Relaxation Techniques That Zap Stress | Revere Health

Everyone experiences stress, and relaxation techniques are some of the simplest ways to help with stress management. Relaxation is any process that decreases the effects of stress on the mind and body, and these techniques can help with anything from moderate stress all the way to stress-related health concerns.

Types of Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques can be taught by various health professionals, or they can be learned on your own in many cases. They generally involve refocusing the mind’s attention on calming factor, something that increases awareness of the body. There are a few different kind of relaxation techniques:

  • Autogenic relaxation: Autogenic refers to something that comes from you, and this is a relaxation technique where you create the relaxing material. You use both visual imagery and body awareness to reduce stress, repeating words or suggestions in your mind that can help you relax and decrease muscle tension. Some people imagine a peaceful setting and focus on breathing, slowing heart rate or feeling different sensations than normal.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: This is a technique focused on slowly tensing muscle groups, then relaxing them. It can help you feel the difference between a tense and relaxed state, and become more aware of sensations.
  • Visualization: This involves the forming of mental images to take a mental journey to a comfortable place or situation. It’s generally recommended that you involve as many senses as possible—smell, sight, sound and touch, if you can. Imagine all the details of a peaceful setting you’d like to be in, and concentrate on breathing.

Other techniques may include:

  • Deep breathing
  • Massage
  • Meditation or yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Biofeedback
  • Music and art therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Warm heat wrap around neck and shoulders
  • Laughing (can lower cortisol, the body’s stress hormone)
  • Music (can lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety)

Benefits of Practicing Relaxation Techniques

There are several benefits of relaxation techniques:

  • Slowing heart rate
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Slowing breathing rate
  • Improving digestion
  • Maintaining blood sugar levels
  • Reducing stress hormone activity
  • Increasing blood flow to major muscles
  • Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
  • Improving concentration and mood
  • Improving sleep
  • Decreasing fatigue
  • Reducing anger or frustration
  • Boosting confidence in problem-solving

Practice Makes Perfect

Like any other learned skill, relaxation techniques will take time to perfect. You’ll improve your skills over time. If one technique isn’t for you, try another instead. It’s rare, but some people may experience emotional discomfort during relaxation techniques—if this is the case, stop the activity and speak to your doctor or mental health provider. If you’ve tried multiple techniques with no success, your doctor can offer additional recommendations.

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Sources:

“Relaxation techniques: Try these steps to reduce stress.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/relaxation-technique/art-20045368?pg=1

“10 Relaxation Techniques that Zap Stress Fast.” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/blissing-out-10-relaxation-techniques-reduce-stress-spot#1

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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