There is no denying the fact that stress management has become a much-needed skill in this day and age and relaxation techniques are a great way of managing your stress successfully. Relaxing the right way can help decrease the after-effects of a stressful lifestyle, ensuring a happy and healthy life. In fact, relaxation techniques can help you overcome some health problems as well, most importantly heart disease and muscular pain.
Sometimes we don’t even realize that the stress is causing our lives to spiral out of control. It is the unseen enemy. Stress can impact our personal and professional lives, damaging relationships and people as we go along. That is why it is essential to learn and practice relaxation techniques to prevent stress from ruining our lives. Basic relaxation techniques are easy to learn, pose little to no risk, are pretty much free of cost and can be practiced anywhere.
Let’s explore a bit more!
The advantages of using relaxation techniques
Unfortunately, our health and relaxation aren’t a priority for us. Life, job, family, work and other demands of living have taken over, leaving us with a sense of defeat and exhaustion. But all these added responsibilities make it even more important for us to relax once in a while and take deep breaths.
And there’s so much more to relaxation techniques. Here are just a few of the overall benefits of practicing relaxation techniques:
- Lower heart rate
- Optimal blood pressure
- Better breathing
- Improved digestion
- Normal blood sugar levels
- Fewer stress hormones
- Increasing blood flow
- Reducing muscle tension
- Enhanced quality of sleep
- Significant reduction in anger and frustration
- More confidence, less fatigue.
The good news is that relaxation techniques are just one side of the coin. There is also a connection between physical exercise and the brain. Other positive coping mechanisms include finding humor in a stressful situation, thinking positively, managing your time the right way, getting enough sleep and when all else fails, reaching out to friends and loved ones for a kind shoulder to cry on.
A Harvard Medical School Special Health Report, discussing the Approaches for Preventing and Reducing Stress, explains that relaxation is a state of complete and profound rest, and this state can be elucidated in a variety of ways.
6 Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief
Here are 6 of the best relaxation techniques that can help with stress relief and boost relaxation:
1. Breath focus
This is a simple, easy and effective exercise that is proven to work in times of stress and anxiety. Take deep, long breaths. Find a calm, quiet place if possible, and just practice abdominal or belly breathing. As you breathe, consciously feel the negative thoughts and distracting sensations leave your body for good. It is is a powerful way of overcoming your anxiety and stress. But please be warned that it may not be appropriate for those with health issues and breathing difficulties.
2. Body Scan
This relaxation technique brings together breathing with a focus on muscle relaxation. Start off by practicing deep breaths for a few minutes, and then bring your attention sequentially to one part of the body at a time and feel the muscles there relax. Now release the physical tension you may be feeling in the area. This mental body scan helps boost the mind-body connection and It speeds up the healing process and relieves the anxiety and stress-related issues.
3. Guided imagery
You can use your imagination and guided imagery to effectively get rid of stress. Close your eyes and think about a soothing experience, place, people or scenes. Let your imagination help you relax and focus on better things.
If you are too stressed out to even think about good things, well, then there’s an app for that. You can find free smartphone apps with pictures, videos, and recordings of calming scenes and sounds. This guided imagery can remind you of things that really matter, and help you fight intrusive, destructive thoughts.
4. Mindfulness meditation
Sit down comfortably and again, focus on your breathing. But this time around instead of drifting away, bring your thoughts to the present time. Don’t go into the past or future. Just be. Research suggests that mindfulness meditation helps people suffering from depression, anxiety, and even chronic pain.
5. Yoga and tai chi
The ancient Chinese arts promote wellness by using flowing movements and relaxing postures that ensure the flow of energy through the body. There is beautiful wisdom behind these arts but practicing yoga and tai chi can be quite a challenge for those suffering from health problems. If you are ordinarily active though, then yoga, tai chi, and even qigong should help you with stress and anxiety. It is desirable to check with your doctor before starting these exercises and meditation regimens.
6. Repetitive prayers
This is a beautiful and powerful way of dealing with anxiety, stress and other negative emotions. If spirituality and religion play a central role in your life, you will enjoy this exercise of repeating prayers. To practice, just repeat a short prayer or a phrase from a prayer you like and do it while holding your breath over and over. You will soon feel the therapeutic effects of this exercise as your body and mind achieve a relaxed state.
The last word: Relaxation techniques take practice
Instead of choosing just one relaxation technique to work with, why not sample each one several times and come up with one that suits you perfectly? Practice every day, even if it is just for a few minutes every day. As you start doing it more consistently, you will become expert at it and will be able to benefit from it. This will also help train your mind and body to create a default stress response so you can automatically go into relaxation mode to help with stress relief.