There are several methods to relax your mind and body too. To effectively relax your mind & reduce stress, you need to activate your body’s natural relaxation response. Methods like deep breathing, visualization, meditation, and yoga can help. Some methods are designed to relax your mind and some to relax your body. But because of the way the mind and body are connected, many relaxation methods work on both the mind and the body.
Lets see some methods for relaxing mind and relaxing body as well.
1. Deep Breathing
In this method we focus on full, cleansing breaths, deep breathing is a simple yet powerful relaxation technique. Deep breathing is the foundation of many other relaxation methods. It’s easy to learn, can be practiced almost anywhere and it provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check.
How to practice deep breathing
- Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
- Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
- Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.
If you feel uncomfortable breathing through your stomach while sitting up, try to lie down. Put a small book on your stomach, and breathe so that the book grows with the breath and falls while exhaling.
Meditation helps you learn to calm your mind in a few different ways. A meditation session can calm your physiology and calm your mind, but many sessions over time can help you feel less stressed when you face stress in the future – so you can focus on meditation. May be more resilient to stress with help.
Meditation can clear your mind of thoughts that are stressing you out, and over time, regular meditation can make you less responsive to stress and more resilient in coping with your stresses.
Visualization, or guided imagining, is a shift on traditional meditation that involves imagining a scene in which you feel at peace, free to remove all stress and anxiety. Choose whichever setting is most tranquil for you, whether it is a tropical beach, a favorite childhood spot, or a quiet wild wood.
You can practice visualization on your own or with an app or audio download to guide you through the imagination. You can choose to do your visualization in silence or use hearing aids, such as soothing music or a sound machine or a recording that matches your chosen setting: if you have chosen a beach, So the sound of sea waves.
How to practice Visualization
Close your eyes and imagine your comfortable place. Picture it as clearly as you can: everything you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. In your mind’s glance it is just to “see” it as if a picture of you is not enough. Visualization works best if you include as many sensory details as possible. For example, if you are thinking of dock on a calm lake:
- See the sun setting over the water
- Hear the birds singing
- Smell the pine trees
- Feel the cool water on your bare feet
- Taste the fresh, clean air
Enjoy your worries drifting slowly, as you slowly explore your quiet place. When you are ready, open your eyes slowly and return to the present. Do not worry if you sometimes get out of nowhere or lose track during a visualization session. It is common. You may also experience feelings of heaviness in your limbs, muscle twitch or yawning. Again, these are common reactions.
4. Body Scan Meditation
It is a type of meditation that focuses your attention on different parts of your body. Like progressive muscle relaxation, you start with your feet and work your way up. But instead of relaxing and relaxing the muscles, you focus on the way each part of your body feels, without labeling the sensations as “good” or “bad”.
How to do body scan meditation
- Lie on your back, legs uncrossed, arms relaxed at your sides, eyes open or closed. Focus on your breathing for about two minutes until you start to feel relaxed.
- Turn your focus to the toes of your right foot. Notice any sensations you feel while continuing to also focus on your breathing. Imagine each deep breath flowing to your toes. Remain focused on this area for three to five seconds (or more).
- Move your focus to the sole of your right foot. Tune in to any sensations you feel in that part of your body and imagine each breath flowing from the sole of your foot. After one or two minutes, move your focus to your right ankle and repeat. Move to your calf, knee, thigh, hip, and then repeat the sequence for your left leg. From there, move up the torso, through the lower back and abdomen, the upper back and chest, and the shoulders. Pay close attention to any area of the body that causes you pain or discomfort.
- After completing the body scan, relax for a while in silence and stillness, noting how your body feels. Then slowly open your eyes and stretch, if necessary.
You probably already know that a professional massage at a spa or health club can help reduce stress, relieve pain, and reduce muscle tension. You may not be aware that you can work at home or gain some benefits by practicing self-massage, or business massage with a loved one.
At the end of a busy day, or in bed before bedtime, try to take a few minutes to massage yourself on your desk between tasks. To increase relaxation, you can use scented oil, scented lotion, or combine self-messaging with self-pity or deep breathing techniques.
How to do five-minute self-massage to relieve stress
The combination of strokes works well to relieve muscle tension. Try gentle chops along the edge of your hands or tap with fingers or cuffed palms. Apply fingertip pressure to the knots of muscle. Knead the muscles, and try long, light, gliding strokes. You can apply these strokes to any part of the body that falls easily within your reach. For such a short session, try to focus on your neck and head:
- Start by kneading the muscles at the back of your neck and shoulders. Make a loose fist and drum swiftly up and down the sides and back of your neck. Next, use your thumbs to work tiny circles around the base of your skull. Slowly massage the rest of your scalp with your fingertips. Then tap your fingers against your scalp, moving from the front to the back and then over the sides.
- Now massage your face. Make a series of tiny circles with your thumbs or fingertips. Pay particular attention to your temples, forehead, and jaw muscles. Use your middle fingers to massage the bridge of your nose and work outward over your eyebrows to your temples.
- Finally, close your eyes. Cup your hands loosely over your face and inhale and exhale easily for a short while.
6. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness has become extremely popular in recent years, garnering headlines and supporting celebrities, business leaders and psychologists alike. So, what is mindfulness? Instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, Mindfulness focuses your attention on what is happening right now, allowing you to be fully engaged in the present moment.
Meditations that cultivate meditation have long been used to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. Some of these practices bring you to the present by focusing your attention on a repetitive action, such as your breathing or some repeated words. Other forms of mindfulness meditation encourage you to follow and then release internal thoughts or sensations. Mindfulness can also be applied to activities such as walking, exercise, or eating.
It may seem simple to use mindfulness to stay focused on the present, but one has to practice to reap all the benefits. When you first start practicing, you will find that your attention keeps wandering back to your worries or regrets. But don’t be disappointed. Every time you bring your focus back to the present, you are reinforcing a new mental habit that can help you release tension about the past or about the future. Using an app or audio download can also help keep your focus focused, especially when you are getting started.
How to practice for mindfulness meditation
- Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted or distracted.
- Sit on a comfortable chair with your back straight.
- Close your eyes and find a point of focus, such as your breathing—the sensation of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth or your belly rising and falling—or a meaningful word that you repeat throughout the meditation.
- Don’t worry about distracting thoughts that go through your mind or about how well you’re doing. If thoughts intrude your relaxation session, don’t fight them, just gently turn your attention back to your point of focus, without judgment.
7. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a two-step process in which you systematically stress and relax various muscle groups in the body. With regular practice, it gives you an intimate introduction to what stress — as well as complete relaxation — is felt in different parts of your body. This can help you react to the first signs of muscle tension that accompany stress. And as your body relaxes, so will your mind.
Progressive muscle relaxation can be combined with deep breathing to relieve excess stress.
How to practice progressive muscle relaxation
- Loosen clothing, take off your shoes, and get comfortable.
- Take a few minutes to breathe in and out in slow, deep breaths.
- When you’re ready, shift your attention to your right foot. Take a moment to focus on the way it feels.
- Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot, squeezing as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10.
- Relax your foot. Focus on the tension flowing away and how your foot feels as it becomes limp and loose.
- Stay in this relaxed state for a moment, breathing deeply and slowly.
- Shift your attention to your left foot. Follow the same sequence of muscle tension and release.
- Move slowly up through your body, contracting and relaxing the different muscle groups.
- It may take some practice at first, but try not to tense muscles other than those intended.
8. Rhythmic Movement and Mindful Exercise
The idea of exercising may not seem particularly soothing, but the rhythmic exercises that you find in the flow of repetitive movement can produce a relaxation response. examples include:
Yoga involves a series of both combined and steady poses with deep breathing. Along with reducing anxiety and stress, yoga can improve flexibility, strength, balance and endurance. Since injuries can occur when yoga is practiced incorrectly, it is best to attend group classes, hire a private teacher, or at least follow video instructions. Once you learn the basics, you can practice alone or with others.
Type of yoga best for stress control
Although almost all yoga classes end in a relaxation posture, classes that emphasize slow, steady movements, deep breathing, and gentle stretching are best for stress relief.
- Satyananda is a traditional form of yoga. It features gentle poses, deep relaxation, and meditation, making it suitable for beginners as well as anyone aiming primarily for stress reduction.
- Hatha yoga is also a reasonably gentle way to relieve stress and is suitable for beginners. Alternately, look for labels like gentle, for stress relief, or for beginners when selecting a yoga class.
- Power yoga, with its intense poses and focus on fitness, is better suited to those looking for stimulation as well as relaxation.
The basics of these relaxation techniques are not difficult to learn, but it takes regular practice to tap their stress-relieving power. Try at least 10 to 20 minutes a day for your relaxation practice.
Set aside time in your daily schedule. If possible, schedule a set time once or twice a day for your practice. If your schedule is already packed, try meditating while commuting on the bus or train, taking a yoga break at lunchtime, or practicing mindful walking while exercising your dog.
Make use of smartphone apps and other aids. Many people find that smartphone apps or audio downloads can be useful in guiding them through different relaxation practices, establishing a regular routine, and keeping track of progress.
Expect ups and downs. Sometimes it can take time and practice to start reaping the full rewards of relaxation techniques such as meditation. The more you stick with it, the sooner the results will come. If you skip a few days or even a few weeks, don’t get discouraged. Just get started again and slowly build up to your old momentum.
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