With the pressures of work, social life, and family, we can often let our stress levels increase without check. This leaves us feeling frazzled and demotivated. Stress can cause a variety of physical and emotional issues, including insomnia and restless sleep, lowered immune system, and depression or anxiety – not good!
We thought it would be worth listing some of the best relaxation techniques for stress reduction, to help you live a calmer, stress-free life. Use these as often as you can to improve your mood and keep you feeling happy, motivated and healthy.
The Main Techniques
Most of the techniques we will be describing relate to the following two approaches. Once you start exploring meditation and self-hypnosis, you will find that there are so many different way to utilise these relaxation methods, that it will be easy to find one that works for you.
Meditation is one of the best ways to calm your mind and relax the body. You don’t need to be a zen master to experience the benefits of meditation, even a few minutes a day can help you feel more peaceful.
If you struggle to fall asleep after a demanding day, or you just need to zone out, self-hypnosis is a great tool. Listen to a self-hypnosis audio before bed, or when you get home, to help you switch off your brain and calm your mind and body.
So, what are some specific relaxation techniques for stress?
Progressive muscle relaxation
A specific technique often used within meditation and self-hypnosis, this helps you to physically relax. Lying down you concentrate on tensing and then releasing each of the muscles in your body, starting at your feet and working your way up, until you reach the smaller muscles of you face, head and neck. This technique is fantastic for those who hold a lot of physical tension.
Spend time at the end of your day listening to ambient relaxation music. Turn off the TV and switch off your usual playlist, and put on some mellow jazz, classical music or a meditation playlist. There are many different playlists available on Spotify to suit every mood for example. Giving your mind and body some time to relax, contemplate and be distracted is a great way to improve your mood.
If you don’t have the time to visit a professional massage therapist, then why not try some at home massage techniques? Using a foam roller for example can help you to work those tired muscles in your legs and upper back. You can also look into tennis ball massage if you find your shoulders and neck tensing up from stress. Massage also encourages you to focus on your breathing and on how your body is feeling and responding, a technique that is common in meditation.
Many people use visualisation to relax. By imagining yourself in a calming and safe environment, you distract your mind away from your daily stress. Maybe you are in a peaceful forest scene, on a quiet beach, or in a library. Whatever the scenario, imagine it with as many rich, sensory details as you can to maximise the effectiveness.
Even if you don’t have time to go to a studio, you can still experience the benefits of yoga at home. Apps such as Yoga Studio offer a comprehensive selection of practice options. Yoga is great for relaxation precisely because it incorporates elements of meditation, such as focused breathing, body awareness and self-care.
Mindfulness through colouring
It seemed that everyone was jumping on the adult colouring book last year, and for a good reason. Mindfulness meditation is the art of focusing on something specific to distract your mind away from the busy chatter of life. One such way is through observance of the breath, but for many colouring offered a more creative and fulfilling alternative. Spend 15-20 minutes colouring to experience the benefits of this Mindfulness based practice.
After a long day in the office strapping on your running shoes can feel like the last thing you want to do. Jogging? How is that relaxing?! Well, it doesn’t have to be jogging, in fact any form of exercise is a great way to relax the body and release some feel-good chemicals into your system. So instead of tucking into junk food or alcohol to relax, try breaking a sweat.
It is important to practice self-care as often as possible, to keep your emotional and mental health up. Making sure that you spend 10-30 minutes each day at least on stress-relief and relaxation will help you to dramatically improve your well-being and mood. Next time you are feeling stressed, rather than turning to alcohol, sweet treats or other habits to relax, try some of these tips!
What are some of your favourite relaxation techniques? Let us know in the comments below.