Effective Techniques for Relaxation

Large group meditating at yoga practice
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A well-rounded stress management plan consists of techniques for relaxing and long-term stress management habits that can help to diminish stress and increase resilience to stress. The following are techniques that can effectively help you to return your body from a stressed state to a relaxed one.

Better still, with practice, these powerhouse stress relief techniques can lead to resilience toward stress as well. Try at least one of these stress relievers today, and see how quickly you can reach a state of relaxation.

Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares some techniques that can help you relax.

Breathing Exercises

Stress-relief breathing is a rapid route to relaxing the body, which can move you out of a place of stress and leave you with a more relaxed mind as well. Learning the proper way to breathe may not sound necessary. After all, you're breathing all the time, right?

While everyone knows how to breathe, each person breathes differently when they are experiencing stress and the body's stress response has been triggered. This type of breathing can prepare you for a physical confrontation but can be less healthy in the long-term, especially if this becomes your habitual way of breathing.

When stressed, you may exhibit shallow breathing. This means that you may breathe from a constricted chest instead of from the diaphragm. As a result, you may not fully fill your lungs with air. You may not realize how tense you are until you work on relaxing the body through your breath.

Learning the following breathing exercises can help you to quickly reverse the body's stress response anytime and anywhere, quickly and effectively.

Once you are more relaxed, you can make decisions from a calmer, more centered place and feel better in your life. With practice, you can reach this place more quickly and automatically.

Meditation Techniques

Meditation can relax the body and the mind in a relatively short amount of time. In addition to soothing the body's physiology and helping the mind untangle its grip on stress-inducing thoughts within minutes of beginning practice, meditation brings long-term benefits for those who practice regularly.

Research has found that meditation can produce a wide range of physiological and psychological benefits. Some of these include decreased stress, lower heart rate, and even changes in brain wave patterns. 

When it comes to meditation, short sessions can work well, and there is a variety of meditation techniques to choose from. However, for the largest gains, it is important to practice regularly.

Five or ten minutes each day is more effective than an hour once a week. Therefore, finding a meditation style that works well for you and sticking with it can be your best bet for relaxing your body and mind.

An easy way to get started with meditation is to choose a quiet spot where you are free of distractions.

  • Sit comfortably either on the floor or in a chair.
  • Focus on your breathing. Work on taking deep breaths and notice how each one feels.
  • Bring attention back to your breath. Don't try to clear your mind. Instead, notice your thoughts and then redirect your attention back to your breathing.

Yoga Techniques

Yoga is popular for many reasons, and its qualities as a relaxing ritual are chief among them. Yoga combines meditation, breathing exercises physical exercise, and stretching, effectively relaxing the body as well as the mind, just as meditation can.

Because of the numerous stress relievers involved in yoga, it has become one of the most popular stress-relief strategies in use today, as it brings multiple benefits and attacks stress on more than one front.

Research suggests there are a number of ways that yoga works to reduce stress and increase relaxation. Some ways that yoga helps:

  • Stretching your body helps relieve tension, particularly in key areas such as your neck, shoulders, and hips.
  • Yoga exercises also encourage the use of controlled and deep breathing, which can be an effective way to reduce anxiety and increase relaxation.
  • Other studies have found that yoga can help relieve stress by improving mood, increasing self-compassion, and improving mindfulness.

Getting started with yoga need not be difficult. There are numerous classes available in most communities, with books and DVDs available for those who prefer to do yoga at home. More than a passing fad, yoga is a relaxing habit that lives up to the hype.

A Word From Verywell

Stress management works best if it includes a combination of short-term stress relievers, long-term resilience-promoting habits, and other things like attitude shifts, relationship skills, and knowledge of the basics of stress.

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4 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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