Stress is a normal part of being human. A moderate amount helps us function better and think creatively. Thus, the goal shouldn’t be to eliminate stress but to prevent it from hitting abnormal levels. Like they say, too much bad will kill you. This holds true for stress as it is a common root for many mental disorders.
Stress may be inevitable but you have control over how you deal with it. Check out these relaxation techniques for stress relief.
Deep breaths. Notice that when you’re stressed out your friend tells you to breathe for a minute? It’s because breathing is a tried and true technique in anxiety and stress management. The best part is– you can do it on your own any time and anywhere. You just find a quiet corner and for 10 minutes, you focus on your breathing.
Start by sitting comfortably and placing one hand over your stomach and the other on your chest. Breathe in through your nose and feel your stomach move a little more than your chest would. Then, exhale through your mouth; release as much air as you can. Feel your stomach contract. The hand on your chest should stay in place and allow more movement in the abdomen.
Progressive muscle relaxation. Stress often comes with tension in the muscles. The goal of progressive muscle relaxation is to get rid of stress by tensing and relaxing different muscle groups. Sounds easy? You’re right. It is. Here’s how you can do it.
First, focus on your breathing. Then, slowly squeeze the muscles in your hands (or whichever muscle group you want to begin with). As you do so, take a deep breath. Hold it for a few seconds…. And release. Relax your muscles at the same time you breathe out. Do this repeatedly– on your shoulders, legs, etc. That should release all the stresses from your body.
Guided imagery. Have you ever tried “going to your happy place” when you felt overburdened by the events in your life? You may have already practiced guided imagery. According to Harvard Health Publishing, it is a type of relaxation technique that encourages you to think of places that are soothing and personally significant. Here’s how it usually goes:
You think of a place that soothes you. Make sure to visualize it with as many sensory details as possible. Think of how the scene would look and feel– what colors do you see, what do you smell, and what sounds are dominant? Exhaust all five of your senses. Don’t just think about it. Live in it.
Guided imagery is greatly beneficial in minimizing pain and relieving stress. It is mostly used by patients post-surgery and individuals with sleeping problems.
Start incorporating these relaxation techniques into your everyday life. Good health doesn’t only rely on physical wellness efforts such as a balanced diet and regular exercise. Part of it is consists of mental exercises, emotional regulation, and conscious effort to avoid harmful responses to stressful situations.
If you feel as though relaxation techniques just won’t cut it for you, then it’s best if you seek advice from a mental health professional.