What will work for you?
What’s relaxing for one may not be relaxing for another. You may try relaxation and find yourself impatiently tapping your finger, wishing it to be over! You probably need it more than those who can easily and deeply relax. It may take you longer to learn to quiet your mind.
Take heart, you can learn. The trick is to find a technique that works for you personally. Begin by choosing a method that appeals to you while allowing your mind to tailor it to work better as time goes by.
In my stress management workshops I offer alternatives to relieve stress, such as:
- Focus intently on anything that relaxes you.
- Focus on your breathing: by focusing on your inhale and as you exhale think of any short phrase or word that relaxes you, such as “I’m relaxed.” That’s all you need to do, over and over and over.
- Visualize a relaxing scene: your favorite vacation spot, the beach, the woods or incredible sunsets. Choose one scene and focus on what you would see, hear, feel and smell in this place.
Additional relaxation tips
- Set aside 20–30 minutes of uninterrupted time on a non-digesting stomach (before you eat a meal, not right after).
- Play relaxation music if you like.
- Sit upright with your spine straight and both feet on the floor. You can also lie down (don’t fall asleep.)
- Begin with deep breathing for a minute or two or until your body relaxes and experiences a “body sigh.” (This is when your body gets progressively more relaxed with each breath and at one point it almost sighs into a deeper level.) Then, allow your breathing to return to normal and begin to focus on your chosen relaxation technique.
- It’s perfectly normal for distracting thoughts to enter your mind. Take another deep breath whenever you become distracted and think to yourself, “oh well,” then return your breathing to normal and to your relaxation technique.
- Or gently push away your distracting thoughts. Imagine pushing them to join other background thoughts that are circling above your head.
- Relax for 20 minutes (or work up to it). Set a quiet alarm for 25 minutes in case you don’t come out of it on your own.
- Gently return your focus to the present and stretch before getting up.
Practice this powerful skill of deep relaxation regularly. Once you get good at it, I can almost promise you you’ll find it to be one of the four most powerful stress reduction techniques (the others are regular exercise, humor, and great problem solving).
Think about it, and decide what will work for you!