SIX RELAXATION TECHNIQUES TO REDUCE STRESS
Instructions: Try each one of those methods a few times before deciding to focus on the ones that suit you best. We also recommend practicing more than one techniques on a regular basis to get more benefits and avoid monotony.
FOCUS ON THE BREATH
Take long, slow, deep breaths (also known as diaphragmatic breathing). As you pay attention to each breath, you also allow your mind to disengage from your thoughts and feelings to focus solely on your breath. Please note that this technique may not be appropriate for those with health problems that make breathing difficult, such as respiratory ailments.
SCAN YOUR BODY
This technique combines breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Take a few deep breaths, focus on one part of the body or group of muscles at a time starting at the top or bottom and mentally release any physical tension you feel there. This helps you become aware of any tension you might be holding in and to work on it before it affects your mood.
Visualize soothing scenes, places, or experiences in your mind to help you relax and focus. You can find free apps and online recordings of calming scenes—just make sure to choose imagery you find soothing and that has personal significance. This could be a childhood memory, a particular painting or scenery that you liked, or even a completely made up scene. Guided imagery can be difficult for those who have intrusive thoughts or find it hard to conjure up mental images.
It involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and bringing your mind’s attention to the present moment without reacting to your thoughts or feelings. Just notice them and let them pass by. Research suggests it may be helpful for anxiety. (check out the link above for our page on mindfulness to find out more about it)
YOGA, TAI CHI, AND QIGONG
Three ancient arts that combine rhythmic breathing with a series of postures or flowing movements. These exercises increase your mental focus, which can distract you from intrusive or racing thoughts. As an added bonus, you will be able to improve your flexibility and balance. Please note that if you are not normally active, have health problems, or a painful or disabling condition, these relaxation techniques might be too challenging. Check with your doctor before starting them
For this technique, you silently repeat a short prayer, mantra, or phrase from a prayer while focusing on your breath. If religion or spirituality is important to you, this practice may be even more meaningful and effective.
Standing firm on your feet, head straight, feet shoulder apart:
· FEEL YOUR BALANCE: sense how your body shifts back and forth or side to side. Become aware of those minor movements.
· FEEL THE SOLES OF YOUR FEET: roll gently back and forth to emphasize the sensation of your feet against the ground. Focus on a point in front of view and take your first step. Be aware of the movements of your foot and your legs as you prepare to take that step. Feel the sensation of impact as you heel touches the ground.
· SLOW, FLUID MOVEMENTS: take 5 slow, fluid movements in which you push off one leg and feel how the opposite leg muscles are balancing your body as your leg travels through the air and touches the ground.
· HAVE FUN WITH IT: pretend to run in slow-motion, or that you are a model walking on the runway.
· STILLNESS: After you are done, stand still for a minute and feel your mind and body.
relax and gather yourself
CLEAR YOUR MIND
Go out in nature: a walk in nature can help reduce anger, stress, and unpleasant feelings. It contributes to lowering blood pressure and the production of hormones.
Spend one day (or more) without social media: turn off all notifications, log out from all your social media accounts and avoid turning on your computer.
BECOME MORE AWARE OF YOUR INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT
Watch your thoughts: Do not focus on them, just notice them and let them pass by. Refrain from making a judgment, responding to them (no internal dialogue).
Worry surfing: be aware of the anxiety, worry or fear rising. Imagine it is a wave that is slowly swelling as it approaches you. You cannot stop it, so let it swell, and when it reaches a 4 or 5 on a scale of 10, ride it like you would surf a wave by just following it. Let yourself experience that emotion and soon, like a wave it crests and falls. Accept that new worries, anxiety and fears may come, and when they do, just ride them out..