Dealing with stress is a necessary evil in everyone’s life. Every day, we encounter stressful situations, ranging from minor irritations like traffic jams to more serious worries, such as financial issues and relationship crises. Stress will activate the body’s stress response, flooding it with hormones that cause the heart to pound faster, the muscles to tense and rapid breathing, among others.
Typically, a person under stress might feel:
- Over-excited, e.g. angry, flustered or nervous
- Under-excited, e.g. depressed, unsociable or disoriented
- Frozen, e.g. paralysed in fear
Countering the stress with some relaxation techniques will help to activate the body’s natural relaxation response and bring both body and mind back to their normal state.
Relaxing Body and Mind
Relaxing is not about sleeping in or zoning out in front of the TV. It is about actively focusing on attaining a state of deep calmness via specific relaxation techniques.
Physical exercises, such as running, cycling, yoga or simply just walking are some examples of relaxation techniques. Besides that, deep breathing, visualisation and meditation can also help. Consequently, the breathing technique, also known as deep breathing exercise, is a simple way to get stress levels back in control. It is easy to learn and can be practiced almost anywhere.
Basically, you start by breathing deeply from the abdomen, thus getting as much oxygen as possible into the lungs. In doing this, a group of muscles will tense up as you breathe in and relax as you breathe out. This helps to give your muscle groups a workout in a specific and systematic order. Subsequently, the body relaxes and the mind will achieve an equilibrium state; tension and anxiety are then alleviated.
Relaxation techniques may require a little effort, but practicing them on a daily basis will help improve your physical and mental wellness. As a matter of fact, Harvard Medical School suggests for individuals who are stressed to practice relaxation techniques for at least 20 minutes a day to achieve optimal inner health.
Moreover, there is another technique for stress relief. Getting a professional massage at a wellness centre can help reduce stress, relieve pain, and ease muscle tension.
To enhance relaxation, a therapist would use aromatic oil or scented lotion with mindfulness or deep breathing techniques.