How to Relax: Three Relaxation Techniques to Help Ease Your Stress
By Barb Brathwaite, RN MSN CS
Between family commitments, social obligations, work and household duties, the demands on our time can feel overwhelming. For many of us, it’s easy to keep chugging along until we’re exhausted to the point where your body and brain want to shut down. Fortunately, you can make a few lifestyle changes that will bring you some peace amid the chaos with these tried-and-true methods:
Sit comfortably in a quiet place. Close your eyes and slow your breathing. Release your burdens. Let your cares and worries drift away. Put your hand over your abdomen. Breathe deeply. This allows clean, fresh air to enter your body. Slowly inhale through your nose. Then slowly exhale all your air through your mouth while counting to 5. 1-2-3-4-5 Repeat this process three times.
Keep your eyes closed. You may notice distracting thoughts coming into your mind. That is fine. Just acknowledge them and then send them on their way. Focus your thoughts on a positive phrase or mantra and recite this mantra either in your mind or out loud. Examples of mantras: “All is well” or “I don’t have to please everyone”, “It is healthy to set limits and say no”, “I do not have to be perfect, I am fine just the way I am”. Recite your chosen mantra several times, over and over.
3. Positive visualization
Positive visualization or guided imagery is a relaxation technique in which you use all of your senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing and you take a journey to a special place.
Close your eyes. Sit comfortably. Imagine a place where you feel safe, secure and peaceful. This can be anywhere you choose - the beach, lake, forest, garden, mountains.
Look around. Picture yourself in your special place. See the ocean waves or the seagulls or the leaves gliding down from the trees. Listen to the sounds. Listen to the waves lapping at the shore or to the rustle of leaves. Feel your surroundings. Feel the sand beneath your feet or the crunch of leaves or the sun on your back. Smell the air. Smell the salt air or the flowers or the leaves. Taste the air around you. Taste the salty air or the autumn season.
These techniques take time and practice to master. Take the time. They will help you to relax. You deserve it.