Stress is the reason for many health issues. Read this article to know about different relaxation methods.
There are lots of stressful events we face throughout our lives. It varies from minor inconveniences like traffic jams to more serious worries, such as a loved one's illness or even death. Whatever may be the cause, your body gets filled with stress hormones. The heart starts beating fast, breathing speeds up, and the muscles become tense. The "stress response" is quite a common reaction to any threatening situation. Earlier, it helped us survive dangerous conditions like any animal attack or any natural calamity. Although today we do not face these kinds of problems, the challenging circumstances in our day-to-day life can put us under stress. It is impossible to avoid all the sources of stress in our lives, but there are ways by which we can respond to them more healthily.
In this generation, relaxation means crashing on the couch and zoning out in front of the television at the end of a very stressful day. But this is not the solution. One way to manage stress is to invoke the "relaxation response."
The relaxation response is a state of complete rest that can be achieved with regular practice. This is a state of deep rest that puts brakes on stress, slows the breathing and heart rate, lowers the blood pressure, and brings the body and mind back into balance.
Following are types of relaxation techniques that can help to reduce stress:
Breath Focus: This is a simple, powerful technique in which long, slow, deep breaths (from the abdomen) are taken. The mind should be cleared of all the distracting thoughts and sensations. This type of relaxation technique helps people with eating disorders to help them positively view their bodies. This exercise should be avoided for people having breathing problems like respiratory ailments or heart failure.
Guided Imagery: Guided imagery or visualization, in this technique, one should beseech soothing scenes, places, or even experiences in their mind to relax and focus. There are many free applications and online recordings of calming views, and one must choose the imagery they find soothing and having personal significance or touch. This technique helps one to bring out a positive vision. But this technique might be difficult for those who have intrusive thoughts or those who find it hard to form a mental image.
Mindfulness Meditation: In this exercise, one should comfortably sit, and the focus should be on breathing and bringing the thoughts to the present moment without drifting into the past or future. This is the most popular kind of relaxation technique in recent times. Even research has shown that this technique may be helpful for people with anxiety, depression, and pain.
Body Scan: This technique is a blend of focusing on breath with muscle relaxation. After intake of deep breathing for a few minutes, focus the attention on the body or group of muscles in a single time, and mentally release any physical tension from there. This technique boosts the awareness of one's mind-body connection. If there is a recent history of surgery that affects your body image or any other difficulties with body image, this technique might not help.
Repetitive Prayer: You might have seen older adults chanting some short prayers or phrases. This technique is exactly like that. One should silently repeat a short prayer or phrase from a prayer while breathing practicing breath focus. This technique will be quite beneficial if one is more of a religious or spiritual person.
Yoga and Tai Chi: Yoga is one of the ancient forms of exercise. It involves a series of both stationary and moving poses combined with regular deep breathing. Yoga helps in reducing anxiety, and it also improves flexibility, strength, balance, and stamina. Since injuries are quite common while doing yoga, one must seek a professional practitioner before starting. The type of yogas that are best for stress are Hatha yoga and power yoga. Tai chi is a safe, low-impact option for all people with any fitness level, including older patients who are recovering from injuries. Tai chi is a solo series of self-paced, flowing body movements. Focus on movements and breathing, and the attention is on the present moment, which clears the mind and leads to a more relaxed state.
Rhythmic Movement and Mindful Exercise: Rhythmic exercise involves activity that gets one into the repetitive movement flow, which can produce a relaxation response. For example, running, walking, swimming, dancing, rowing, climbing, etc.
Relaxation techniques are mostly very easy. But it takes regular practice to harness their stress-relieving power truly.
Setting aside a particular time for practicing daily.
Smartphone applications and other aids in phones can also be used to the advantage.
Expect ups and downs during this period.
Benefits of Relaxation Technique:
Practicing relaxation techniques has many benefits, including:
Normal blood sugar levels are maintained.
The activity of stress hormones is reduced.
Blood flow to significant muscles is increased.
Reduction in muscle tension and chronic pain.
Improvement in concentration and mood.
Sleep quality improves.
Lowering of fatigue.
Reduction in anger and frustration.
Increase in the level of confidence to handle problems.
Experts say that rather than choosing just one technique, it is recommended to try several methods to see which one works the best. Practice for at least twenty minutes a day to get good results. But the longer and more often, one practices these relaxation techniques, the greater the benefits, and the stress level will be reduced. For gaining benefits, it is necessary to think positively, find humor, exercise, get enough sleep, and reach out to friends and family.
People with serious psychological issues and a history of abuse may not feel comfortable during relaxation techniques. Although this is rare, if some emotional discomfort is experienced, one should stop and consider talking to a doctor or mental health provider.
You can get help from our online platform for further doubts on relaxation techniques.
Last reviewed at:
01 Mar 2022 - 4 min read
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