Relaxation techniques are one way to help you reduce stress. It can be challenging to set aside the time and place to integrate these techniques into everyday life, but try a few different approaches to relaxation to figure out what works best for you.
The Road to Relaxation
Consider the different techniques. Many relaxation techniques require no equipment and an investment of only 10 to 15 minutes of your time. Some of the common techniques are autogenic relaxation, which involves using an inner strategy for creating a relaxed response; progressive muscle relaxation, a common technique in yoga that involves tensing and releasing individual muscles throughout the body; and visualization of soothing images, colors and places.
Determine your time commitment. If you prefer a longer session of relaxation, you can opt for classes or sessions of yoga, moving meditation, tai chi, qigong, ecstatic dance, shamanic journeys, hypnosis or massage. Some people find listening to music or outdoor exercise such as walking or hiking ideal for relaxation.
Focus on your breathing. No matter which technique you choose, practicing deep, cleansing breaths oxygenates your muscles and your brain, awakens your body and improves your mental clarity. Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that you can also practice independently of other methods. You can integrate it easily into everyday life, taking a moment away from the computer or from an errand to inhale and tense up the body, then exhale and release.
Identify your triggers. The easiest way to integrate relaxation techniques into everyday life is to learn how to intervene quickly when agents of stress are present. Identify the sensations your body undergoes as it tenses up, and where it holds this energy, so that you can practice early intervention and release the tension.
Refine your technique. Like any type of physical activity, relaxation technique improve with practice. You can deepen your relaxation more quickly if you devote yourself to engaging all the senses and your body in the process. Soon, your mind and body will respond automatically to the initial phases of relaxation so that the process of disengaging will be a smooth one.
- Others–particularly bosses and children–are not always understanding about the need to relax, so it is often best to practice relaxation techniques privately.