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Relaxation is a state of low tension in the mind and body. People frequently use specific procedures, called relaxation techniques, to become more relaxed. Tension is a state of physical stiffness in the body that can cause pain and even emotional reactions such as anxiety.
Physical relaxation aims to undo this tension and progressively relax muscles and muscle groups. Psychological relaxation occurs when the mind is relatively free of stress and distraction. People may still have stress in their lives or tasks to complete when they are psychologically relaxed, but stress and tension are not foremost in the minds of relaxed people. Psychological relaxation can affect physical relaxation, and people under stress frequently experience physical aches and pains as well as muscle tension. Some people have more trouble with relaxation than others.
People who tend toward anxiety may experience fewer states of relaxation than others. There are a wide variety of relaxation techniques, and some people seek help from therapists to learn how to relax. Some common relaxation techniques include:. This approach to relaxation involves using essential oils and natural fragrances to reduce stress and induce a sense of calm. Research has shown aromatherapy can be an effective relaxation strategy, with some scientifically proven essential oils for reducing stress including clary sage, geranium, lavender, and ylang ylang.
Physical activity in the form of yogajogging, Seeking a person to relax with a variety of other exercise approaches have been shown in a wide range of studies to tame stress and anxiety. Even taking short, daily walks can help people relax. Some individuals use herbal supplements to aid in relaxation and lessen anxiety. While some experts suggest relaxation attributed to herbal remedies may be due to the placebo effectothers find that taking certain supplements is indeed effective.
There are many types of and approaches to meditationbut most of them involve using a quiet, comfortable space and focus to calm the mind and body. Multiple studies have shown that meditation, particularly mindfulness meditation, may help improve anxiety symptoms. There are many types of massage.
The practice of massage often focuses on physically helping people reduce many types of muscle tension, including tension caused by stress or anxiety. While more research is needed to show that massage can effect long-term stress reduction, at least one study has shown that cortisol levels are lower after a massage session. Anti-anxiety medication may be one component of mental health treatment for an anxiety disorder. When used appropriately, medication may help some individuals achieve relaxation and get relief from tension. Some people listen to music they find relaxing in order to achieve a sense of calm, reduce tension, or soothe sadness or anxiety.
Progressive muscle relaxation is commonly used to combat muscle tension that may occur as a result of anxiety or stress. This exercise involves tensing and relaxing one part of the body at a time. A study published in Biological Psychology showed that progressive muscle relaxation lowered stress, anxiety, and cortisol levels in test subjects.
In some types of therapy, relaxation exercises play a key role. Also known as autogenic relaxationthis relaxation technique is similar to progressive muscle relaxation. Autogenic relaxation may be done during a therapy session and involves calming breathing techniques and meditation to achieve relaxation. A study found that autogenic training helped with headaches, hypertension, anxiety, depression, and sleep issues. As CBT is often used to help people recognize and confront unhealthy thought patterns and replace them with functional ones, it may also help people root out thought habits that contribute to tension.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy MBCT may also help reduce anxiety and stress. During guided therapeutic imagerya therapist helps someone envision a relaxing scenario. A study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found guided imagery and relaxation were just as effective as progressive muscle relaxation in reducing pain. Another study found that guided imagery increased self-esteem and reduced anxiety in postpartum mothers. Research supports the effectiveness of hypnosis in reducing anxiety and calming somatic symptoms caused by stress. Difficulty achieving relaxation can lead to serious physical and mental health issues including anxiety, chronic fatigueheadaches, chronic pain, sleep disorders, hypertension, and more.
With the help of a compassionate mental health professional, you can explore the roots of your tension and learn new skills and relaxation techniques you can use to gain a deeper sense of calm and greater health and well-being. Find a therapist near me. When tension arises as a result of a mental health issue or stressor, it may help to choose some relaxation techniques that work for you and practice them regularly. Individuals with anxiety or who are prone to panic attacks may need help relaxing in the moment if their anxiety response becomes overpowering.
One tool often touted as one of the most effective strategies for relaxing or coming down from a panic attack is to breathe. A common breathing exercise for relaxation is to take a deep breath from your abdomen not your chest and inhale through your nose for a full breath. Then, exhale through your mouth slowly till the end of the breath.
Repeat until your body begins to relax. Those who experience social anxiety or someone preparing for a job interview may also find they have trouble relaxing. In addition to deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises, some people find repeating certain thoughts or affirmations to themselves may help them begin to relax. When stress is caused by a known fear or worry about a specific situation, confronting the anxiety-causing thoughts may be the first step to relaxation. One study found that in mothers about to go into labor, repeating affirmations had a marked impact on their anxiety levels, allowing them to achieve more relaxation while in labor.
Please fill out all required fields to submit your message. This is definitely a great post. What I liked the most is that you have given references along, which have actually helped me in getting deeper into the topic. Thanks a lot! By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy. Get Listed. What Is Relaxation? Relaxation Techniques There are a wide variety of Seeking a person to relax with techniques, and some people seek help from therapists to learn how to relax.
Some common relaxation techniques include: Aromatherapy This approach to relaxation involves using essential oils and natural fragrances to reduce stress and Seeking a person to relax with a sense of calm. Exercise Physical activity in the form of yogajogging, and a variety of other exercise approaches have been shown in a wide range of studies to tame stress and anxiety. Herbal remedies Some individuals use herbal supplements to aid in relaxation and lessen anxiety.
Individual meditation There are many types of and approaches to meditationbut most of them involve using a quiet, comfortable space and focus to calm the mind and body. Massage There are many types of massage. Medication Anti-anxiety medication may be one component of mental health treatment for an anxiety disorder. Music Some people listen to music they find relaxing in order to achieve a sense of calm, reduce tension, or soothe sadness or anxiety. Progressive muscle relaxation Progressive muscle relaxation is commonly used to combat muscle tension that may occur as a result of anxiety or stress.
Relaxation in Therapy In some types of therapy, relaxation exercises play a key role. Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT As CBT is often used to help people recognize and confront unhealthy thought patterns and replace them with functional ones, it may also help people root out thought habits that contribute to tension.
Guided therapeutic imagery During guided therapeutic imagerya therapist helps someone envision a relaxing scenario. References: Ali, B. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 5 8 Panic attacks: How do I stop them?
Medical News Today. A comparison of two relaxation strategies for the relief of pain and its distress. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 2 4 Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: Systemic review. Nutrition Journal, 9, Coping strategies for working women: Aerobic exercise and relaxation interventions.
Behavior Therapy, 19 1 The effect of diaphragmatic breathing on attention, negative affect and stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 8 Relaxation techniques: Try these steps to reduce stress. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 7 4 The impact of abbreviated progressive muscle relaxation on salivary cortisol.
Biological Psychology, 60 1 Centre for Clinical Interventions. An explanatory study of the effectiveness of a relaxation with guided imagery protocol.
Journal of Holistic Nursing, 11 3 The health benefits of yoga and exercise: A review of comparison studies. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16 1. Autogenic training: A meta-analysis of clinical outcome studies. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 27 1 Advances in Health and Sciences Research.
The effect of music on the human stress response. PLoS One, 8 8.
Hypnosis and relaxation therapies. Western Journal of Medicine, 4 Invalid Address. Please confirm that you are human. Richard H. September 11th, at PM What is the best way to relax when feeling depressed? Leave a Comment By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.
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