Why It’s Good to Relax
Stress and anxiety can cause all types of unpleasant symptoms including headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps and nausea. These symptoms can have an effect on your physical health, immune system, blood pressure and digestive system.
It’s not nice to feel anxious, anxiety can make you feel out of control and significantly lower your mood. knowing relaxation techniques that work for you will return your sense of control and whenever unexpected incidents happen in the future you will have the skills to emotionally cope with them.
Preparing to Relax
When preparing to relax it is important to make sure you are in a comfortable and safe environment.
Tips for Preparing to Relax:
- Wear comfortable clothes
- Create a comfortable environment
- Play calming music
- Have your room a comfortable temperature
- Remove all distractions
The most important thing is that you feel comfortable. If you are sitting or lying down make sure it is on something comfortable where you feel safe.
Meditation is a popular technique for focusing on and improving mental wellbeing. There are multiple different types of meditation, movement meditation such as yoga acts as a great form of exercise.
Read more about the benefits of meditation for senior health and wellbeing here.
Example of a Meditation Exercise:
- Draw a big circle on a piece of paper.
- Draw a mark at the bottom and the top of the circle.
- In a clockwise direction follow your finger along the circle from the top mark to the bottom mark.
- Inhale gently as your finger moves.
- When you reach the bottom of the circle, start to follow your finger back up towards the top again.
- Exhale gently as you move your finger back up.
- Repeat this whilst maintaining a slow and steady pace. Focus on the sensation of the air as it flows in and out of your lungs.
Body relaxation helps you to relieve pent up stress in your body, this will reduce muscle tension and prevent muscle cramps and spasms. Body relaxation techniques induce feelings of relaxation and can also help you get a better night’s sleep if done before bed.
Example of a Body Relaxation Exercise:
- Start by sitting or lying down and closing your eyes.
- Breath in and tense the muscle you want to focus on for 5 seconds.
- Breathe out whilst relaxing the muscle at the same time.
- Feel the tension leaving the muscle and enjoy the feeling.
- Relax for 20 seconds before you repeat these steps on another muscle.
- When you have finished with all the muscles you wanted to focus on count to 10 whilst taking deep breathes and slowly open your eyes.
Don’t tense any area of your body that is in pain or currently recovering from an injury.
Breathing Relaxation Techniques
Focusing on your breathing is a really good and simple way to lower stress and anxiety. Breathing relaxation helps you feel in control of your body, clears your mind and releases stored up stress.
Example of a Breathing Relaxation Exercise:
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position with your hands on your stomach.
- Breath in through your nose and feel your stomach expand.
- Open your mouth wide and breathe out slowly whilst making a “HA” sound. Feel your stomach lower.
- Repeat these steps 10 times.
Be aware that breathing too quickly or limiting your breaths can cause you to feel more anxious or become lightheaded. Make sure you follow a breathing technique exercise safely so you don’t make your anxiety worse.
Mind relaxation works to clear your mind of any negative thoughts and focus on positive ones.
It can be as simple as imagining yourself somewhere else that you find relaxing such as a beach. Imagine it in as much detail as possible to immerse your mind in the thought. You can also try drawing an image of this location. Drawing can stimulate your senses and further distract you from negative thoughts.
Mind relaxation can also be as simple as listening to soothing music, watching your favourite program or looking at pictures that make you happy. Anything that brings you joy that your mind will focus on can help.