Reduce Stress Using Various Relaxation Techniques
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Eng, Rob
Workload coming in faster than you can finish. Difficulty clearing papers in the paper bin. Traffic jams and pollution stretching your patience. Relationship problems in the house and workplace. Kids needing your attention. These are just some of the daily struggles that almost every adult in this world faces every day. Stress can build up and make your health frail. Your immune system can be overwhelmed by it. You need to reduce stress by managing it or by using relaxation techniques.
Relaxation techniques are natural ways to help you with stress management. Relaxation is about more than just freeing your mind of anxieties or finding pleasure from a hobby. It is about perking your immune system to make it fight oxidative stress that can trigger a lot of metabolic disorders. Relaxation techniques are about coping with daily stress and anxieties to have help developing a healthier body and mind, not to mention a happier you.
Stress is a daily predicament. You need to learn to manage it to be able to live with it and its repercussions. Whether it still continues to plague you or you have it tamed already, you can still profit from learning relaxation techniques. These are not as hard as they sound. Often they are free of cost if you just learn how to use them. Your challenge is how to explore these easy relaxation techniques and embrace them to de-stress your life and improve your health.
Benefits of Relaxation Techniques
Stress can be overpowering. It can deflate your motivation. It can make you physically weak. It can be demoralizing. The good news is that it can be countered using relaxation techniques. Using relaxation techniques along with other positive coping methods and mechanisms - getting enough hours of rest and sleep, doing physical activities and exercise, and having a wonderful support system - make them more effective. It can even reduce stress symptoms by:
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Slackening your breathing rate
- Decelerating your heartbeat
- Improving blood flow to principal organs
- Decreasing muscle tightness and lingering pain
- Improving abilities to mentally focus
- Managing rage and frustration
- Bolstering self-assurance to deal with and manage problems
Exploring Relaxation Techniques
There is no single effective relaxation technique that works for everyone. Different people succeed with different techniques. Thus, your goal is to explore and discover what can work best for you considering your specific requirements, preferences, level of fitness, and the manner by which you are inclined to respond to stress. How would you know if a technique will work for you? It must fit and echo your lifestyle. You can also combine or integrate a few techniques to elicit the kind of relaxation response you want.
To know what techniques are worth trying, you need to evaluate your kind of responses to certain stresses such as:
- 1Do you easily get angry, disturbed, or anxious?Advertisement
- If you do, you will react best to relaxation techniques that can help you relax.
- These are deep breathing, meditation, or guided imagery.
- 2Are you inclined to be hyper inside, but slackening on the outside? If you have these kinds of responses, you may need to find a relaxation technique that will help you find safe ways to reactivate yourself. Good techniques in these cases include power yoga or mindfulness walking.Advertisement
- 3Do you have the tendency to easily become unhappy, thoughtful, or lonesome? Our challenge is to find relaxation techniques that can stir you into action or that will invigorate your nerves. One good example is rhythmic exercise.
- 4Is being alone necessary for you to be inspired, or do you need people to be stimulated?
- If you find solitude relaxing, then solo relaxation techniques should work well for you. These include things like progressive muscle relaxation and meditation.
- If you need other people to find the stimulation and relaxation you are looking for, try relaxation techniques that are applicable to class settings or those techniques that allow practicing with another person.
Stress can be very unpleasant. You may feel that tightness in your stomach, or the blood surging in your ears. Perhaps your heart flutters fast, sometimes even missing a beat. If all these happen too often, you are putting your health on the line. If you will not try to learn some critical relaxation techniques, soon you'll be a wreck - physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
Did you know that a few minutes each day is all it takes to help ease anxiety, to de-stress and prevent the development of depression? There are all kinds of things you can explore, allowing you to try new techniques and figure out what works best for you. Here are a few techniques that you can experiment with:
- 1Meditation with Focus on Breathing:
- Get in a relaxed sitting position. Maintain an upright back. Feel your deep breathing by putting one of your hands flat on your stomach and the other on your chest.
- Get yourself to concentrate on your breathing. Free your mind from whatever is bothering or stressing you out.
- Inhale through your nose. This should make the hand on your tummy rise while the one on the chest should move just a bit.
- Breathe out through your mouth. Try to push as much air out as you can while keeping your abdominal muscles tight or contracted. This time, the hand on your stomach should move in. The hand on your chest should move very little.
- Do these steps repeatedly, exhaling slowly when breathing.
- Check your position. If sitting down is uncomfortable, try lying down on the floor.
- Guided imagery or visualization lets you use your senses as important elements in a relaxation technique. In this technique, you imagine a thing, person or scene to let go of the causes of your anxiety and stress.
- Look for something that totally relaxes you, like a garden or playground that you remember from childhood. You can also imagine someone like your mom, who has always been a symbol of reassurance to you. Let your mind take you to that restful place or with that person. If your visualization is effective, you can see, smell, hear and feel everything. If you are visualizing a secluded and pristine beach, for example:
- Look at the sunset and take note of the changing hues and tints of the sky.
- Look at the rippling waters as small waves rush to the shore.
- Hear the sound as the waves break and feel the energy released.
- Feel the warmth of the water as your bare feet sink in the equally warm sand.
- Taste the salt spray and the breeze blowing on your face and hair.
- Let yourself enjoy the relaxed state you are in. When ready, open your eyes and allow yourself to return to reality.
- Feel comfortable. This may mean wearing loose outfits and taking off shoes.
- Relax your mind and body. Breathing can help you do this. Take in deep breaths slowly and exhale slowly too through your mouth.
- Start from feet and up. This is how most people doing progressive muscle relaxation. They start low, and slowly progress up to the face. Focus on your right foot and how it feels. Squeeze your muscles there as tight as possible for a count of 10.
- Ease your muscles at the right foot. Focus on how all tension flows away. Maintain this relaxed state for a while. Continue breathing with self-awareness.
- Do the same thing to your left foot. Follow the step by step process, alternately tensing and relaxing the muscles.
- Now move up. Do the same thing all the way up, tensing and relaxing muscles all the way to the face.
- Start by getting in a relaxed lying down position. Relax your arms at the sides, and keep your eyes either open or closed, depending on what is comfortable for you. Do the breathing exercise and concentrate on it your breathing relaxes and you feel calm.
- Start by making yourself aware of the toes on your right foot. Imagine your breathing channeling the oxygen to the toes. Stay here for about 2 minutes.
- Continue feeling the sensations on the other parts of the foot, moving up. Keep your mind attuned to what you are feeling on the sole, and then the right ankle, up to the calf, knee, and through the thigh and hip. Do the same thing with the left foot and leg.
- Move up to the torso, tummy, lower back, upper back and pectorals. As you do this, focus on the sore parts of your body.
- Repeat the process for your right hand and arm. Start at your fingers, then wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm and shoulder. Do the same with the left arm.
- Move to your neck and throat. Now move your attention to the facial areas, the back and top of your head.
- When you are done, imagine hovering above. yourself. Breathe and open your eyes. Your body scan is complete. Stretch and relax.
- An unobtrusive corner. You need a place in the house where there is quiet and where you can be alone to think. If you want to do this outdoors, find a spot where you can do your thing without distractions.
- Settle in a comfortable position. Find a comfortable sitting position, like the lotus position or one where your spine is straight. Avoid lying down as it can make you fall asleep.
- Find a point of focus. It can be a physical thing or something imaginary. You can focus on it with your eyes open or closed. It can even be a word or phrase you can repeat like a mantra.
- Relax your thoughts in a noncritical manner. If some thought and ideas cross your mind, you need not fight it; strive to get back to your original point of focus.
Stress is natural; it is something that everyone experiences. The difference lies in the way each person copes, using relaxation techniques. You need not struggle with stress if you have found a technique that works for you.