Health

Common relaxation practices to reduce stress and improve health.

Everyone is undergoing stress throughout their lives, from small annoyances like getting stuck in a traffic jam to more serious ones like death or serious illness of family members or friends. 

Regardless of the cause, stress clouds your body with hormones. Your breathing increases, the heart pounds harder, and the muscles tense. These so-called “response behaviors” are grounded in our genes to survive calamities like floods and animal attacks.

However, we rarely encounter these physically threatening situations, but challenging conditions in our daily lives can cause stress responses. While we cannot avoid these stressors, we can develop proper ways of managing them.

This post outlines relaxation techniques to help you reduce stress by evoking a positive relaxation response.

  • Breathing exercise.

Typically, breathing exercise is one of the easiest stress reduction techniques since you only concentrate on your breathing. 

Lie or sit down in a cool, quiet place, using your nose, take a deep breath and slowly exhale through your nose or mouth if it feels necessary.

According to Scott Gregory, MD, a Texas psychiatrist, it is recommended that you use a 4-7-8 approach to achieve this. Breath in deeply for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and breathe out heavily for 8 seconds. 

Take a deep breath can help relax and calm you down in a significant way.

  • Mantra meditation and mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a traditional form of meditation that boosts awareness of what is happening around us at the moment. It allows a person to focus on their body, thoughts, and everything that is happening around them.

On the other hand, mantra meditation is the opposite of mindfulness. In this case, you focus all your attention on one target, like a phrase, a candle flame, or a target. In both of these practices, when your mind wanders, you simply refocus.

These practices are mental skills. In fact, when you are starting out, your mind will wander and distract your concentration. This is normal; it happens. However, with adequate training, you will understand the process.

Having a relaxed and calm mind will also enable you to make clear and more informed decisions, such as your choices about sexual health and good lifestyle choices.

  • Guided visualization or imagery.

Imagine that you are lying on a sandy beach with a cool breeze flowing gently over your body. Smell the saltwater with your senses and feel the sun while you take yourself there. This is what is known as guided imagery.

Guided visualization applies the power of your mind to change the current stressing situation into a peaceful event or time. Shifting your focus and attention to a calming situation is an excellent way of feeling relaxed and avoiding stress altogether.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation.

In this practice, you concentrate on slowly tightening and releasing the muscle groups. It can be done alongside guided visualization and breathing exercises. 

Get a comfortable place to lay down or sit, close your eyes and breathe in deeply. Expand the stomach when you inhale and contract it when you breathe out. You can start with any muscle group like the face or head muscles and proceed to the whole body.

While you work on each muscle, tense and hold for 5 seconds and relax for 30 seconds, repeat the process as necessary for all the other muscles. 

  • Tai-chi and Yoga meditations.

These are traditional low intensity exercises that have proved to be helpful from time immemorial. They include both physical and meditative movements that reduce stress and blood pressure. 

When doing yoga, you do various strengthening and stretching postures where you stay still and concentrate on your breathing while doing each posture. On the other hand, Tai Chi incorporates slow and posed movements like dancing.

You will focus on your body and breathe deeply while moving your weight from one style to another. Remember, when you are starting out, you need to find an expert to guide you along the process. 

Conclusion.

People have practiced relaxation techniques to help relieve stress, tension and improve general wellbeing for over a thousand years now. While they may require professional guidance to perform them, most of them can be done alone and still become effective.

Practice breathing exercises, mantra and mindfulness, guided imagery, Tai Chi and yoga meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation.

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