Chronic stress can be bad for your body and mind. It can put you at risk for health problems like high blood pressure, stomachaches, headaches, anxiety and depression. Using relaxation techniques can help you feel calm. These exercises can also help you manage stress and relieve the effects it has on your body.

How relaxation helps

When you feel stress, your body responds by releasing hormones that increase your blood pressure and raise your heart rate. This is called the stress response.

Relaxation techniques can help your body relax and lower your blood pressure and heart rate. This is called the relaxation response. There are many exercises you can try. Find out which ones may work best for you.

Deep Breathing

relaxation techniques

One of the simplest ways to relax is to practice deep breathing. You can do deep breathing almost anywhere.

Sit or lie down and place one hand on your stomach. Place your other hand on your heart.

Breathe in slowly until you feel your stomach rise.

Hold your breath for a moment.

Exhale slowly, feeling your stomach drop.

There are also many other kinds of breathing techniques you can learn. In many cases, you don’t need a lot of instruction to do them on your own.

Breathing with the diaphragm

reduce stress

Many times, simply changing the way we breathe will trigger a series of processes in our body that will significantly decrease anxiety. This, added to the fact that relaxation techniques related to breathing are very easy to perform, makes diaphragmatic breathing an ideal exercise to start with.

The aim of this technique is to make you learn to pay attention to your breathing and train yourself to breathe optimally, making the abdomen more important than the chest.

The steps to follow to perform this technique are the following:

Lie down on a flat surface looking up and maintaining a straight posture, but without contracting your muscles. You can also sit on a chair, making your thighs parallel and at a 90-degree angle to the trunk.
Place the palm of one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. For 20 seconds, direct your attention to how your breathing makes these two areas move.
The fact that the chest moves much more than the abdomen is a sign of shallow breathing, which often causes us to lack oxygen even though we are not aware of it.
For a minimum of 3 minutes, you should guide your breathing to make the hand that rests on the abdomen move more than the one on the chest. To achieve this, inhale deeply through your nose for about 5 seconds and hold the air in the belly area for a couple of seconds. Then, exhale through your mouth for another 5 seconds.

Guided imagery

relaxation techniques

This relaxation technique borrows from the method followed in diaphragmatic breathing but, in this case, your attention will be directed towards an imagined scenario that conveys peace and calm. Therefore, when you want to approach it, it is better that you have practiced before with the diaphragmatic breathing, which is an easier exercise, although this relaxation technique is also simple.

The steps to follow are the following:

Use the first minute to follow the instructions given for diaphragmatic breathing. You can play relaxing music in the background, or use recordings with rain sound.
With your eyes closed, imagine a natural environment that helps you to be relaxed, like a garden full of flowers. Try to make this image very vivid and detailed, so that it captures all your attention while you continue to breathe deeply.
Walk around the imagined environment and explore it with all your senses. Lose yourself in every detail of this scene: the colours of a flower, the touch of the leaves, the rays of the sun on the horizon, the sound of the birds, etc. Move slowly around the stage as if you had a route fixed by some rails.
After a few minutes, let this environment slowly fade away while your attention gradually returns to your breathing. When there is nothing left of that image, open your eyes and give the exercise a rest.

Meditation

relaxation techniques

In the sanskrit Language Meditation  means to “cultivate the self”.Which means removing all the past experiences.Meditation involves focusing your attention to help you feel more relaxed. Practicing meditation can help you react more calmly to your emotions and thoughts, even those that cause you stress. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, and there are many different styles.

Progressive Relaxation

relaxation techniques

This is another simple technique that you can do almost anywhere. Starting with your feet and toes, concentrate on squeezing your muscles for a few moments and then releasing them. Continue this process, moving toward your upper body, concentrating on one muscle group at a time.

Yoga

relaxation techniques

Yoga is an ancient practice that has its origin in Indian philosophy. The practice of yoga combines postures or movements with focused breathing and meditation. The postures are intended to increase strength and flexibility. They vary from simple poses lying on the floor to more complex postures that require years of practice. You can modify most yoga postures based on your own ability.

There are many different styles of yoga that can range from slow to vigorous. If you are thinking about starting to practice yoga, find a teacher who can help you practice safely. Remember to tell your teacher about any injuries you have.

Taichí

relaxation techniques

Taichi was first practiced in ancient China as a form of self-defense. Today it is mainly used to improve health. It is a gentle, low-impact form of exercise that is safe for people of all ages.

There are many styles of taichi, but they all involve the same basic principles:

Slow, relaxed movements. The movements in taichi are slow, but your body is always moving.

Careful postures. You hold specific postures while moving your body.

Concentration. You are encouraged to let go of the thoughts