Sunday, November 6, 2011

Relieving Stress

I thought I would share one of the ways I relieve stress in my life.  It is easy to tell someone to do something but you need the tools to do it.  Here is a tool I use to deal with day-to-day stress helping me to be happier.

Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief

You can’t be happy when you are stressed.  When I am stressed or can’t sleep because my mind is too active, I practice deep relaxation.  I have done it for years and go to it often for a stress reliever.  It helps reduce stress on the mind and body.  I use deep breathing and muscle relation.  It has helped me to stay calm in the face of life’s unexpected moments.


Deep breathing can be practiced almost anywhere, and provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check. You can combine it with aromatherapy and/or music.  The key to deep breathing is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible in your lungs. When you take deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from your upper chest, you inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen you get, the less tense, short of breath, and anxious you feel.
  • Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
  • Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
  • Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
  • Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly to 10 as you exhale.
If you find it difficult breathing from your abdomen while sitting up, try lying down.  You can buy relaxation music to listen to also (nature sounds, birds singing, a babbling brook, the ocean, etc work well).  So easy, even a kid can do it.  Teach it to your kids by making it a game.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation involves a two-step process in which you systematically tense and relax different muscle groups in the body.  With regular practice, progressive muscle relaxation helps you become more aware of tension in your body as well as being aware of your complete relaxation in different parts of the body. This awareness helps you spot and counteract the first signs of the muscular tension that accompanies stress. As your body relaxes, so will your mind. You can combine deep breathing with muscle relaxation for an additional level of stress relief.  Like most people, I start at the feet and work my way up to my face.
·       Loosen your clothing, take off your shoes, and get comfortable.
·       Take a few minutes to relax, breathing in and out in slow, deep breaths.
·       When you’re relaxed and ready to start, pay attention to your right foot. Take a moment to focus on the way it feels. Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot, squeezing as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10.
·       Relax your right foot. Focus on the tension flowing away and the way your foot feels as it becomes limp and loose.
·       Stay in this relaxed state for a moment, breathing deeply and slowly.
·       Talk silently to your foot telling it to relax, relax, relax.
·       When you’re ready, shift your attention to your left foot. Follow the same sequence of muscle tension and release.
·       Move slowly up through your body, contracting and relaxing the muscle groups as you go.
·       Practice, practice, practice.  It may take some time to learn at first but keep at it.  Try not to tense muscles other than those intended.

The most popular sequence runs as follows:
  1. Right foot
  2. Left foot
  3. Right calf
  4. Left calf
  5. Right thigh
  1. Left thigh
  2. Hips and buttocks
  3. Stomach
  4. Chest
  5. Back
  1. Right arm and hand
  2. Left arm and hand
  3. Neck and shoulders
  4. Face
If you are left-handed you may want to begin with your left foot instead.

It helps lower my stress.  I like to do it before I go to bed while lying down in my bed.  I can relax so much that it will put me to sleep on those nights I can’t fall asleep. Good luck.

Be happy, stress free and God bless you.

No comments:

Post a Comment