With the likelihood of a holiday looking less likely day by day, learning to relax has become an essential need. What many people don’t realise is that relaxing is a skill, it comes easy to some people! Luckily, learning techniques and practice can help you deal with stress and live a chill, relaxed life!
Finding the time to practice relaxation can be difficult. Work, College, Family, and your own social life always getting in the way!
Stress can build up when you don’t find time to relax. Stress is Cumulative! When you are stressed your body turns to try to fight off the perceived threat. This causes the stress hormone to be produced causing the fight or flight response!
What are Relaxation Techniques
Back when humans used to explore the wilderness and be nomads, the fight or flight response helped keep you away from grizzly bears, falling off cliffs, and other worldly dangers. The fight or flight response helped our cave-dwelling ancestors stay alive.
Nowadays the stress hormones are released due to modern-day stressors. These stressors aren’t normally as life or death as in the past, meaning the stress builds up inside your body. This can cause heart disease, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
In this article we will cover a number of relaxation techniques which counter the fight or flight response. Some can be used at all times such as deep breaths and listening to music, while others require a little more planning.
Techniques you can use to Relax
- Deep Slow Breaths
- Listening to Soothing Music
- Having a warm drink
1. Deep Slow Breaths
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.
Deep breathing allows your body to come back to its natural rhythm relieving the tension built up while your body prepares to fight or flight. Controlling your breathing makes sure your brain has enough oxygen to make the correct decision.
A common technique is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. This technique is quick, simple and you can do it anywhere.
Before you begin, sit with your back straight and place your tongue against the top of your mouth behind your teeth. Keep here for the entire exercise.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth, inhale for a count of 4
- Hold breath for a count of 7
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making whoosh sound for 8
- Repeat cycle 4 more time
2. Listen to soothing music
Music is used to escape from the world, and an escape from stress and anxiety. Listening to music is a powerful stress management tool acting as a distraction and allows you to explore emotions.
Music, especially slow, quiet classical music has a relaxing effect on the body, even being used before and after surgeries in hospitals to reduce stress in patients.
Yoga combines your body and mind into one. Using physical poses and controlled breathing, yoga reduces stress and anxiety by lowering blood pressure and your heart rate allowing you to relax!
The core elements of yoga include poses, breathing and meditation. Improving flexibility and strength while keeping to a stress free life.
4. Have a warm drink
Having a warm drink that doesn’t include caffeine or alcohol such as drinking a glass of warm milk or a cup of herbal tea can reduce stress and anxiety and put you in a calm mood.
Drinks like milk work by containing an amino acid called Tryptophan. The purpose of this is to help the brain create serotonin which is known as the ‘happy chemical’.
Writing has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. A reflective journal is a great place to write down some of your day’s biggest thoughts. Reflective journals are one of the most common therapeutic ways to reflect on your experiences, getting everything down on paper can give you a different perspective on life.
Reflective journaling allows you to identify and look back on important learning experiences that happen in your life. This can be anything from relationships to career to even personal life. Reflective journaling even allows you to have a better understanding of your thought process!
Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.Leonardo DaVinci