6 Psychological Relaxation Techniques (Anti-stress)

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Robert Maurer


Practicing these psychological relaxation techniques for even a few minutes a day can bring you inner calm.

We all face lifelong stressful situations, ranging from minor annoyances like traffic jams to larger concerns like a loved one's serious illness.

No matter what the cause, stress floods the body with hormones. Your heart beats fast, your breathing quickens, and your muscles tense.

This so-called "stress response" is a normal response to threatening situations, perfected in our prehistoric times to help us survive threats like an animal attack or a flood.

Nowadays, we rarely face these physical dangers, but the difficult situations of daily life can trigger the response of our peripheral nervous system.

We cannot eliminate all sources of stress from our lives, nor do we want to. But we can develop healthier ways of responding to certain external stimuli.

Develop the psychological relaxation response.

One way is to train the so-called "relaxation response," through a technique first developed in the 70s at Harvard Medical School by cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson, director of the School's Special Health Report. of Medicine from Harvard.

The relaxation response is the opposite of the stress response. It is a state of deep rest that can be awakened in many ways. With regular practice, you create a source of calm that you can dip into when needed.

Below are six psychological relaxation techniques that can help evoke the relaxation response and reduce stress.

6 Anti-Stress Psychological Relaxation Techniques

1. Concentration on the breath

In this simple and powerful technique, you take long, slow, deep breaths (also known as abdominal or belly breathing). As you breathe, you gently unwind your mind from distracting thoughts and feelings. Breath focus can be especially helpful for people with eating disorders, helping them focus on their body in a positive way. However, this technique may not be appropriate for those with health conditions that make breathing difficult, such as respiratory problems or heart failure.

2. Body Scan

This technique fuses breath focus with progressive muscle relaxation. After a few minutes of deep breathing, you focus on one part of your body or muscle group at a time and mentally release the physical tension you feel there. A body scan can help increase your awareness of the mind-body connection. If you have had recent surgery that affects your body image or other issues with your body, this technique may be less helpful for you.

3. Guided imagery

For this technique, relaxing scenes, places, or experiences are evoked in your mind to help you relax and focus. You can find free apps and online recordings of relaxing scenes; Be sure to choose images that you find calming and have personal meaning. Guided imagery can help you reinforce a positive view of yourself, but can be difficult for those with intrusive thoughts or difficulty visualizing mental images.

4 Conscious meditation

This practice consists of sitting comfortably, concentrating on your breath, and bringing your mind's attention to the present moment without worrying about the past or the future. This form of meditation has enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years. Research suggests it may be beneficial for people prone to anxiety, depression, and pain.

5. Yoga, Tai Chi y Qigong.

These three ancient arts combine rhythmic breathing with a series of postures or fluid movements. The physical aspects of these practices offer a mental focus that can help take your mind off the hustle and bustle of modern society. They can also improve flexibility and balance. But if you're not normally active, have health problems, or have a painful or disabling condition, these relaxation techniques may be too challenging. Consult your doctor before starting them.

6. Repetitive sentence

For this technique, a short prayer or prayer phrase is silently repeated while concentrating on the breath. This method can be especially appealing if religion or spirituality is significant to you.

Psychological Relaxation Techniques - Conclusions

Instead of choosing just one technique, experts recommend trying several to see which one works best for you. Try to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day, although a few minutes can help. But the longer and more often you practice these relaxation techniques, the greater the benefits and the more you can reduce stress.

For other articles on psychology, check out our dedicated section:

psychological health

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