Relaxation Techniques You Can Practice Anywhere
In our busy world, no matter where you look, there is stress everywhere. Work, personal, physical and other life stress can all take a serious toll on both your physical and mental health. You may notice increasing muscle tension, aches, pains and physical health complaints. You may feel mentally exhausted, experiencing impaired concentration or creativity, anxiety, tiredness or emotional tension.
5 Powerful Relaxation Techniques
Mental and physical stress is no way to live. You deserve better—to experience a relaxed, calm, balanced, healthy and happy state of being. There is good news for you. You can achieve a sense of calmness and reduced tension anywhere with the right relaxation exercises.
Using these 5 powerful relaxation techniques for anxiety and stress, you can reduce tension, regain balance, sleep better and feel more joy in your life in both mind and body.
1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) was developed by Edmund Jacobson in the 1920s to help patients with muscle pain and tension regardless of a physical or mental illness. PMR can not only help with general relaxation but give relief to those dealing with various health conditions, including headaches, anxiety and even cancer.
To practice PMR, follow these steps:
- Find a quiet place and get into a comfortable position sitting or lying down.
- Start by inhaling deeply through your nose and slowly exhaling through your mouth for 3 - 5 cycles.
- Tighten your muscles by squeezing your body, clenching your toes and pushing your heels to the ground.
- Release, then flex your feet towards your head for a few seconds until releasing again.
- Move onto new muscle groups, your abdomen, legs, hands, arms, shoulders, neck and face.
- Tighten then release.
You can repeat these sequences as needed and finish your practice with some deep calming breaths.
2. Breathing Exercises
Controlling and regulating your breath through various breathing exercises is a powerful way to calm your mind and relax your body. You don’t need to go to a yoga class. You only need a couple of minutes to practice any of these three breathing exercises and achieve fantastic results over time.
- Stimulating Breath: Stimulating breath is an ancient yogic technique that can bring you more energy and mental focus. Keep your mouth closed and relaxed. Keeping your breaths short, inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose. You will make some funny noises and that’s normal. After three cycles, take a quick break. Breathe normally then try again. Start with 15 seconds or less, then increase it gradually.
- 4 - 7 - 8 Breathing: The 4 - 7 - 8 breathing exercise is quieter and you can do it anywhere. Get ready by exhaling all air through your mouth. Close your mouth. To the count of 4, inhale through your nose. Count to 7 while holding your breath. Let it all out through your mouth to the count of eight. Repeat this cycle at least 3 times twice a day.
- Breath Counting: Breath counting is a Zen technique that can help you with relaxation as well. Find a comfortable sitting position keeping your spine straight. Close your eyes. Begin with a few deep and cleansing breaths. Breathe in then count to 1 as you exhale. Breathe in again and count to 2 as you exhale. Next time count to 3, then 4, then 5. Never count to more than 5—instead start the cycle again. Over time, you can work up to 10 minutes of this breath counting Zen meditation practice.
Sitting at the computer working all day creates muscle tension. Regular stretching, especially stretching your neck and shoulder can help with aches, chronic pain and mental health. Repeating these 5 simple stretching techniques daily can help your muscles to relax and make you feel better both physically and mentally:
- Shoulder Shrugs: Take a few deep breaths, then start with a shoulder shrug. First, lift the top of your shoulder close to your ears imitating a shrug. Hold for 3-4 seconds, then release. Repeat 3-5 times, then move on to chin turns.
- Chin Turns: Begin by looking forward, then slowly move your chin to your left stretching the left side. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Move back to center then move your chin to your right repeating the same thing. Repeat this 2-3 times, then move on to head tilts.
- Head Tilts: Your starting position should be center. Tilt your head towards your right as if your ear was trying to touch your shoulder. Hold for 5-10 seconds, move back to center then move on to the other side. Repeat 2-3 times and get ready for a back stretch.
- Back Stretch: Place your palms on your lower back and bend your knees. Push your back forward using your palm. Hold it for 10 seconds then release. Repeat this exercise 2-3 times before move onto your last stretch, elbow pull.
- Elbow Pull: First, raise your right arm up as straight as you can the bend it behind your head. Deepen the stretch by pulling your elbow towards your head with your left hand. Hold for 10-15 seconds then repeat the other side. Do this exercise 2-3 times.
Repeat this entire stretching cycle at least twice a day or whenever you feel you need a stretch. If you need to, you can stretch your hips, back and hamstrings as well using yoga straps, wall stretches and the cat and cow pose. Over the course of a few weeks, you will notice more flexibility, less tension and less pain. Dr. Riter’s Real-Ease Neck Support can improve neck and shoulder tension more than most stretches you know. Using ergonomic office furniture that supports a good posture can also help to experience less tension and pain when working long hours.
4. Meditation and Visualization
Meditation and visualization are some of the best ways to alleviate stress. They can also be powerful relaxation techniques for sleep before bed. As you let distractions and worries disappear, you can achieve a state of blissful rest. Meditation and visualization can bring you immediate relief and a more relaxed being. What’s even better is that when practicing regularly, your mind and body will naturally learn to come back to a more centered, grounded and relaxed state when stress, pain or chaos arises.
There are many ways to practice meditation. You don’t necessarily have to sit in lotus pose (the yogic version of cross-legged) either. You can lie down or even find a movement meditation practice, such as dance or walking meditation. You may use a mantra for your meditation, including Sanskrit words such as ‘om’ or any mantra that feels right for you. You may want to take a course and learn a specific form of meditation, such as Vipassana, Transcendental Meditation, mindfulness meditation or Zen meditation.
Using a guided meditation exercise is possibly the easiest ways to guide your body and mind to a state of relaxation and calm.
Visualization is a form of meditation that you can do at any time without guidance. It’s like a quick mental vacation. Close your eyes and visualize your ‘happy place’. It can be anything, a beach, your cozy couch, the top of a mountain, the cozy hug of a loved one, your favorite yoga studio, or any place you love, feel happy and safe. Imagine being in this place by engaging all your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and touch? How does it feel in your body? Let yourself enjoy the moment. You can smile.
Getting a massage is a powerful act of self-care. It also has benefits for your body and health. Massage improves the circulation of oxygen and nutrients in your system. It can stretch tight and weak muscles, improve your flexibility and range of motion. It can help you manage and reduce your symptoms of chronic pain. Massage can improve your stress levels, anxiety, depression, sleep and quality of life.
There are so many massage techniques and similar bodywork therapies that you can choose from. Deep tissue massage and myofascial release are the most popular ones for deep work. There is also Swedish massage, hot stone massage, aromatherapy massage, craniosacral therapy, Shiatsu, reflexology, Thai massage, sports massage, trigger point massage and more. Talk to your massage therapist and experiment to find the one that works the best for you.
You can also practice massage at home. The easiest way is of course to have a partner, friend or family member to rub your back and shoulders. That’s not always available. You can practice self-massage techniques anywhere you are. Get the difficult knots out with a theracane and work on your foot, neck and hips using massage balls. After a long day on your feet, a foot massager feels heavenly. Massage chairs and massage cushions can be lifesavers to get personalized comfort and relaxation at home without any effort.
Integrating Your Relaxation Techniques
Practicing relaxation methods like PMR, breathing exercises, stretching, meditation, visualization and self-massage can ease muscle tension, relax your body, calm your mind, reduce pain and improve your overall health. Go through these relaxation exercises as often as you need and take them on the go with you.
To learn more about how ergonomic office furniture, massage chairs, massage cushions and self-massage tools can aid your relaxation, visit our store. Make sure to check back and share your wonderful results with us.