Re­lax­ing in the Dig­i­tal Age

RSWLiving - - Departments - BY ANN MARIE O’PHE­LAN

For Melissa DeHaven, a South­west Florida de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor, wife and mother, en­joy­ing a bit of re­lax­ation is a sa­vored oc­ca­sion. “My days are busy, and there isn’t a lot of time to re­lax,” says DeHaven.

For this on- the- go mom and oth­ers like her, the In­ter­net has made it eas­ier to find the place and the time to re­lax.

“I use the In­ter­net of­ten, but for more than just work- re­lated or busi­ness- re­lated rea­sons,” says DeHaven, who said that she also spends time on the In­ter­net to free her mind and un­wind. Of­ten just a few min­utes on the right web­site, such as one that pro­vides good news, re­lax­ing mu­sic, in­spi­ra­tional mes­sages or med­i­ta­tive sounds, is all it takes for her to slow down and re­fo­cus.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, 70 per­cent of Amer­i­cans have In­ter­net ac­cess, and there are ap­prox­i­mately 644 mil­lion ac­tive web­sites. While many In­ter­net sites are busi­nes­sori­ented, news- ori­ented or shop­ping- ori­ented, there are also plenty of sites that of­fer a place to go re­lax and get happy.

“We have to have time out to recharge,” says Stacey C. Brown, a li­censed men­tal health coun­selor in pri­vate prac­tice and di­rec­tor of the Hu­man Ser­vices Pro­gram at Edi­son State Col­lege.

“Tak­ing even 10 min­utes each day to just sit and do noth­ing and clear our mind

and breathe is help­ful,” adds Brown, who em­pha­sizes that time should be taken out ev­ery sin­gle day.

“We have to hit the re­set but­ton on our com­put­ers to force a start over. It’s the same with our brains,” says Brown, who ex­plains that people try to do so much and mul­ti­task on top of it, that some­times we’ve pressed too many but­tons. In­stead, we should press our own restart but­ton.’’

Re­lax­ation tech­niques such as yoga, med­i­ta­tion, deep breath­ing and guided im­agery, where pleas­ant thoughts re­place neg­a­tive ones, all ac­ces­si­ble through the In­ter­net, can help coun­ter­act the ef­fects of long- term stress.

“Long- term stress can cause or worsen health prob­lems such as de­pres­sion, di­ges­tive dis­or­ders, headaches, high blood pres­sure and in­som­nia,” Brown says.

There is a plethora of web­sites de­signed to free the mind. For ex­am­ple, calm. com of­fers vis­i­tors calm­ing im­agery and ac­com­pa­ny­ing sound that they can set for a spe­cific time limit, from two to 20 min­utes. Vis­i­tors can also en­joy a guided calm that al­lows them to choose a scene and lis­ten to a voice that guides them in re­lax­ing for a spe­cific time pe­riod of their choos­ing.

Those who want to re­lease their wor­ries might en­joy the­qui­et­pla­ce­pro­, where vis­i­tors can visit dif­fer­ent rooms, such as the Dawn Room, where they can



wash away their sad­ness, or the Thoughts Room, where they can write down their thoughts and send them out into In­ter­net space. There’s also a 90- sec­ond re­lax­ation ex­er­cise that helps vis­i­tors to un­wind.

Oth­ers who want to en­joy an up­lift­ing story might en­joy hap­, a web­site where pos­i­tive in­ter­na­tional real- world sto­ries can be viewed, such as the re­cent, World’s 10 Most Beau­ti­ful High­ways,” and “Cana­dian Man Born


Blind Sees for the First Time at Age 68.”

Com­fort­ing im­ages can up­lift our spir­its and there are also web­sites de­signed to do just that. On cu­teover­, vis­i­tors can en­joy a gallery of im­agery of an­i­mals such as a guinea pig in a col­or­ful knitted sweater or a new­born baby go­rilla at the zoo.

DeHaven en­joys lis­ten­ing to var­i­ous med­i­ta­tion sounds and mu­sic that she finds through searches on YouTube, and

also lis­tens to No­rah Jones, an Amer­i­can singer and song­writer, via 2. no­

“I try to grab a few peace­ful mo­ments both be­fore I start and end my day,” says DeHaven, who also en­joys read­ing travel web­sites, such as kayak. com.

Brown has a few on­line fa­vorites that she sug­gests, such as Daniel Amen, amen­clin­, for nu­tri­tion and brain health; Jon Ka­bat Zinn, mind­ful­ness­, for mind­ful­ness and med­i­ta­tion, and Mar­i­anne Wil­liamson, mar­i­anne. com, for re­minders about mir­a­cles and grate­ful­ness.

“Deepak Cho­pra, ( deep­ak­chopra. com), also has help­ful lessons and in­for­ma­tion on mind­ful­ness, re­lax­ation and let­ting go of stress,” Brown says.

While it’s im­por­tant to re­lax in ways that don’t rely on a com­puter, such as walk­ing, prac­tic­ing yoga or tak­ing part in med­i­ta­tion, it’s eas­ier than ever to get away from it all thanks to the In­ter­net. Just re­mem­ber to book­mark your fa­vorites. Ann Marie O’Phe­lan is a South­west Florida res­i­dent who likes to kick back on the In­ter­net when she isn’t work­ing. Just a few min­utes of re­lax­ation ev­ery day can mean a lot and bring a smile to your face.

Melissa DeHaven spends time ev­ery day lis­ten­ing to re­lax­ing mu­sic and let­ting her mind go free. It’s peace­ful process that is an im­por­tant part of her day.

Dr. Stacy Brown, di­rec­tor of the Hu­man Ser­vices Pro­gram at Edi­son State Col­lege, says the In­ter­net is a great way to re­duce stress.

The web­site the­qui­et­pla­ce­pro­ject. com was de­signed to help people un­wind.

Life can be stress­ful, even on the is­lands. But the In­ter­net can take you any­where you want to be with only a few clicks of the but­tons.

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