The best and most natural stress relief to combat stress is relaxation. By knowing how to take a break, you can actually have a powerful antidote to eliminate stress. Stress relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and yoga can help you activate this stress relaxation response.
When practiced regularly, these stress relief activities can lead to a stress reduction in your everyday stress levels plus it will boost your feelings of joy and serenity. What’s more, by practicing these stress relief activities, it will also serve as protective quality by teaching you how to stay calm and collected in the face of life’s curveballs.
The Stress Relaxation Response
Nobody can avoid stress but you can learn to control stress by counteracting its negative effects. Learn to evoke the stress relaxation response, a state of deep rest that is the polar opposite of the stress response.
Stress response floods your body with chemicals that prepare you for “fight or flight” but while the stress response is helpful in true emergency situations where you must be alert, it definitely gets your body stressed out when always activated.
The stress relaxation response brings your system back into balance: deepening your breathing, reducing stress hormones, slowing down your heart rate and blood pressure, and relaxing your muscles.
Research also shows that the stress relaxation response increases energy and focus, combats stress illness, relieves aches and pains, heightens problem-solving abilities, and boosts motivation and productivity. And with a little practice, you can reap these benefits of stress relaxation response.
Stress Relaxation Exercises
There are a variety of stress relaxation techniques that can help you achieve the stress relaxation response. Try these stress relaxation exercises:
Deep breathing for stress relief
Deep breathing is the cornerstone of many other stress relaxation practices. It is a simple, yet powerful stress relaxation technique. It’s easy to learn and it can be practiced almost anywhere. It can also provide a quick way to get your stress levels in check.
Progressive muscle relaxation for stress relief
Progressive muscle relaxation is another effective and widely used strategy for stress relief. It involves a two-step process in which you systematically tense and relax different muscle groups in the body.
Practice progressive muscle relaxation regularly. This stress relaxation technique gives you an intimate familiarity with what stress tension feel like in different parts of the body. This awareness helps you spot and counteract the first signs of the muscular stress tensions.
For additional level of stress relief, you can combine deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.
Mindfulness meditation for stress relief
Meditation is also a particularly effective stress reducer. With regular practice, mindfulness meditation actually changes the brain. It strengthens the areas associated with joy and relaxation, and weakens those involved in negativity and stress.
Guided imagery for stress relief
Visualization used as a stress relaxation technique, is a variation on traditional meditation that can help relieve stress. Guided imagery involves imagining a scene in which you feel at peace, free to let go of all stress tension and stress anxiety. Choose whatever setting is most calming to you.
You can do this stress relaxation exercise on your own, with a therapist’s help, or by using an audio recording.
Yoga for stress relief
Yoga is an excellent stress relief exercise. This stress relaxation exercise involves a series of both moving and stationary poses, combined with deep breathing. The physical and mental benefits of yoga provide a natural counterbalance to stress, and strengthen the stress relaxation response in your daily life.
Tai chi for stress relief
Tai chi is a stress relaxation exercise done through self-paced, non-competitive series of slow, flowing body movements. These movements emphasize concentration, relaxation, and the conscious circulation of vital energy throughout the body. Tai chi is primarily practiced as a way of calming the mind, conditioning the body, and reducing stress.
Massage therapy for stress relief
Getting a massage provides deep relaxation, and as the muscles in your body relax, so does your stressed out mind. There are many simple self-massage techniques you can use to relax and release stress.
Massage can be a great stress therapy and the best way to get stress relief from massage is by getting it from a professional massage therapist. Try types like Swedish or Shiatsu, which promote overall relaxation and stress relief.