SIMPLE RELAXATION TIPS TO RELIEVE STRESS
- Mindfulness and/or Meditation – Focusing on the present through meditation. Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress.
- Aromatherapy – The therapeutic use of essential oils and their scents.
- Self-Hypnosis – Relax your mind to induce a gentle, relaxing trance.
- Laughter Therapy – Laughter and laughter yoga can help you to relax and relieve stress. It lowers cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, and boosts brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood.
- Music Therapy – The power of music, listening to music can help you relax.
- Reach Out – Your social network is a great way to relax and unwind.
- Play – Take 15 minutes every day to do something you enjoy.
- Pet Your Pooch – Research shows that playing with and stroking/hugging your beloved pet reduces your blood pressure and lowers the stress hormone – Cortisol.
- Deep Breathing – Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
- Get Moving – All forms of exercise, including yoga and walking, help the brain release feel-good chemicals and gives your body a chance to practice dealing with stress.
- Be Grateful – Keep a gratitude journal or several (one by your bed, one in your purse, and one at work) to help you remember all the things that are good in your life. Being grateful for your blessings cancels out negative thoughts and worries.
This powerful relaxation technique requires that you lay down somewhere comfortable and firm, like a rug or mat on the floor or a firm bed. Choose a warm – but not hot – dark room if possible. This technique involves progressively contracting and relaxing the main muscle groups around the body that store tension. If at any point during this technique you feel pain or cramp then stop. This technique is widely practiced but may take some time to master.
Make yourself comfortable, wear loose clothes and ensure that you will be warm enough. Lie down on a firm surface and relax your muscles. Check that you are really comfortable before moving on, if not use some pillows or cushions and adjust your position.
Relax and try to let your mind go blank, breathe slowly, deeply and comfortably. Let your arms rest by your side, relax your knees and legs, and allow your feet to fall outwards. Let your shoulders sink into the ground and feel the weight of your body. Unclench your teeth, close your eyes and relax your face and neck.
Start the exercise. Do not rush, take your time and concentrate on relaxing. Work around the body one main muscle area at a time, whilst doing this breathe deeply, calmly and evenly:
Clench the muscles tightly and hold for a few seconds
Relax the muscles completely
Repeat steps 1 and 2
Feel a warming and numbing of the area worked
Follow the steps above for:
Left Foot – curl your toes and clench your foot
Buttocks – clench tightly
Left Hand – make a tight fist
Shoulders – hunch up towards the ceiling
Face – yawn, pout and frown to clench the various muscles in your face
Stay laying down and rest and relax for 10 or 15 minutes after you have finished this exercise – when you do get up, do so slowly gently shaking your legs and arms.
You can try the above technique in various other positions if necessary. For example you can relax back into a chair and follow the same processes as above. The success of this technique is based on quiet time, comfort and the ability to be able to freely clench and relax your muscles.
For a quicker alternative you can also try clenching your whole body whilst standing. This may be more convenient at work or in other, more public, places. Although the results are not quite as satisfying as the main method it can help relieve tension. To do this:
Stand up straight and tall and let your arms hang naturally
Breathe in slowly through your nose whilst tensing all your bodies muscles
Hunch your shoulders, make tight fists with your hands, tense your stomach and clench your buttocks, push yourself up onto tiptoe
Hold and count slowly to five
Slowly breathe out through your nose while relaxing and return to your original standing position
Repeat the above 3 to 5 times or as time and circumstances allow.