Self Help Skills

Nine Most Effective Relaxation Techniques




1. Relaxation is whatever helps you deal with your stress and burnout. It can be going into a peaceful state of mind by breathing/meditation/etc or physical exercises as well as bringing in psychological changes (thinking more positive things etc)


2. Relaxation benefits: It helps recover quickly from daily stress, tension from work, as well as all kinds of physical and psychological trauma in life.


3. Relaxation is best done in a quiet environment, listening to favorite music, sounds of nature, visualizing positive/peaceful things, getting massages, or even a touch, yoga, walking...whatever works for you.


4. Relaxation works best when you make it a habit, part of your daily life, especially when you do it at start of day, when everything is quieter, when the tasks for the day haven't yet started. Try to relax when you are not feeling tired/sleepy (just take rest asap), or on a full stomach though.


5. Breathing deep, in and out, and focusing your thoughts on the act of breathing itself, makes you more mindful of the world around you.


6. How relaxation helps reduce stress symptoms: Relaxing slows your blood pressure, slows your heart rate, slows your breathing rate, sends more blood to your muscles, lessens muscle tension and other pain, reduces the working of hormones, reduces fatigue, helps you concentrate better, etc.


7. Of course, for all these good things to happen, you should also do other things such as thinking positively, trying to see the funny side of things, looking at things as opportunities and not as problems, sleeping enough and other positive coping methods.


Whatever relaxation you use, or whatever works for you, helping you relax, you should make using that technique a habit.


Relaxation techniques you can do follow yourselves easily


1. Deep breathing: Start with the 4-4-4 technique (breathe in to a count of 4, keep till a count of 4, and slowly breathe out to a count of 4. Do it as many times until you feel a little better. It works.


Some 'thinking and relaxing exercise' that go well with deep breathing: Keep saying some positive/uplifting words to yourself as you breathe in and out ('I am okay') - Visualize a tightly twisted rope untwisting slowly as you keep up the deep breathes - Imagine the incoming air as a white cloud, and the exhaled air as a black cloud. All this is known as autogenic relaxation.


Fact: Each one of us takes about 20,000 breaths a day. The average human respiratory rate is 30 to 60 breaths per minute at birth, decreasing to 12 to 20 breaths per minute as adults.


2. Visualization: Create mental images or scenarios/past events that take you to pleasant, peaceful, calming place or situation.


3. Meditation: Simply, meditation is 5-15 minutes of breathing 'well' mixed with focusing your mind on the breathing activity itself, thinking nothing else.


4. Music: This one is perhaps the easiest to do. Of course, people have list of 'quiet classical music' etc (just search Google), but just listen to whatever calms your mind, taking you to a different place.


5. Massage: Loosen those muscles, starting with the overworked shoulders and neck, and some head massage.


6. Relax the body joints: Relax the jaw, lower the shoulders.


7. Whole body tension: Tense everything in your whole body, all the muscles, and stay with that tension. Start with the top and work down to your toes. Hold it tight as long as you can without feeling pain. Then, slowly release the tension and very gradually feel it leave your body. Do it a couple of more times.


This is also known as progressive muscle relaxation.


8. Body scan meditation: This is similar to progressive muscle relaxation, but instead of tensing and relaxing your muscles you simply focus on the sensations in each part of your body, again starting from top to bottom.


9. Mindfulness: In simple terms, mindfulness is how you're feeling right now, all the varieties of thoughts passing through your mind - positive and negative. Being 'mindful' is to let go of the past/future thoughts, just staying calm and focused in the 'now/present, starting with the rustling leaves in the garden outside.


Thank you for reading.
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