- Mental Health»
- Stress Management
How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety with 4 Easy Relaxation Techniques
Working a regular nine-to-five job five days a week can even drive the most level-headed person on the planet to the brink of insanity. Often all we have to look forward to is the weekend and the annual vacation to recharge the batteries. Stress can be a burden at times, but it doesn’t always have to be if we know how to manage it properly.
This article will outline tips for how to relieve stress and anxiety with four simple relaxation techniques to help calm your nerves. These methods include deep breathing, body scanning, yoga stretching, and massage therapy. You can use all four techniques or select one that you feel the most comfortable with.
1. Practice deep breathing exercises
When stressed, we often find our minds regretting some past event or becoming anxious about something in the foreseeable future.
When this occurs, the best thing to do is to try and stay present. The more present you are, the less stressed you will be. An effective way of staying in the present moment is to focus on your breathing.
First, get comfortable and close your eyes. Breath in deeply. Feel your breath entering your nose as you inhale and feel your stomach expanding. Note that it is more effective to breathe from your lower stomach rather than expanding your lungs from your upper chest area.
Next, exhale and feel your breath moving out from the base of your stomach and back out through your nose. It takes some practice, but once you get the hang of breathing in this way you will find yourself in a much deeper relaxed state.
If you ever find your mind wandering and thinking about something stressful, just let the thoughts drift away and go back to “watching” your breathing. This process will make you more in touch with your body’s sensations and will calm your heart rate naturally.
2. Complete a full body scan
One of the most effective techniques of mindful meditation is doing a body scan.
The aim of the body scan is to focus your mind on the physical sensations within each part of your body. This lets you shift your attention away from your persistent thoughts and rumination.
Again, if you ever find yourself thinking about something else, then that is okay. Just make a note of it, let it go, and continue on with the body scan.
Find a quiet place to sit and position yourself similar to how you did for the breathing method. Doing this while you are sitting up in bed before you sleep or when you get up in the morning are ideal times. You could even do it in the bathroom where nobody will bother you.
To begin, close your eyes and pick a part of the body to start on. You may want to start at your toes and move up gradually towards your head.
When you begin concentrating on your toes, feel the sensations within them.
Are they cold or warm?
Are they loose or tense?
If they are feeling stiff, try to relax them. Feel them loosen up. Visualization methods, such as imagining ice melt into water and then into vapor can be helpful to ease the tension.
Next, shift up from your toes and focus on your whole foot. Do the same thing that you did for your toes.
This is the process that you should follow for your entire body. Practice the same technique all the way up from your feet to your mid-section, back, neck, and head.
After you have spent a few minutes easing the tension in your head, finish up the body scan by concentrating on your entire body as a complete entity.
It will take some practice, but the more you do it, the more you will benefit from the daily body scan method.
3. Practice yoga and stretching
Yoga has tremendous benefits to your long-term health if you practice it regularly. Combining yoga with proper breathing techniques on a daily basis will help relieve stress and anxiety.
The only thing you have to lose is time, but it’s certainly time well spent!
If you are unfamiliar with yoga, there are several resources online that can get you started with some simple poses. You may even know how to do some positions without even realizing it.
Many of the poses are the same as you would do while stretching to warm up before your regular exercise routine at the gym. While you are performing the stretch, remember to focus on your breathing simultaneously.
Basically, yoga is stretching accompanied with breathing techniques allowing one to become fully present in the moment. It can be quite practical, plus an extremely effective practice for relieving stress and even losing weight.
4. Massage your body
Take a time out from a rough work week and make an appointment for a body massage. Getting a professional massage can relieve tension in muscles while helping heal your aches and pains.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend the money on a massage, you could try some self-massage techniques.
For instance, rub your own shoulders and neck for a few minutes. Often you will be surprised about how much built up tension is released when you try this. Focus on massaging other key pressure points, such as your palms, feet and even parts of your head.
Some personal massage machines are also quite effective and reasonably affordable. Quality massage chairs can be bought for under $1,000 dollars, while cheaper devices can also provide relief at a fraction of that cost.
To sum up, stress can be easily managed by combining a number of relaxation techniques, such as focusing on breathing, practicing yoga and utilizing massage therapy on a consistent basis. Understanding how to relieve stress and anxiety takes time but can be achieved with patience and practice.