6 Relaxation Exercises to Feel Better Now
These 6 relaxation exercises are sure to help melt away stress. Remember, stress management is a process!
Relaxation Exercises: 1. Fidget or Doodle
spinners, cubes and the likes are the latest trend when it comes to
keeping your hands busy. While they are the latest and greatest trend,
fidgeting is nothing new. We all do it. We fidget with pens, buttons,
keys, and anything else we can get our hands on. When we're not
fidgeting with our pens and pencils, we're using them to doodle. I'm
sure you've found yourself doing this during a meeting, a class, or a
helps you focus and it is a great stress reliever. If you're not in the
habit of fidgeting or doodling right now, give it a try. Handcrafts
like knitting are another great option. The rhythmic motion of playing
with any type of doodle device tends to slow down your heart rate and
makes your blood pressure go down: all signs that fidgeting helps you
that we've established that fidgeting works, it's time for you to give
it a try. Keep a pen and scratch pad close by so you can doodle while
you wait, listen, or think. This works great in meetings, at
conferences, or while you're on the phone. Of course, doodling for a few
minutes just to give yourself a mental break and relax is always a good
look around the house or office and see what kinds of fidgeting devices
you already have and are carrying with you. Pens and keys will work, as
will stress balls for example. Make a small pile of everything that
looks like a good fidgeting device and give it a try while you're
sitting around having conversations, watching TV, or just resting for a
few minutes. Figure out what works well for you. Some devices will work
great and feel like a lot of fun, while others may frustrate you to no
end. Make a short list of the fun and relaxing ones.
simply make sure you have them easily accessible wherever you may need
them. You can also try some of the inexpensive devices made specifically
for fidgeting. Fidget spinners are the hot new trend right now, but
they can get a bit annoying and distracting to others. Fidget cubes may
be a better alternative. Trial and error will show you what works well
for you and what doesn't. Then simply get in the habit of using them as
de-stress and relaxation devices.
When it works best: Meetings, talking on the phone, etc.
Relaxation Exercises: 2. Abdominal Breathing Technique
How it’s done: With one hand on the chest and the
other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the
diaphragm (not the chest) inflates with enough air to create a stretch
in the lungs. The goal: Six to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10
minutes each day to experience immediate reductions to heart rate and
blood pressure, McConnell says. Keep at it for six to eight weeks, and
those benefits might stick around even longer.
When it works best: Before an exam, or any stressful
Relaxation Exercises: 3. Nadi Shodhana or “Alternate Nostril Breathing”
How it’s done: A yogi’s best friend, this breath is said to bring calm and balance, and unite the right and left sides of the brain.
Starting in a comfortable meditative pose, hold the right thumb over
the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the
peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger,
then exhale through the right nostril. Continue the pattern, inhaling
through the right nostril, closing it off with the right thumb and
exhaling through the left nostril.
When it works best:
Crunch time, or whenever it’s time to focus or energize. Just don’t try
this one before bed: Nadi shodhana is said to “clear the channels” and
make people feel more awake. It’s almost like a cup of coffee!
Relaxation Exercises: 4. Kapalabhati or “Skull Shining Breath”
How it’s done: Ready to brighten up your day from the inside out? This one begins with a long, slow inhale
followed by a quick, powerful exhale generated from the lower belly.
Once comfortable with the contraction, up the pace to one inhale-exhale
(all through the nose) every one to two seconds, for a total of 10
When it works best: When it’s time to wake up, warm
up or start looking on the brighter side of things. If alternate nostril breathing
is like coffee, consider this a shot of espresso.
Relaxation Exercises: 5. Progressive Relaxation
How it’s done: To nix tension from head to toe, close the eyes and focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle group for two to three seconds each. Start with the feet
and toes, then move up to the knees, thighs, rear, chest, arms, hands,
neck, jaw and eyes — all while maintaining deep, slow breaths. Having
trouble staying on track? Breathe in through the nose, hold for a count of five while the muscles tense, then breathe out through the mouth on release.
When it works best: At home, at a desk or even on
the road. One word of caution: Dizziness is never the goal. If holding
the breath ever feels uncomfortable, tone it down to just a few seconds
Relaxation Exercises: 6. Guided Visualization
How it’s done: Head straight for that “happy place," no questions asked. With a coach, therapist or helpful recording as your guide, breathe deeply while focusing on pleasant, positive images to replace any negative thoughts.
When it works best: Pretty much anyplace you can safely close your eyes and let go (e.g. not at the wheel of a car). ~ parts adapted via Greatist.com
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