Photo by Lulu Lemon
Hans Selye, the Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist who studied and coined the word ‘stress’, once gave this sage advice: “It is not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” Very good advice indeed, but how do you really force yourself into a relaxation mode when the stressor is hitting your patience repeatedly? Here are some natural relaxation techniques that really work:
- Laughter and Humor – Laughter is indeed the best medicine. Sigmund Freud stated that laughter releases psychic energy that is effective in blocking unacceptable impulses. It dissipates tension, anger, and depression to name a few. Laughter releases neuropeptides that fights stress, stimulates circulation, and helps your muscles relax. Laughter is free and powerful. Abuse it.
- Imagination – Use conscious imagery to your advantage! It is done by creating mental pictures of the things you desire. Think of a city where you want to be at right now, a happy childhood event or what you would do if you suddenly see insert name of celebrity crush here.
- Sounds – Music therapy shouldn’t be rigid in order to work. Don’t limit yourself to just the sound of ocean waves or raindrops falling. That helps others relax, yes; but if Mozart, Beethoven, or even Pearl Jam are your thing, then go for those!
- Massage – The mere word itself just made us relax. Touch therapy stimulates healing and overall well-being. The benefits of massage run a gamut – from physical to spiritual. Simple petrissage (kneading technique) at the shoulders can already make a person de-stress.
- Conscious Breathing – Breathing alleviates pain, soothes panic attacks, and helps you relax! Close your eyes, inhale slowly and consciously through your nose, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this 5 – 10 times.
- Yoga – Amongst the 8 stages of Yoga, Pranayama (breath control) and Dharana (concentration of the mind) are the ones that aid in relaxation best. It helps the person control his/her breathing, calm mental excitement, and eventuality achieve tranquility. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that you’ll end up with a killer and healthier physique. That alone is a stress reliever.
- Foot Reflexology – If you’re not up for a body massage, foot reflexology or zone therapy is an option to consider. It is believed that when enough pressure is placed on the zones of our feet, tension is released.
- Prayer – The relaxing effect of talking to a Higher Providence is something that defies logic. There have been a lot of theories, but none can prove the exact reason. Whatever the reason may be, the important thing is that we find solace in it.
- Meditation – Like all other things, meditation takes a couple of practice before you get the hang of it. The key is to find a place with least distractions. Sit cross-legged on the floor with your palms resting on your thighs. Close your eyes then focus on either a single image or your breathing. Do this for 10-20 minutes.
- Progressive Relaxation – This is all about tensing and relaxing certain muscle groups. Sit comfortably on a chair. Clench your right or left fist tightly while focusing on the feeling of muscle tension as you do. Allow the fist to relax after 10 seconds then repeat.
- Go for a Walk – When something gets too overwhelming, walk out! Literally. Go to a park for a relaxing stroll or to your favorite mall. Changing the environment will help you clear your mind of the stressor.
- Jot It Down – Contrary to what some people think, a diary is still considered de rigueur. Let the pages of your diary absorb your current thoughts and feelings. It is called expressive writing. Just let it flow continuously without a care if your grammar or punctuation marks are correct or not. Read what you wrote after a year, and check if all the wrinkles you acquired was worth it. This is better than letting it all out on Facebook, don’t you think?
- Count Your Blessings – Highly important, but rarely used. Are you alive? Good! That’s blessing number one. As Tony Montana once said, “Everyday above the ground is a good day.” Think of all the things that made you happy. You’ll be surprised to learn that the good things still outweighs the bad ones. Relax and remember who you are…an amazing superstar.