Many people believe that relaxation is all about television after having a stressful day. Though, this offers little help in terms of reducing the damaging effects of stress. We need to learn how to activate the natural relaxation response of the body for us to successfully combat stress. Here, performing a relaxing breathing exercise, for instance, deep breathing, rhythmic exercise, mediation as well as yoga can make a huge difference. If you can do these activities regularly, your everyday stress will automatically reduce in addition to boosting energy and mood. Individuals, who want to improve their physical and mental health, can also use these relaxing breathing exercises.
What is the Relaxation Response?
Stress has adverse effects over the nervous system. It produces a lot of chemicals and stimulates ‘fight or flight’ response for the body to react accordingly. In emergency situations, where you must act quickly, this stress response can be an advantage. But, if you cannot control it because of everyday stress, then your body would suffer from emotional and physical problems.
You cannot avoid being stressful, though you can deal with its negative effects through learning how you can produce a relaxation response. The relaxation response is a state of deep rest to combat stress. It helps to calm down the body as well as mind to restore the state of equilibrium.
When your body achieves the relaxation response state, it would result in the following benefits:
• Low heart rate
• Have slower and deeper breathing
• Low or stabilized blood pressure
• Muscles will relax
• Increased blood flow to the brain
Another reason to focus on the relaxation response is to improve focus and energy. It also helps to relieve aches and pain, combats illness, stimulates problem-solving abilities and boosts motivation and productivity. The good thing is that you can, as well, reap the benefits only if you can regularly practice some relaxing breathing exercises. Though, you can also take an acupuncture session or a professional massage for better results. You can also do them with the help of cheap Smartphone apps and free audio downloads.
How to Find Relaxation Technique that Suits You?
There is no specific relaxation technique that is best for each person. The one that works best for you is the one that fits your lifestyle and resonates with you. Such techniques ought to focus your mind as well as interrupt your thoughts to bring about the relaxation response. In some cases, alternating or combining these techniques can work best. How you have been reacting to stress also plays a great role when it comes to choosing the appropriate technique. For this, you have to know the following types of responses:
The ‘Fight’ Response:
When in stress, you may get agitated, angry and keyed up quickly. At this point, you need to apply some relaxing breathing exercises in order to calm down. The exercise can be either deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery.
The ‘Flight’ Response:
When you are depressed, spaced out or agitated, your nervous system might suffer from a lot of trouble. You need to energize and stimulate it with the help of massage, power yoga or rhythmic exercises.
The Immobilization Response:
The first thing to do is to strengthen the nervous system so that it can go beyond giving the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response. You can also apply some relaxation techniques at work to avoid compromise over productivity.
Relaxing Breathing Exercises
Now that you are aware of different response types, it’s time to explore some effective relaxing breathing exercises to overcome stress.
1. Deep Breathing
This is a simple and powerful relaxing breathing technique. Its main focus is on cleansing breath. Deep breathing is easy to learn and can be practiced almost everywhere. Apart from it being the cornerstone of different relaxation practices, it can get the stress level in check. Also, you can combine it with other relaxation elements like music and aromatherapy. You just need a few minutes to do this; though apps and audio downloads can give you some guidelines on how to make it more effective.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This is a two-step process that makes the muscles tense and relaxes at the same time. If you practice this regularly, with whatever tension it brings, you will experience optimal relaxation. It helps in reacting to the first muscular tension’s signs that accompany stress. If your mind relaxes, your body will relax too. Also, for intensive stress relief, this relaxation can be combined with the deep breathing.
3. Body Scan Medication
With this meditation, you will pay much attention to different parts of your body. This activity requires you to start with your feet as you work your way up. All that is required of you is to focus on how your body parts feel. While doing this, do not label the sensation as either bad or good.
4. Mindfulness Meditation
You should neither worry about the future nor dwell on the past. This technique involves relaxing breathing exercises that will make you be fully active in the present moments. It cultivates mindfulness, which reduces stress, depression, anxiety together with other negative emotions. Some meditations are meant for encouraging you to release your internal sensation or thoughts.
5. Rhythmic Movement and Mindful Exercise
Though exercising does not sound soothing to some people, rhythmic exercise can bring about a very relaxing experience. Examples of rhythmic movement include climbing, dancing, rowing, running, and swimming. Though engaging in the rhythmic exercise can relieve stress, but it can be more effective if it is combined with another mindfulness component.
6. Yoga and Tai Chi
Yoga incorporates stationary and moving poses, which are combined with deep breathing. Apart from just reducing stress, it recommended for improving flexibility, stamina, balance, and strength. When yoga is practiced inappropriately, injuries can happen. So, there is a need for hiring a private coach or attending group classes. All you need is to grasp the basic concepts then you are good to go.
7. Self Massage
Professional massage in hotels and spas can assist relieve pain, ease muscle tension and reducing pain. You can enjoy these benefits if you try this at home with your loved ones. Between-task, you can spare some time to massage yourself in bed if you want to unwind before you sleep or on the couch at the end of the day. For the relaxation to be enhanced, combine it with deep breathing or mindfulness or use scented lotions or romantic oil.
How to Start A Regular Relaxation Practice?
Learning the basics of relaxing breathing exercises simple but, you should be consistent with their practice to reap all benefits. According to stress expert, you need at least 10 minutes a day for relaxing breathing exercises. If you are looking forward to maximizing the advantages, consider practicing for thirty minutes to one hour.