Erasing stress and achieving inner-peace is a goal of many. However, few people actually know exactly how to ease their body and mind. In this blog, Elements of Rockville Centre details some relaxation techniques that will help you melt away your worries.
Relaxation Techniques You Can Try on Your Own
Belly breathing, formally known as diaphragmatic breathing, helps balance out your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, which does all sorts of wonderful things for your body and mind. A few benefits include relief of physical muscle tension and improved mental clarity.
Do the technique three times each day for about two or three minutes at a time:
- Sit or lie in a comfortable position and place one hand on your abdomen, just beneath your ribs.
- Slowly inhale through your nose, drawing the breath deep into your lungs so you feel your stomach and hand rise.
- Exhale and imagine your entire body going limp and being completely at ease. Take about twice as long to exhale as you do to inhale.
Do this three times each day for about two or three minutes at a time.
Mindfulness meditation has to do with grounding yourself in the present moment in order to focus on your thoughts so you can observe them as they are. A study concluded that mindfulness meditation improves the physiological response to negative emotions and stress, reduces anxiety and improves social relationship skills.
To practice mindfulness training:
- Find a quiet and comfortable space.
- While placing all of your attention on your breathing, allow your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations to occur naturally, entering and leaving your awareness.
- Acknowledge each perception, but let it fade away.
- Whenever your mind wanders, shift your focus back to your breathing.
Psychology Today offers a more in-depth guide to practicing mindfulness meditation if you’re interested in learning advanced relaxation techniques.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
During progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), you release stress in your muscles through a two-step process.
First, you deliberately tense certain muscle groups. Second, you release the tension and focus your attention on how relaxed your muscles feel.
It’s recommended that you target the following muscle groups:
- Lower limbs (feet and legs)
- Stomach and chest
- Arms, shoulders and neck
Visualization is one of the most powerful relaxation techniques for improving your sleep pattern. It’s similar to mindfulness meditation, but involves deliberately focusing on comforting thoughts.
- Start to imagine, in your mind’s eye, a place where you experienced deep peace and relaxation. It could be the beach, mountains, your bedroom—any place you associate with comfortability.
- Pretend you’re walking through that place and take in as many sensory details as possible, including sights, smells and sounds.
- Transform any stressful thoughts into objects you can manipulate. For example, if you’re visualizing a beach, pretend a stressful thought is a rock and toss it into the ocean.
The idea of transforming your negative thoughts into objects over which you have agency may seem a bit ridiculous at first, but with practice, it becomes possible. Studies have shown that performing visualization before bedtime leads to a deeper, more restful sleep.
Dedicating some time to practice these relaxation techniques will help you free yourself of tension. For the best results, use these methods alongside other coping methods, such as exercise, massage and reaching out to supportive people in your life.
Disclaimer: Elements of Rockville Centre is not qualified to make health statements regarding practices other than therapeutic massage. Each statement in this blog is linked to its source. Clicking the link will provide you with more information.