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Relaxation Techniques by Heba Jackson

Relaxation- Simple breathing exercise

Relaxation teaches us to release physical and mental stress or tensionIt is as important as other factors such as diet and activity when it comes to living healthy lifestyleIt is important to find a technique that works for you and practice it, so that it is easy for you to use when you really need it.

Benefits

  • It helps you to breath more effectively
  • It helps with the unpleasant feelings you get when anxious or stressed, such as increased heart rate and sweating
  • It boosts energy levels as tense people often feel tired
  • You will find everyday activities will be easier
  • It will reduce any pain which is a result of tension, headache for example, and also help you cope with any pain you have
  • It can improve the quality of your sleep
  • Your confidence in coping with your day to day life will grow

Learning how to relax may be a new skill for you and with any new skill, practice is essential in order to consolidate the learning.

Simple breathing exercise

Place both of your hands with the middle fingertips lightly touching on your stomach just under your rib cage. Relax your shoulders.

Take a deep breath filling the bottom of your lungs and as you breathe in, notice the movement of your hands.

Did they move at all?

If you breathe from your diaphragm, your two middle fingers should no longer be touching. As you breath out they should come together again.

Breathing diaphragmatically means we breathe in a deep slow regular and rhythmical fashion which triggers the relaxation response. Therefore it feels good and can be practised any time you want.

Use this breathing method before you get tense, or when you are in a stressful situation (such as after a fall or near miss).

Practise your deep breathing – nobody will notice, so breathe away!

Make relaxation a way of being

As you practice relaxation your skill in identifying tense muscles will develop. When you notice your body getting tense you need to take action, try some of the ideas below.

  • Breathe through your nose, letting your stomach muscles rise up as you breath in
  • Think about your posture, drop your shoulders and sit back in your chair
  • Focus on the tense area, tighten it and then relax the muscles. Imagine the muscles becoming relaxed
  • Repeat a word or phrase that you find helps you, e.g. ‘relax’, ‘stay calm’, or ‘let go’
  • Think of a calming relaxing scene, either an imagined one or from a memory of a favourite place, e.g. a beach or countryside. Imagine what you would hear, see, smell etc
  • Think about your posture, drop your shoulders and sit back in your chair
  • Focus on the tense area, tighten it and then relax the muscles. Imagine the muscles becoming relaxed
  • Repeat a word or phrase that you find helps you, e.g. ‘relax’, ‘stay calm’, or ‘let go’
  • Think of a calming relaxing scene, either an imagined one or from a memory of a favourite place, e.g. a beach or countryside. Imagine what you would hear, see, smell etc

Brief Scanning Relaxation

  1. As you breathe in, notice your face, neck, shoulders and arm
  2. As you breathe out, feel the tension slip away
  3. As you breath in, notice your chest, lungs and stomach
  4. As you breath out, feel the tension drift away
  5. As you breath in, notice your hips, legs and feet
  6. As you breath out, feel tension drift away

Relaxation – Toe Tensing

  • Relaxation teaches us to release physical and mental stress or tension
  • It is as important as other factors such as diet and activity when it comes to living healthy lifestyle
  • It is important to find a technique that works for you and practice it, so that it is easy for you to use when you really need it

Learning how to relax may be a new skill for you and with any new skill, practice is essential in order to consolidate the learning.

Toes Tensing

By alternately tensing and relaxing your toes you draw tension from the rest of your body, aiding restful sleep or a more relaxed state. Avoid this exercise if you get cramp in your legs or feet.

  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes
  2. Sense your toes
  3. Now pull all ten toes up. Count to 10 slowly
  4. Now relax your toes. Count to 10 slowly
  5. Now repeat the above cycle 10 times

You can relax wherever you are by following the three following steps:

  1. Stop whatever you’re doing.
  2. Relax your shoulders and drop them down.
  3. Breathe out fully, two to three times (just let the in-breath happen).

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