Our Favourite Relaxation Techniques To Reduce Stress
Unfortunately, the start of 2020 has been far from the utopia we all imagined. Here are our favourite relaxation techniques to find some calm in the chaos.
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Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
It may sound scary, but PMR is one of the best relaxation techniques out there!
To practise PMR, you should tense or tighten one part of your body at a time. You should then find that relaxing each muscle should release any built-up tension.
Research suggests that progressive muscle relaxation can help different health problems, such as headaches, high blood pressure and any digestive problems.
Although it appears to be a slight buzz-word these days, meditation is an old technique for relaxing.
It may seem simple, but it actually is much harder than it seems.
Firstly, ensure that you are sitting comfortably – ideally without your legs crossed. Focusing on your breathing, try to avoid thinking about the past or future. It should be something you do to fully have a mind break.
With regular practice, it is said to reduce your heart rate and help with stress management. It’s recommended for those with anxiety, depression and chronic pain.
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It’s basically a fancy way to say spend time in nature.
The outdoors is known to have many health benefits, including reducing stress, ignites the relaxation response and lowering of blood pressure.
It’s a great way to get away from a long week of computer, phone and television screens. Even a walk in the park is enough to count as one of your relaxation exercises!
It’s pretty self-explanatory – just visualise a calming place.
Simply close your eyes and transport yourself to somewhere serene. Some people choose a beach, a meadow, snowy slopes or being in the clouds.
Your mind, body and soul are under the belief that you really are there, therefore it helps to reduce muscle tension and soothe thoughts.
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It seems very broad and that’s because it is! Creativity can be interpreted in many ways, some examples are colouring; drawing; painting; knitting; scrapbooking; playing an instrument; crocheting; photography; and gardening.
Being creative takes our minds away from our everyday lives as we are focusing on something else. This can help to reduce anxiety, relax our muscles and minimise stress.
The mental health charity, Mind, recommends drawing circles to relax. Start by drawing one big circle – it doesn’t matter how wonky it is – and then continue to draw circles either within, outside or on top of your first circle. They believe that circles are calming and drawing can be an outlet for emotion.
This may sound silly, but most of us aren’t breathing correctly!
In order to properly relax the body, it’s recommended that you breath through the nose, seeing your stomach expand. Then, hold that breath before releasing slowly.
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Yoga is an ancient art that combines flowing stretches with rhythmic breathing. It helps to distract you from any negative thoughts as you are busy focusing on other things.
Not only is it good for you mentally, it is also good for you physically as it increases your flexibility and improves your balance.
It might seem that this is just for those who are religious, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be seen as a ‘prayer’, rather an affirmation.
When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, repeating a phrase that ‘grounds’ you, can help take you back to that sense of calm and peace.
Some phrases you could use are:
‘I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents’.
‘My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; and my soul is tranquil’.
‘I am superior to negative thoughts and low actions’.
‘I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them’.
‘Happiness is a choice. I base my happiness on my own accomplishments and the blessings I’ve been given’.
‘Today, I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive ones’.
‘Everything that is happening now is happening for my ultimate good’.