Stress and anxiety can be a big problem in today’s busy world, as they can get in the way of leading a normal lifestyle. Fortunately, relaxation exercises may help us manage stress and reduce feelings of anxiety or depression. Relaxation provides a way to decrease tension and stress in the body and mind. It can help reduce the effects stress and anxiety can have on our physical and mental health.
You can use relaxation techniques to help manage everyday stressors, stressful life situations, or feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.
Whether you’re under a lot of stress right now or not, relaxation techniques may be beneficial. It is pretty easy to learn them, they are free, and you can do them almost anywhere.
Relaxation Training Benefits
There can be numerous benefits to practicing relaxation techniques. Increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and rapid breathing may all be physical signs of stress. Through relaxation exercises, you can help lower your blood pressure, heart rate and slow down your breathing rate. If you can manage your relaxation response, stress is easier to control. Furthermore, stress may lead to an overproduction of cortisol and adrenaline, but relaxation exercises may also decrease stress hormones’ activity. Stress and anxiety may also impact blood glucose levels, but relaxation may allow your body to control blood sugar levels better.
Other benefits of relaxation exercises may include reduced muscle tension, fatigue, and frustration. Moreover, they may help you improve sleep, digestion, mood, concentration, and confidence. It may lead to a calmer, more relaxed, and less tense state of functioning, which allows you to take a break from worrying and focus on the things that are a priority for you.
Types of Relaxation Techniques
As mentioned, relaxation techniques are pretty easy to learn. However, if you are not comfortable or need more guidance, mental health professionals, such as psychotherapists and counselors, offer relaxation therapy. You can also try relaxation techniques online training or learn them on your own. If you choose to do them by yourself, here are some of the most common types of relaxation techniques that may help alleviate anxiety.
Relaxation Exercises are primarily about paying attention to your body and focusing on something calming and soothing. In the beginning, you may face some distractions or difficulties maintaining that focus. It would be best if practiced regularly and consistently to feel the benefits.
*Of note, always consult with your doctor when doing a new exercise or if you have any questions.
Relaxation Techniques you can practice at home are:
1. Breathing exercises
Deep breathing is the foundation of many different relaxation techniques. That is because it is a simple and powerful way to cleanse your mind and focus on your body. You only need a few minutes and a quiet, comfortable place to practice this technique.
It would be best if you started with making yourself comfortable, whether it’s lying or sitting down. Place one of your hands on your chest and the other on your stomach. Take a deep breath through your nose. Hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale through your mouth. It would help if you tried breathing with your diaphragm. To check whether you are doing that, pay attention to your hands. The hand on your stomach should move up while you inhale and down while you exhale, while the hand on your chest should be relatively still. Repeat this exercise as many times as you need. Breath slowly and focus on the activity.
2. Visualization Exercises
This is another technique that requires only a comfortable position to be in, a quiet place, and your imagination. It would help if you thought of a thing or a place that makes you feel happy, relaxed, and calm. Start visualizing the object you thought of with as many details as you can. Try to include every sense that you can – touch, sound, smell, sight. Imagine that situation or object like it is your current reality. You can also incorporate a breathing technique into the visualization process for better focus and attention. Hold that visualization for a few minutes and when you’re ready, open your eyes with a more relaxed perspective.
3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
Progressive Muscle Relaxation helps us pay attention to our muscles and notice the difference between tension and relaxation. It can be done sitting or lying down, and the key is to tense and then relax different muscle groups. You can start with your toes. Clench your toes, keep them clenched for around five seconds, and then relax them for about thirty seconds. Then, move up to your legs, knees, thighs, abdomen, chest, and neck, and finally, the face muscles. You can also start from the head and finish the technique on the toes. Incorporating deep breathing techniques would also be beneficial; helping you become more aware of the sensations in your body may help you feel more relaxed and calm.
There are also many other relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, massage, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, etc. It may be beneficial to explore them to see which one suits you the most, or you can combine them depending on the environment you are in when you need to practice relaxation.
Remember that, as with any other exercise, these relaxation techniques take practice to learn. First, you need to be aware that you are stressed or anxious. When you can recognize your body’s physical manifestations of stress, it will be easier to notice when you need to take a step back and relax. That’s when these practices may come in handy. You can do them before your stress levels get too high.
If you don’t feel relaxation techniques work or get distracted easily, don’t let that become another stressor. It may take trying out different methods before finding the one that works for you. Although it happens rarely, if you feel any discomfort while doing them, emotional or physical, stop and talk to your health provider.
You may also incorporate other activities into your life that are positive for your mental and physical health. Exercising, getting enough sleep, talking to loved ones, and reaching out to a mental health provider are just some things that can help you manage your stress and anxiety.
If you decide to talk to a professional, Dr. Carolina Raeburn offers coaching, psychotherapy, relaxation training therapy, and stress management in Florida. Reach out today to book your appointment.
Practicing Relaxation techniques may help reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, stress and overwhelm. If you decide to talk to a professional, Dr. Carolina Raeburn, PsyD offers relaxation training therapy and stress management, and psychotherapy to residents of Florida.
Book your appointment today.
*All the information published in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Any information provided here is offered in generic form. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.