contributions of up to CHF 800 per year under supplementary insurance plans. You can find out more here.