There are tremendous health benefits to be had when relaxation techniques are used to reduce the stress of responsibilities and tasks or the demands an illness can have on the body and mind.

Relaxation reduces stress by:

  • the heart rate.
  • Lowering blood pressure.
  • Slowing your breathing rate.
  • Increasing blood flow to major muscles.
  • Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain.
  • Improving concentration.
  • Reducing anger and frustration.
  • Boosting confidence to handle problems.

Relaxation techniques involve refocusing your attention on something calming and increasing awareness of your body.

Types of relaxation techniques:

  • Autogenic relaxation comes from within you and uses both visual imagery and body awareness. You repeat words or suggestions in your mind to relax and reduce muscle tension.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation focuses on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. This helps you focus on the difference between muscle tension and relaxation.
  • Visualization is when you form mental images to take a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation. Try to use as many senses as you can, including smell, sight, sound and touch.
  • Hypnosis
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga

Relaxation takes practice and as you perform these techniques you will become more aware of muscle tension and other physical sensations of stress.

Make a conscious effort to practice a relaxation technique the moment you start to feel stress symptoms.

How to be happy: Tips for cultivating contentment

  • Devote time to family and friends.
  • Appreciate what you have.
  • Maintain an optimistic outlook.
  • Feel a sense of purpose.
  • Live in the moment.
  • Surround yourself with happy people.