Easy Relaxation Techniques for Stress
Stress is everywhere. There is no way in the world you can escape it. In fact, if you do try to evade stress it will only make things worse. No one ever wants to make things harder for themselves.
Really, all anyone can do is learn how to manage stress. Handling the difficulties you encounter makes all the difference between conquering your challenges, or being overpowered by them. Tell me how I know!
It is important to know that stress CAN be good. At this point you may say, “WHAT? You must be out of your mind.”
Yes, there is such a thing as good stress, otherwise known as eustress. This is the type of stress that motivates you. It can push you forward to help you reach goals, or push past barriers and obstacles.
Let me give you an example.
Perhaps you notice someone out preforming you. This could make you “step up your game.” Maybe it would have you back track and sharpen your skills. You could call it motivation to get more out of life.
Stress mainly refers to our reactions with the the many things that happen in life. Stress is very important to survival, but to much of it can be dangerous. Keep in mind what perhaps is stressful to you, may not be for someone else. That is OK.
When stress is out of control, you may experience physiological and emotional difficulties. How do you know if you are over-stressed?
High levels of stress can truly affect your body and mind. Under lots of stress you may notice these signs and symptoms:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased sex drive
- Chest pains
- Nervousness & shaking
- Pain & tight muscles
- Grinding teeth & very tight jaw
- Recurring colds & infections
This list could go on. When our bodies are stressed-out they try to let us know physically in many different ways. Basically, our body is trying to tell us to take care of ourselves. Why not listen?
How to Fight Back Against Stress
How do you keep stress from becoming distress?
You can work on battling these symptoms with a few easy relaxation techniques. They are tailored to help you approach stressors in your life, and change their impact on you in more permanent ways.
Make a plan – A lot of the time, stress happens because we don’t take the time to put some order in our lives. This may not always be easy at first, but it will help a ton over time. Let’s say you usually run late to work. Try to get up a bit earlier to avoid traffic. It is a good idea to think through a few events that are happening in your life, or will in the future, and plan it out. Write down some ideas that might help eliminate, or lessen the stress. This may not be a possibility, but give it a go. It works for me.
Take time for yourself – Most times many of us run around with to much to do. Busy people need to take a timeout. For some this may be a whole new idea. Perhaps you think there are just not enough hours in a day and that may be true, but making sure you take time for yourself is essential. You cannot run on empty, just as a car can’t run without gas. Try to block out 30 minutes a day just for you. Use this time to read, listen to music, meditate, or something that fits you individually. The goal is to calm both your body and mind. If 30 minutes a day is too much to start with then try even 5 minutes. Then up the time after awhile. You will be glad you did.
Visualization – This skill helps because you actively see yourself overcoming the stressors in your life. Think through how you would approach the stress, and then do it. The same can be said if you visualize yourself not being able to overcome obstacles then you won’t.
Exercise – Making sure you get daily exercise can really tackle stress. A stress-relieving exercise might be yoga. It combines stretching that help tone muscles, and also promote relaxation. However, there are lots of different exercises that help with stress.
You could try high energy activities like dancing (I have just recently found Body Groove by Misty Tripoli that looks like it would totally melt the stress away), running, or in-line skating. There is always Tai Chi that helps with body movements that flow and practices breathing. Maybe kickboxing could work for you. The important thing is that you get exercise through an activity that you like.
Lately Kev and I have been out boating on our inflatable fishing pontoons, just enjoying the outdoors. I have been rowing most of the time so I’m totally releasing stress every time we go out there. It feels great!
We already know that stress can be both good and bad. Try to make sure you use stress to motivate you instead of make you sick. Use the suggestions above to begin to dial back the stress in your life and get a handle on things.
What about feelings of anxiety?
This is another huge thorn in our sides at times. Actually a pain in our chest a lot of the time. There are some easy relaxation techniques for anxiety too.
Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety
If you feel stressed and anxious regularly it can reveal itself in many different ways. It could include muscle tension, headaches, chest pain and a lot more.
This is why some easy relaxation techniques for anxiety are an important way to alleviate tension and help your mind to feel more calm.
Here are the top 5 relaxation techniques for anxiety:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing: When we feel anxious we may start to hyperventilate (taking very shallow breaths). One of the best relaxation techniques for anxiety is to breathe using the full size of your lungs. Imagine you’re breathing into your stomach instead of your chest. As you breath in and out, your stomach should rise and fall with every breath.
- Visualization: Like I mentioned above visualization is good for stress, and it is also a tool for anxiety. It is the technique where you take your mind away from whatever it is that’s making you feel anxiety, and then training it to feel more relaxed. This is all done even during situations where you wouldn’t normally feel relaxed. When you visualize try to concentrate in detail about sights, sounds, smells and feelings in a location that made you feel relaxed and comfortable. An example could be when you’re on a low key vacation, on the beach or a room that has made you feel safe and calm.
- Hypnosis: There are many guides available in MP3 format about hypnosis relaxation. They will help take you your mind away from thoughts that leave you feeling stressed or anxious. They can help with different methods that help you relax your body. It is easy to find many of these for free or low cost on the internet or as an app for your phone. It is important to find a guide related to your specific issue. For example, there are hypnosis MP3s available for social phobias. If your anxiety comes up during social settings, you would want to make sure you chose this one. Maybe if your anxiety has increased because you are not sleeping well you could choose hypnosis designed to help you sleep better.
- Timed Breathing: It can be very difficult to try and breath deeply during a stressful situation, or anxiety attack. You can actually even start to hyperventilate. Instead of trying to breathe deeply, you can try timing your breathing. For example, try breathing in for a count of five, and then out counting to 7. Extending the count for your breath out (exhale) is shown to help relax your body’s nervous system. The counting gives you something different to focus your mind on.
- Improve Your Sleep: Even though getting enough sleep is not a relaxation technique in the same sense as those above, it is important to helping you feel more relaxed both physically and mentally . When you don’t get enough sleep you could start to feel anxious. A few tips include writing down your worries on a piece of paper before you go to sleep. This helps get them out of your mind. Try to avoid caffeine and exercise later in the day. Check out my tips for better sleep.
Book suggestion: The Anxiety Toolkit
Life can be very stressful these days, for adults and kids alike. Stress at school, with friendships, health issues, trauma and family problems can make it very difficult for kids to fall asleep and have a much-needed deep sleep. The effects of fear and anxiety and not being able to fall asleep can be far reaching for the child’s development.
Lori Lite is the author of the Indigo Dreams series. They are books and CDs designed for smaller kids, teens and adults containing proven relaxation techniques to combat anxiety, fear, anger and stress.
Lori Lite’s Indigo Dreams series seems like a fantastic tool to help your child/teen, or yourself if you suffer from stress and anxiety and can’t seem to fall asleep, to stay sleeping easily. Sounds interesting.
I would like to add – trying to follow a routine will help you to implement some of these easy relaxation techniques for stress. I know it is extremely hard to establish a certain pattern to your day. Take baby steps. Try to set a nightly routine that works for you and stick to it. Maybe a morning routine is more effective for you. The important thing is you start somewhere.
What type of relaxation techniques for stress and anxiety work best for you?