The struggles of daily life can lead to prolonged stress. Stress can contribute to physical health conditions and make you more irritable, to the point that you might need online anger management courses. Learning to relax helps to release the pressure and counteract the effects of prolonged stress. The following are techniques that you can use to learn to relax and relieve the stress you feel.
1. Deep Breathing
While important in a number of other relaxation techniques, deep breathing can also work on its own. Deep breathing is one of the most simple relaxation techniques but also one that is easy to learn and can produce profound effects. Another advantage of deep breathing is that you can perform it anywhere. You don’t need anything except a quiet place to stretch out and a few minutes to yourself. You can enhance the effects of deep breathing by adding soothing music or aromatherapy as you are able.
Physical activity can help release the stress that you hold within your body. Some types of exercises specifically improve the connection between the body and mind. Examples include tai chi and yoga. The former involves slow, fluid movements, while the latter emphasizes stationary poses. Both involve deep breathing and intense mental focus, which helps to relieve stress.
If yoga or tai chi aren’t for you, other types of exercise may be helpful to relieve stress. Repetitive movement from activities such as rowing, swimming, or running can produce a relaxation response.
3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
When your body is very tense due to stress, you may not be aware of the tension. Similarly, if it has been a while since you really relaxed, you may not really know what that feels like either. Progressive muscle relaxation allows you to experience both sensations by first tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in a systematic fashion. For example, you may start with the feet and then work your way up to the head.
4. Guided Imagery
Guided imagery is also known as visualization. The idea is that you imagine a place where you feel completely at peace. There is no right or wrong place to imagine; you choose whatever place makes you feel the most calm. You spend time imagining yourself in this location, and this helps you let go of your tension and stress. There are audio downloads and apps to guide you through your visualization, or you can practice it on your own.
These techniques can trigger your body’s natural relaxation responses. However, it takes time and persistent practice for you to learn them.