By regularly practicing relaxation, you can reduce stress symptoms such as:
- Slowing your heart rate
- Lowering blood pressure
- Slowing your breathing rate
- Increasing blood flow to major muscles
- Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
- Improving concentration
- Reducing anger and frustration
- Boosting confidence to handle problems
- Progressive Relaxation. Alternating tensing and then relaxing muscle groups - one muscle group after another. Begin with the feet and progress upward through the body.
- Exercise. Activities such as stretching, yoga, tai chi, pilates and other physical techniques.
- Visualization. Visualizing something for relaxation or making positive changes, such as picturing in your mind a relaxing scene.
- Guided Imagery or Meditation. This is the process of being guided through calming scenes and environments, the healing process, or a scenario with a positive outcome.
- Autogenics. This is done by imagining that your limbs are warm and heavy, your heart rate is slow and steady, and your forehead is cool.
- Meditation. Focusing the mind on a word, phrase, or idea and letting go of other thoughts with an attitude of passive acceptance for relaxation or making positive changes.
- Sensory. Being able to experience or imagine the sensations of sight, sound, smell, taste, and/or touch.
- Deep breathing. Done slowly and regularly and taking sufficiently deep breaths.
- Other Methods. Almost anything repetitive can be relaxing. Activities such as exercise, massage, hypnosis, self-hypnosis, crafts, hobbies, dance, music, conscious mental rest, artwork, and walking are good examples.
Relaxation is a skill. This means that relaxation is something that can be learned, practiced and eventually mastered. Everyone has the ability to learn how to relax, but not everyone will relax the same manner.