The Basics of Relaxation
In today’s fast-paced world, stress and the damage that it causes to the human body has become a popular topic. There are many books and magazines published entirely consisting of relaxation tips and techniques. Using some of these tips can help to lower your stress levels and increase your lifespan.
Some of the most important stress-relieving techniques are also some of the oldest. For centuries, people have practiced yoga as a stress and tension reliever. Yoga consists of gentle stretching exercises that loosen tense muscles and help to turn a busy mind into a peaceful mind.
The art of yoga has become a standard in stress-reduction. Learning some of the most common yoga poses can help to slow your heart rate and eliminate those stress symptoms that you might be feeling.
Breathing techniques are also ancient remedies for stress and anxiety. There are several methods to control your breathing to reduce stress. The first method involves a series of deep breaths. These are taken in through the nose and exhaled through the mouth. Sitting up straight in a chair and placing your feet flat on the ground help to create optimal air movement through your lungs.
You might also try lying down on a hard surface, like the floor, and closing your eyes during the breathing technique. This allows you to focus your mind only on your breaths. Slowing your breathing also helps to lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
A second breathing technique involves creating a mental picture while you breathe. You may have heard of “imagining your happy place,” to reduce stress. This technique is ancient in origin and is used in many cultures to heal the body and lower stress levels.
You can lay your body on the floor or a bed and imagine a beautiful landscape. Then imagine warm sunlight reaching your arms and legs and causing them to feel heavy. The feeling of warmth should spread through your body and cause you to feel refreshed. This type of breathing exercise is called “autogenic relaxation”. A focused mind helps to change the tense feelings that affect the body.
A final relaxation technique includes the clenching and releasing of muscles throughout the body. You can begin with your hands and clench them tightly into fists. Do this until the posture becomes uncomfortable and then release the fist. Feel that relaxation and think about it for a moment.
Move to another muscle in your body, like your jaw, and clench that area. By tightening and releasing muscles all over your body, you focus your energy and thoughts on the relaxation process. Your brain and your body are able to feel the muscles relax and focus just on those feelings.
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