Relaxation Techniques: Beyond Vegging in Front of the TV!

Practicing relaxation techniques is not a passive endeavor! Zoning out in front of the TV doesn't count as a great strategy because, in order to really be effective, you have to be an active participant in the process.

How Stressed Are You? Take the Quiz to Find Out!

Relaxation Techniques Do Not Solve Everything

You cannot solely rely on relaxation techniques to "get rid of stress." There is more work to be done. Try to figure out what's causing your stress.

For example, you are stressed out because you are heavily in debt. While relaxation techniques may ease the tension and allow you to focus better on a solution, it is best to also figure out a way of paying down bills.

Using relaxation techniques is just one approach to coping with stress!

When To Use Relaxation Techniques?

1) When you are relaxed! This may sound strange, but it's important to practice relaxation strategies when you are relaxed to reinforce their positive outcomes and make them more automatic in your brain. If you only practice relaxing in the midst of feeling stressed, you run the risk of associating them with something unpleasant. Also, the brain learns and retains information much more effectively when relaxed. So, practice relaxation techniques regularly. That way, when you are stressed, you have the stress relief tools ready to go!

2) When you need to focus. If you are having difficulty concentrating at work or school, take a moment to practice relaxing. Relaxation techniques inherently bring about self-awareness and really help with concentration.

3) When you are about to make a big decision or do something difficult. You've heard the expression, "I need to sleep on it." Well, "sleep on it" is actually some good advice. When making a big decision or doing something difficult, such as deciding whether or not to relocate, most of us can spend a lot of time agonizing over what to do. We weigh the pros and cons over and over in our minds until we have no clue what to do anymore! This is a good time to gain some perspective by using a relaxation technique.

4) When you are having a hard time falling asleep. If your mind is swimming with a million thoughts or you just can't seem to get comfortable, bring back your focus to something relaxing. 

5) When you are feeling stressed. Ideally, you want to know yourself and your stress patterns well enough to recognize when you are starting to feel overwhelmed. That way you can take a "time out" for yourself and use a relaxation strategy so that you feel more in control of your stress response. But, relaxation techniques can be helpful even when you have already reached the point of no return!

Again, practicing relaxation will not make the stressful event/person/thing disappear, but it will help you regain a sense of control and help you focus so you can figure out how best to deal head on with your stress.  

The Best of the Best:

My colleague, Sara Lopez, has compiled a go-to list of the best stress relief blogs on the web. This is a great resource for everyone in search of stress management know-how. I encourage you to take a look!

The Best of the Best Relaxation Techniques

Okay, here we go! Here are my top picks for relaxation techniques. Remember, your goal is to just try one or two in a given day. You can't expect to master all of these in one sitting. Also, every technique does not necessary work for everyone. So, just enjoy experimenting with these until you find the ones that work best for you. Take a look at the list below and give some of these a try!

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     Your attempt may fail but never fail to make an attempt!

As my friend was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not. My friend saw a trainer nearby and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.

“Well,” he said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.” My friend was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

How many of us are being held back by old, outdated beliefs that no longer serve us? How many of us have avoided trying something new because of a limiting belief? Worse, how many of us are being held back by someone else’s limiting beliefs?

Whatever you can conceive and believe, you can achieve!
CHOOSE not to accept the false boundaries and limitations created by the past.