Relaxation Techniques

Sandi Anders, MDiv, RYT, CSC

Relaxation Techniques -- Relieve Stress and Encourage Relaxation

Relaxation Techniques offer useful resources to handle the stress of contemporary lifestyles. Stress is a built-in physical response to crises and as such, serves you well when you find yourself in an unexpected emergency. However, this response (referred to as the Stress Response) can become chronic. When your stress response becomes chronic, and you allow it to go unchecked, that long-term stress can impact your body in damaging and harmful ways.

Relaxation Techniques can reduce the dangerous results of chronic stress by making it possible for you to relax and move into the Relaxation Response. When you activate the Relaxation Response once or twice each day for 20 minutes, you can start to build up a resistance to the damaging effects of stress! Relaxation techniques enable you to enjoy greater well-being and reduce the wear and tear of life's difficulties on your mind and body.

Relaxation Techniques encourage relaxation by decreasing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which lowers blood pressure levels, heart rate, respiratory rate, and muscle tension. Relaxation techniques can be extremely useful in supporting restful sleep, lowering stress and alleviating anxiety.

Relaxation Techniques Can Restore Well-Being

A few moments of self care with relaxation techniques can greatly assist in restoring your feeling of well being. Use any of the following Relaxation Techniques to help you relieve stress, relax your body, calm your mind, and replenish your spirit:

  • Meditation
  • Guided meditation or guided imagery
  • Visualization
  • Deep breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation or body scan
  • Mindful movement -- Yoga, Tai Chi, QiGong, or Walking Meditation
  • Biofeedback

Relaxing Activities Create the Relaxation Response

Additionally, the following activities can promote the relaxation response:

  • Listening to calming or soothing music
  • Taking a hot bath
  • Interacting with a pet
  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Keeping a journal

Relaxation Techniques and Activities Can Improve the Quality of Your Life

Relaxation techniques and activities can help you reduce stress and thereby enhance your quality of life. They are most beneficial if they are practiced regularly. Select one or more of the above techniques and practice it daily. Try all the techniques, and determine which ones work best for you.

In this series of articles on Relaxation Techniques, we?ll look at each one of the relaxation techniques in a bit more detail.

Series on Relaxation Techniques:

Relaxation Techniques: Meditation »

Relaxation Techniques: Guided Meditation and Visualization »

Relaxation Techniques: Breathing »

Relaxation Techniques: Progressive Muscle Relaxation and the Body Scan »

Relaxation Techniques: Mindful Movement »

Relaxation Techniques: Biofeedback »