Stress is a normal part of our lives whether or not we like it. Most of the time, healthy levels of stress help us stay on our toes. Still, there are days when it is more than we can take. Managing stress when it gets out of hand is crucial for our well being. Fortunately, there are several relaxation techniques that can keep us becoming over-stressed.
What if you didn’t bother to manage stress? There’s plenty of research to prove that a build up of stress is the underlying cause of several chronic and lifestyle diseases. Isn’t it better to have a no-cost relaxation technique toolkit so you can avoid stress becoming expensive to treat?
I have a quick roundup of relaxation techniques you can practice just about anywhere.
There’s listening to music, enjoying a cup of your favorite beverage, laughing, taking a mini-break, meeting friends, spending time with your pet, read a book, enjoy a hobby, watch comedy—yes. I am sure you already know that and do that.
The following four techniques are what I’d like to share today as they’ve been helping me quite a bit lately.
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
Conscious breathing exercises, as we already know, can be calming. This one goes a few steps farther. It’s called diaphragmatic breathing and here’s a step by step guide:
- Lay on your back
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly
- Inhale deeply through your nose
- Only the hand on your belly should move, the hand on your chest should stay still
This is a deep belly breath that moves your diaphragm, stimulating the vagus nerve and activating your parasympathetic nervous system.
The diaphragmatic breathing technique is ideal for just before you got to sleep as it will help you sleep better, more restfully.
2. Full body relaxation
Full-Body Relaxation is easy and a wonderful experience. Here’s how to practice and enjoy it.
- Lay on your back or sit comfortably in a chair
- Close your eyes
- Visualize your body gently entering a warm bath, the water enveloping you
- Starting with your head, clench the muscles around your eyes, and release.
- Do this with your entire head: contracting and releasing the muscles around your mouth, your nose, your neck.
- Move down to your body.
- Contract each muscle group and release—your limbs, your chest, your stomach, your hips, your thighs, your calves, your feet.
- When you reach your feet, you should feel rested, relaxed and at peace.
This technique is also great to do before bed so you can sleep well.
For an instant detox, try this.
Mediation is great to do anywhere, anytime.
- Start by sitting in a comfortable position
- Close your eyes
- Relax your body consciously
- Tune out everything except your breathing
- Focus on your breathing
- As your mind begins to wander, acknowledge it but bring your focus back to your breathing each time
Easier said than done, but you’ll get there.
Whether you practice this for 5 minutes or 10 or even 30, you’ll feel instantly better. Do it whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation.
Between these three techniques: diaphragmatic breathing, full-body relaxation, and meditation, you have the best stress-relieving relaxation toolkit in your hands.
There’s a fourth technique and that’s exercise.
Regular exercise keeps you fit and healthy and protects you from disease, while helping you manage your weight. Make it a non-negotiable. You don’t even have to go to the gym and do exhausting reps. Just do some simple stretches to refresh and relax yourself. Make it a point to stay active, walk for at least 30 minutes a day. Take the stairs. Dance. In short, get those muscles moving to release the endorphins that wash your stress away. You’ll sleep a lot better.
Try the Qigong walking meditation. It’s fun and good for your heart health.
Self care is important to keep your mind, body and soul healthy.
What’s your favorite go-to relaxation technique?