How to Relax - Relaxation Tips and Techniques

Are you tired? Do you wish you knew how to relax? Don't worry, here are a few relaxation tips and techniques for you.
| Thursday, October 02, 2008

A normal day for most people in these hectic times involves dealing with innumerable pressing and challenging projects at work. You then battle traffic and come home pre-occupied with some issue that your spouse had mentioned or then wondering how you need to help your children with their science project. All that while you are also thinking and making plans about your big presentation in office the next day and so try as you may you have almost forgotten the art of resting and relaxing.

Relaxation is a skill that needs to be learned like most other skills. With some simple relaxation techniques you are bound to feel more focused, energetic and happier. The word "relax" comes from a Latin word relaxare and its meaning is to loosen up. Many references to relaxation can be found in the Bible and many eastern religions encourage meditative practices as tools to relax the body and mind.

Some of the techniques of relaxation are:

  • Progressive relaxation is a technique developed by Dr Edmund Jacobson and this involves tensing and relaxing specific groups of muscles. This technique allows a person to totally relax by systematically targeting specific muscles to relax.
  • Another technique of relaxation was developed by Wolfgang Luthe and Johannes Schultz wherein power of suggestions is used and this is called autogenic training. For Eg: A phrase such as my hands are warm and heavy is repeated and then the focus is placed in feeling this warmth and heaviness in hands. This allows the body to respond.
  • Relaxation response was another technique developed by Dr Herbert Benson and this involved mental repetition of words or sound, phrase or even a prayer and disregarding any other thoughts in the mind. This method is particularly useful where a person suffers from certain health conditions that are made worse by stress.

When people are tensed they usually have continuous activity in their minds or they often feel distracted. They also feel tension in their body and are plagued with the problem of negative thinking. Relaxation techniques can help an individual to deal with stress effectively. Relaxation techniques can help decrease possibilities of strokes and heart attacks. Relaxation techniques can also improve the immune system and reduce any problems of back pains and headaches. These can help in improving concentration and also help an individual gain control over excessive anger problems and frustration. Different people may adopt different ways to wind down and relax.

Typically techniques such as mediation, visualization and deep breathing can be beneficial. For some people massage, long walks and reading an interesting book may do the trick. The main aim of relaxation is to refocus the mind and replenish the energy. Some important aspects that need to be implemented to truly relax include focusing on positive emotions rather than any negative emotions since it can help you to remain balanced and recover swiftly, particularly after a bad or tiring day. Also it is important to curb down on the habit of rumination since that only increases stress.

Some Relaxation Tips

  • Take out 15 minutes every day and find a comfortable place to sit. Ensure that you will not be disturbed during this time. Once you are comfortably seated slowly inhale and hold your breath for a few seconds and then release it slowly but steadily. Repeat this once more and then close your eyes.
  • For the next few minutes bring your focus on your eyelids. Imagine your eyes becoming heavier and completely relaxing. After a few minutes experience the relaxation in your eyes moving over the body from your head to your toes. Let these waves of relaxation flow easily over your body. Imagine the stress and tension leaving the body. Now concentrate on the breathing again and let it continue in an unaltered, calm manner. With every out breath imagine your body relaxing even further. Focus your attention on each body part and imagine it relaxing as you continue your normal inhalation and exhalation of breath.

After you enjoy this feeling of complete relaxation open your eyes and you will find yourself feeling calmer and more focused than ever. If you follow this exercise consistently then it will help in relieving your tension and help you to sleep better.