Rx: Relax

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From Busy to Blissful

Try these slow-down strategies:

Enlist the help of friends.

If you think you're the only one staking out time to read a book, you're likely to feel as if the world is passing you by. But if a friend is doing it with you, you'll feel better about it. "We can foster relaxation for each other," says Ronald Nathan, Ph.D., co-author of Stress Management (Ballantine, 1985). "You can do it by taking turns relieving each other of some obligation, such as child care, or you can simply spend time doing nothing with a friend."

Create cues that signal relaxation.

After you've been on the go, it can be difficult to force yourself to unwind. So send a signal to your body -- and mind -- that it's time to slow down. It could be something as simple as changing into jeans after work, or putting on some classical music.

Turn off all electronics.

That includes the phone, fax machine, computer and TV -- anything that stimulates. Once you disconnect from the world, you'll be better able to enjoy dinner with your family or a compelling book.

Let go of the guilt.

By giving yourself time to rejuvenate, you're actually doing your family a favor. "After I spent an hour reading a book, I was able to enjoy the time I had with my daughter, Sarah, more than usual because I was so relaxed," says Alice Domar, Ph.D., director of the Mind/Body Institute for Women's Health, in Boston. "I think she benefited from that." --Sandi Kahn Shelton



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