Stress is a very common thing in today's world and every single person must have experienced stress at least at some point of time in their life. Owing to the fast and hectic lifestyle, work pressure and commitments, stress has become perpetual for many. Tension, trauma, anxiety and failure to cope with the situation become inevitable consequences of stress. However, with some easy and simple techniques, stress can be relieved off.
Many people think that zoning out in front of the television set or hitting the spa for an expensive pampering retreat are the only ways to relieve off stress. However, that is untrue. There are easy and simple relaxation techniques that you can certainly follow and enjoy a stress-free life. Relaxation techniques are worth noting in this regard.
About Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation is a state of the mind as well as the body. There are techniques and processes that can actually take you to the complete state of peace. These relaxation techniques help you to get rid of your daily stress, cope with the stressful situations and also fight with the stress related health problems like pain. Relaxation techniques also help the body to create a state of relaxation response as opposed to the stress response and create equilibrium in the body as well as mind.
Relaxation Techniques to Relieve Stress
There are many relaxation techniques that can effectively help you to overcome your stress level, if you practice them even for about 15 minutes daily. The purpose is to cope with the stressful situation and not be affected by the stress. These techniques can relieve off the stress almost instantly, without having to go to expert professionals or spas.
- Meditation to Relieve Stress: The very basic level exercise or relaxation technique that every person must practice every day is meditation. This yogic exercise is potential of altering the neural pathways in the brain upon regular practice. Meditation can make you resilient to stress. Meditation is a simple exercise that can be done in any peaceful environment. Though it can help you calm down whenever you feel stressed, it is best to practice meditation in the morning, to give your day a fresh and energetic start. You need to sit on the floor with your spine straight and legs folded and eyes closed. Chanting a positive mantra silently in the mind and synchronising your breath with the mantra will help you feel the peace and positive energy.
- Breathing Exercises for Relaxation and Relieving Stress: Breathing has a deep association with stress relief. Although, how it works is not clear to the experts; but, research studies have shown that with regular and proper practice of certain breathing exercises, stress can be relieved off. There are a number of breathing exercises that can help you relieve off your stress, but the most effective ones are –
- Slow and deep breathing
- Breathing in through the nose and breathing out through the mouth
- Breathing in while counting one to five and breathing out in the same manner
- Breathing in, pausing and holding the breath and then breathing out.
These breathing exercises can be practiced anytime of the day and must be practiced for about two to three times a day for 3 to 5 minutes. Whenever you feel stressed, these breathing exercises can help you to overcome the stress level.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique for Relieving Stress: One of the most effective ways of relieving stress from the body is to practice the progressive muscle relaxation technique. In this technique, the different muscle groups of the body are slowly tensed and then, the tension is released to relieve off the stress. This technique needs practice to properly tense the muscles without hurting or injuring them.
The proper method is to squeeze the muscles or pull them or twist them for about 5 seconds. The muscles must not be pinched or hurt. Then, for about 30 seconds, the relaxation must continue. The success of this stress relieving technique lies in realizing or feeling the sensation of the stress being released through the tensed muscles.
- Autogenic Relaxation to Relieve Stress: This relaxation technique has to do with you and something that should come from within you. For this technique, you will have to imagine certain visual images and imagine the body to be in that setting. Through slow and controlled breathing, you will feel the presence of yourself in the calm and peaceful setting, feeling the sensation of stress gradually leaving the body and mind. Some visual images and setting that can help you to take a refuge in an autogenic relaxation phase are –
- Seeing the setting sun
- Feeling cool water on your bare feet
- Hearing the chirping of birds
- Tasting fresh water
- Smelling the nature, mist, the ocean and the greens.
Here, it needs to be mentioned that these images should not be selected, but they must automatically appear to you. That is the purpose of the entire process.
- Rhythmic Movements to Relieve Stress: Just like yoga and meditation, if you walk around for a while in a calm and peaceful setting say a park or a lane if not within your house, you will feel the stress being reduced. Just simple relaxed walking will help your body to release the feel-good chemicals and cope with the stress.
However, if you have time or if you are in mood, you can go for more elaborate movements like running, swimming, rowing or dancing. Even spot jogging would do the job. All these rhythmic movements can engage your mind and body into the activity and you will gradually forget the stressful situation. The factors that have been proven to be effective in relieving your stress during these activities are –
- The sensation of touching the ground with your feet
- The rhythmic movement of your arms and legs
- The rhythm of your breathing
- The sensation of wind blowing against your face.
The nervous system is highly elevated by these sensations and you will experience a state of mindfulness.
- Tai Chi as a Relaxation Technique to Relieve Stress: Tai Chi is a series of slow but flowing movements of the body. The movements are designed to compel you to concentrate, focus and relax. You will automatically be feeling the flow of a positive energy through your body and this will relieve your stress. Tai Chi movements can be learned from an expert professional or you can follow the videos and tutorials that are available in the internet.
- Massage Therapy to Relieve Stress: Now that the self-relaxation techniques have been discussed, it must also be mentioned that the tried, tested and the popular methods of relieving stress is massage. You will probably come across many spas and massage salons or parlours that offer these massages that help you to overcome the stress in your body and mind. The professionals know the right massage techniques and occasional pampering of your body is a good idea to enjoy the comfort.
However, if you learn the self-massage techniques, you can do them in the middle of the day or whenever you are feeling the stress or pressure. Using aromatic oil for the massage will add to the benefit.
- Listening to Music: Music is a proven remedy to relieving stress. However, not just any music is suitable for stress relief. Soothing, calming and relaxing music is the best choice for that. Music absorbs you and you are completely distracted from the stressful situations of life. It becomes easier for you to explore your emotions through music and stress is automatically released.
How Do Relaxation Techniques Work in Reducing Stress?
The Relaxation Techniques can reduce the stress by working in a number of ways. These are –
- Decreasing blood pressure
- Reducing the heart rate
- Reducing stress hormone activity
- Slowing breathing rate
- Increasing flow of blood to major muscles
- Reducing chronic pain
- Reducing muscle tension
- Elevating mood
- Improving concentration
- Reducing frustration and anger
- Decreasing fatigue
- Boosting confidence level to handle stress and problems.
Some General Relaxation Techniques to Relieve Stress
Along with these effective and assured stress relieving techniques, you can also try some other simple methods. These are –
- Combing and brushing your hair. This increases the blood circulation in the scalp, relaxing your sensations.
- Squeezing the stress ball is an easy way to channelize your stress. When in the workplace, this is a very effective way to relieve stress.
- Count backwards and you will find the stress slowly going away.
What you need to understand that these relaxation techniques to relieve stress need to be practiced. Practice will help you cope with the stress and practice these techniques even in the midst of stressful situations. There are some methods that can't be done properly without practice. The key is to do them regularly, even when you are not too exhausted or stressed.