Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief:
Finding the Relaxation Exercise that is Right for You
Finding the relaxation technique that’s best for you
There is no single relaxation technique that is best for everyone. When choosing a relaxation technique, consider your specific needs, preferences, fitness, and the way you tend to react to stress. The right relaxation technique is the one that resonates with you, fits your lifestyle, and is able to focus your mind and interrupt your everyday thoughts in order to elicit the relaxation response. In many cases, you may find that alternating or combining different techniques will keep you motivated and provide you with the best results.
Making relaxation techniques a part of your life
The best way to start and maintain a relaxation practice is to incorporate it into your daily routine. While it can be tough to find the time in a busy schedule, many of the techniques can be practiced while you’re doing other things. You can meditate while commuting to work on a bus or train, for example, or waiting for an appointment. Try deep breathing while you’re doing housework or mowing the lawn. Mindfulness walking can be done while exercising your dog, walking to your car, or climbing the stairs at work. Once you’ve learned techniques such as tai chi, you can practice them in your office or in the park at lunchtime.
Tips for making relaxation techniques part of your life
- If possible, schedule a set time to practice each day. Set aside one or two periods each day. You may find that it’s easier to stick with your practice if you do it first thing in the morning, before other tasks and responsibilities get in the way.
- If you exercise, improve the relaxation benefits by adopting mindfulness. Instead of zoning out or staring at a TV as you exercise, try focusing your attention on your body. If you’re resistance training, for example, focus on coordinating your breathing with your movements and pay attention to how your body feels as you raise and lower the weights.
- Avoid practicing when you’re sleepy. These techniques can relax you so much that they can make you very sleepy, especially if it’s close to bedtime. You will get the most benefit if you practice when you’re fully awake and alert. Do not practice after eating a heavy meal or while using drugs, tobacco, or alcohol.
- Expect ups and downs. Don’t be discouraged if you skip a few days or even a few weeks. It happens. Just get started again and slowly build up to your old momentum.
Depending on your need and interest I also offer the following stress management services:
Stress Reduction Workshops
I offer a three-hour workshop which teaches you a basic breathing and meditation routine that can be easily incorporated into your daily schedule. Benefits include a general state of relaxation, greater alertness, a growing ability to deal with situations without getting “stressed out,” and an increased sense of liveliness that enhances your day. I have trained in Kriya Yoga breathwork and meditation internationally (Canada and India) as well as here in the United States. For more information, read “Stress Reduction can be a Big Factor in a Healthier You.”
Pre- and Post-Surgery Recovery Program
You will learn mind/body techniques that will help you:
- Heal faster
- Reduce pain
- Feel calmer before and after surgery
- Cultivate optimism and patience with the recovery process
Research has documented that patients who are relaxed before, during, and after surgery have less pain, fewer complications, and a faster recovery. I offer relaxation, visualization, and guided imagery techniques that have been proven to help surgical patients. Programs are available for adults and children.
Please call 314-644-3339 for a brochure, or to request more information about the Pre- and Post- Surgery Recovery Program.
Relaxation technique 1: Breathing meditation for stress relief
With its focus on full, cleansing breaths, deep breathing is a simple yet powerful relaxation technique. It’s easy to learn, can be practiced almost anywhere, and provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check. Deep breathing is the cornerstone of many other relaxation practices, too, and can be combined with other relaxing elements such as aromatherapy and music.
Deep breathing activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which induces the relaxation response. I teach Kriya Yoga (yoga of the breath) which helps improve oxygenation of your tissues and organs, including your brain, and can be particularly helpful to quell a panic attack or control anxiety.
Relaxation technique 2: Rhythmic movement for stress relief or Progressive Muscle relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation involves a two-step process in which you systematically tense and relax different muscle groups in the body.
With regular practice, progressive muscle relaxation gives you an intimate familiarity with what tension—as well as complete relaxation—feels like in different parts of the body. This awareness helps you spot and counteract the first signs of the muscular tension that accompanies stress. And as your body relaxes, so will your mind. You can combine deep breathing with progressive muscle relaxation for an additional level of stress relief.
Relaxation technique 3: Body scan meditation for stress relief
A body scan is similar to progressive muscle relaxation except instead of tensing and relaxing muscles you simply focus on the sensations in each part of your body.
Relaxation technique 4: Visualization meditation for stress relief
Visualization, or guided imagery, is a variation on traditional meditation that requires you to employ not only your visual sense, but also your sense of taste, touch, smell, and hearing. When used as a relaxation technique, visualization involves imagining a scene in which you feel at peace, free to let go of all tension and anxiety.
Relaxation technique 5: Mindfulness meditation
There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, but the goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment. All mindfulness techniques are a form of meditation.
For a free 15 minute phone consultation to learn more about these Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief, or to schedule an appointment I invite you to
contact me at 314-644-3339.