There are many different ways to relax, and it’s important for people to find the techniques that work best for them. Some of these include breathing exercises, visualizing a calm place, and progressive muscle relaxation. These techniques can help relieve stress, which in turn can improve physical health and mood.
Deep breathing is the simplest way to engage the body’s natural relaxation response. You can take slow, deep breaths on your own or try breathing meditation, a popular form of yoga that focuses on relaxing and centering the mind. Other breathing techniques may involve counting breaths or focusing on the sound of your own breath. Taking deep breaths can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, which can help you feel calm.
Visualization involves imagining a place that brings you peace, such as the beach or a quiet mountain lake. To enhance your visualization, try to include as many senses as possible, including sight, sound, smell and touch. So, if you’re relaxing on the beach, imagine the sound of waves lapping the shore, the scent of salt water, and the feeling of warm sun on your skin.
Progressive muscle relaxation involves slowly tensing and then relaxing each major muscle group in your body. Usually, you start with your head and face muscles and work your way down the body. This type of relaxation technique can be helpful for people with a variety of health conditions, including pain, such as back pain, fibromyalgia, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). People with certain medical conditions should talk to their doctors before trying a muscle-relaxation therapy, especially those with chronic pain or a history of trauma.