When it comes to managing stress reduction, we are all unique individuals for whom different techniques will yield different levels of success. The key is to find the right mix or ‘recipe’ of stress reduction techniques which will help you to manage well. Here are a few relaxation techniques that you may want to add to your repertoire…
1. Turn up some tunes!
A recent study published in the Heart journal proved that listening to slow or meditative music is great for busting stress. Create a relaxing playlist on your mp3 player or phone for anytime you need to take a few minutes to chill.
2. Float your stress away
Research published in the International Journal of Stress Management has shown that floating in water is an effective way of taking care of stress. This triggers the body’s relaxation response and helps to lower stress hormones.
3. Progressive muscle relaxation
This involves systematically tensing and relaxing the different muscles of the body. The most popular technique starts at the feet and moves up the body. Tense each muscle and hold for the count of 10, as you relax the muscle again focus on the tension leaving your body and stay in the relaxed state for a few moments, breathing deeply and slowly before moving on to the next muscle.
4. Creative Visualization
Visualization involves firstly finding a quiet place so that you are able to focus on visualizing. Think of a place that is relaxing to you, for example a beach, lake or forest. Let your own images come up that appeal to you rather than those that are suggested by anyone else. In your mind, take the time to walk around your place and explore – what do you see, hear, smell, touch or taste? Enjoy exploring your place and the relaxing feeling that it gives you. When you are ready, open your eyes.
5. Be Present
We are often rushing from place to meeting to event these days and not taking the time to appreciate things at a slower place. Make a conscious effort to slow down – taste and appreciate each meal as you eat it, notice your surroundings as you walk outside. If you take the time to notice and appreciate things, you should notice a reduction in tension in your body.
6. Breathe deeply
Breathing exercises have been shown to slow heart rate and lower blood pressure. Take some time out from work or whatever is causing you stress to notice and tune into your own breathing. For 5 minutes sit up straight with your eyes closed and a hand on your belly. Inhale slowly through your nose and feel your stomach rise and the breath go through to your head. Exhale through your mouth and notice the reverse as breath goes from your head down to your belly.
These are just a few techniques to help your release tension and reduce stress. Figure out what is suited to you and take your own ‘recipe’ with you wherever you go!