Top 5 Stress Relaxation Techniques
What is Relaxation Response?
When the anxiety and stress get increased more than your tolerance levels then you’re nervous system gets affected due to over secretion of hormones like- adrenalin, and cortisol, etc. and in this situation when your body gets flooded with these chemicals then, it prepares you for “fight or flight” i.e. a response which is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with a threat or to run away for safety. But, when your body experiences this stress on a regular basis then, it can cause wear and tear in your body and indirectly affects your emotional and physical health.
No one can avoid all the stress easily but you can overcome its harmful side-effects by learning how to relieve yourself by diverting your mind and by engaging in those activities which calms your mind and nervous system and brings your mind and body in a state of equilibrium.
When the Relaxation Response is activated, your:
- heart rate slows down
- breathing becomes slower and deeper
- blood pressure drops or stabilizes
- muscles relax
- blood flow to the brain increases
In addition to its calming physical effects, the relaxation response also increases energy and focus, combats illness, relieves aches and pains, heightens problem-solving abilities, and boosts motivation and productivity. Best of all, anyone can reap these benefits with regular practice. And while you may choose to pay for a professional massage or acupuncture session, for example, most relaxation techniques can be done on your own or with the aid of free audio downloads or inexpensive Smartphone apps.
The important thing to remember is that simply laying on the couch, reading, or watching TV—while sometimes relaxing—isn’t enough to produce the physical and psychological benefits of the relaxation response. For that, you’ll need to actively practice a relaxation technique.
Finding the Best Top 5 Stress Relaxation Techniques for you!
There is no single relaxation technique that is best for everyone. 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 to elicit the relaxation response. You may even find that alternating or combining different techniques provide the best results. How you react to stress may also influence the relaxation technique that works best for you:
Although there is no fixed technique/ procedure that suits everyone but choosing the right technique depends that it should meet your lifestyle, focus on your mind and affects your everyday thoughts positively to elicit the relaxation response. There are various alternate techniques for combating with the stress and anxiety but before applying any technique you should also check what is your response in an extremely stressful situation after using that technique because your behavior also influences the relaxation technique that works best for you:
1) The “Fight” Response
In the situation of intense anger, agitation or when you are under extreme stress, you will automatically seek for the best stress-relieving activities that calm you down, such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, etc.
2) The “Flight” Response
When you’re deeply depressed, withdrawn, or under extreme stress than in this situation, you would respond to the best stress-relieving activities that are stimulating as well as boost your nervous system also. These activities could be cardio, stretching/polymeric exercises, massage and power yoga.
3) The Immobilization Response
Whenever you’re under the acute stress, anxiety or if you’ve just come from trauma or life-threatening accident then, your first response would be to deal with it by arousing your nervous system so, that you can easily employ the stress-relieving techniques. For this you need to indulge in those activities that engage your entire body such as running, dancing or tai chi, and perform it mindfully, feeling the sensations in your limbs as you move.
4) Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is one of the best & powerful techniques which is easy to learn and can be implemented anywhere easily, providing a quick way to keep your stress level under check. Deep breathing is also one of the corn stone elements/pillars of many relaxation practices and can be best implemented with other relaxing elements like- aromatherapy & music.
- Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Sit comfortably by keeping your back straight and put one of your hands on your chest and other on your stomach.
- Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
- Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
- Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.
- If you find it difficult breathing from your abdomen while sitting up, try lying down. Put a small book on your stomach, and breathe so that the book rises as you inhale and falls as you exhale.
5) Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation can be combined with deep breathing for additional stress relief. It is a procedure in which you put tension on a different group of muscles by contracting them and then release that tension by loosening that group of muscles. This will provide complete relaxation in different parts of the body and also your mind.
However, the above-mentioned techniques are just some general techniques that can help you in getting relief from your stress and anxiety but for professional advice, you can visit any experienced stress and anxiety therapist in your nearby area.