Relaxation Techniques are defined in the dictionary as “any method, process, procedure or activity that helps a person to relax”. In other words, doing something that makes you feel better. There’s no “right” way to relax, it’s very much a case of doing whatever works for you so you may need to try a few different ways till you find yours.
Most relaxation techniques start off from the same point – find a warm, safe place, loosen your clothing slightly, take off your shoes, make yourself comfortable and begin.
The simplest, yet often most effective, way to relax is deep breathing – settle yourself down and close your eyes then take a slow, deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds and then, slowly, let it out again. Repeat till you feel calmer. If that helps slightly you can take it further by lying flat on your back and trying PMR (Progressive Muscle Relaxation). Start as above, breathing deeply then, beginning with your feet and working right up through your body, tense each muscle group, hold for a few seconds and then relax. Concentrate on listening to your breathing. You can try using imagery at this point (imagining yourself in a beautiful, peaceful place for example) which will further help to reduce your stress levels
As with any relaxation technique take a few minutes to bring yourself back into the room, becoming aware of everything around you, maybe stretching a little before you get up slowly, feeling much calmer. As the day progresses try to remember how you felt when you were really relaxed.
You can also try things like yoga, meditation and exercise – all which have a good track record of reducing your stress levels and which are relatively easy to do.
The secret of all of these techniques is repetition – do whatever you’ve chosen regularly and you will feel the benefits.