We live in a very busy society where we generally feel as though we are never allowed to stop for one moment to relax. We all have different body compositions and some people are better at relaxing than others. Further, people operate at different arousal levels. Thus those who are often energetic and highly aroused can be prone to anxiety and finding it difficult to ‘switch off’.
It’s important to try to stop and relax at some point during each day. This may seem impossible you if you have a million things to do (particularly if you are a working mother), however, this is something you should really try to commit to. Even just 5 minutes a day to stop and reflect would be really beneficial to your health and wellbeing.
There are a number of ways to meditate for instance, which can help you to refocus and centre yourself. A few relaxation techniques are outlined below. You can practice them at home, before
you start work, or in the car while your family member/friend/partner is driving the car. Just 5 minutes of your time is all it takes for a ‘quick fix’. Before you begin any of these techniques make sure you are in a comfortable position and request not to be disturbed.
There are a number of ways you can de-stress your mind in a matter of minutes. The three techniques below are quick-fix methods and usually just work to de-stress you in the moment. Thus, for long term benefits they should be used in conjunction with the long-term practices, such as regular 30 minute meditation and daily Rational Emotive Therapy.
1) Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation and imagery technique
First take a few deep breaths, then close your eyes and imagine yourself in a relaxing environment, for instance on a tropical island, having fun with friends, or reading a book. Now go through each muscle part of your body by tensing the muscles and then relaxing them and do each body part twice. For instance, you might first begin with your face, then your neck, then your shoulders, then your back, then your arms, then your hands, then your stomach, then your buttocks, then your thighs, then your calves and finally your feet.
2) Self hypnosis
Relax your mind by once again imagining yourself in a relaxing environment, for instance on a tropical island, having fun with friends, or reading a book. Then, count from 300 back to 1. By the
time you reach number 1 you should be very relaxed.
3) Sample breathing technique
Breathe in from your diaphragm (lower abdominal area) and slowly bring the breath up through the lower and upper chest for a count of 5. Then hold on to the breath for as long as possible without straining yourself (e.g. for a count of 15 – 20) and then exhale as slowly as possible.