Although stress often seems unavoidable in these modern times, by returning to natural rhythms it may be possible watch tension flow away.
Most of the focus on the Paleo lifestyle involves dietary habits and physical fitness, eating the right foods and pursuing a more active lifestyle. But even a modern caveman needs to relax every now and then.
Surely there must be ways to ease up a bit while staying true to those caveman roots, and as it turns out, the steps that need to be taken are much simpler than you might think.
For starters, keep in mind that relaxation for the caveman was, well, relaxing. They settled in for the night when it got dark and began their day when it was light.
Not surprisingly, then, the best way to start relaxing like a caveman starts with the lighting.
In cavemen times, there wasn’t harsh artificial light. The setting of the sun marked a soothing, gradual and natural way to end the day. Of course, the sun’s rise had a similar effect in the morning.
In those days, people molded their lives to their surroundings; now it’s usually the other way around. The alarm clock ringing has a jarring effect on the body. Being jolted from a sound sleep when it’s still dark outside is no way to start the day.
By the same token, going to bed bleary-eyed after working late or playing under harsh artificial lights that keep the body awake is unnatural, too.
Getting in tune with the natural rhythms of daylight can be difficult, particularly for those whose jobs require them to work extended hours at the office or who have long commutes. But there are always ways to at least make an effort to use nature’s rhythms to help relaxation.
A good starting point is to dim the lighting at home in the evening, moving away from stark florescent bulbs in favor of something more soothing, such as candles or a lit fireplace. A dimmer switch on existing lights can help, too.
In general, the house should be kept relatively dark. Use only the amount of light you really need. This will help you wind down in the evenings.
Then, start going to bed earlier and make it easier to awaken gradually. It won’t take long before this becomes your body’s natural cycle as well and the alarm clock will no longer be necessary.
Also, remember that cavemen did not have violent entertainment, like shoot-em-up video games or TV shows. Ignoring the moral question of violence in entertainment, the point is that “action” and “drama” gets folks riled up rather than calmed down.
As you seek a gentle descent into sleep, substitute activities that calm the brain, such as reading, sewing or listening to music. Avoid stimulation that will cause your body tension.
In general, the best way to relax is to listen to what your body is saying. When you are tired, go to sleep. Don’t fight it by drinking caffeinated beverages, turning the lights as bright as possible, or getting your body’s blood pumping right before bedtime. Do what comes naturally and relaxation should follow.
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