Top 10 Relaxation Techniques for Holistic Stress Management

Benefits of Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques are a central component of effective stress management since they can counter the body’s stress response by activating its relaxation response and thus reduce the symptoms of stress.


As a result, relaxation techniques are very beneficial to the body as they are able:1. Lower blood pressure
2. Lower the heart rate
3. Lower the respiration rate
4. Reduce muscle tension
5. Improve concentration
6. Help one sleep better
7. Release endorphins help a person feel good
8. Reduce anger
9. Reduce circulating stress hormones
10. Reduce the frequency and severity of migraines and tension headaches


The top 10 relaxation techniques which can help you reap these benefits are:
Abdominal Breathing 
Abdominal breathing is one of the fastest way to counteract the stress response. It is also a discrete relaxation technique as it can be practiced anytime and in any place whenever and wherever stress strikes. It should thus be an essential ingredient of any workplace stress management training.

Therefore, whenever you begin to feel “stressed” loosen your clothing and lie down in a quiet place (if you can) and take a deep breath through your nose until you feel your abdomen rising, hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale completely until your abdomen falls.


Sleeping 
Getting adequate sleep is an effortless way to relax and manage stress since sleep rests the mind and rejuvenates the body.

Therefore, aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night to avoid sleep deprivation. 

If you have a tendency to ponder over your problems once you get into bed, ponder instead on the fact that Unless God builds the house or the business or the blog, the workers labor in vain. Unless God guards the city or the Church or the website, the watchman stays awake in vain. Therefore, it is useless for you to rise up early or to sit up late eating the bread of sorrows because God gives His beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:1-2)


Christian Meditation 
Meditation is another wonderful relaxation technique whose benefits are cumulative. Therefore schedule at least 10 minutes each morning or evening or even twice a day to meditate your stress away. 

Choose a Scripture that speaks to your stressful situation and then focus your entire attention on it. For example if you are feeling stressed by the daunting challenges facing you, meditate on I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) Focus on it until you believe it and feel its truth renewing your mind and percolating your entire being. 



Getting a Massage 

A massage is very effective relaxation technique since it reduces muscle tension.
Therefore, schedule regular professional massages and get the kinks ironed out of your body and psyche. You can also massage your scalp, temples and other parts of your body that are within your easy reach.

Enhance your massage experience by using massage oils containing relaxing essential oils such as lavender and chamomile essential oils. 



Engaging in Complementary Hobbies 
Engaging in an enjoyable hobby that complements your day job is another perfect way to relax and manage stress. It is also an essential key of workplace stress management training since it can help you achieve work/life balance.

Therefore, identify a hobby that complements your job and engage in it at least once a week. For example if your job entails mental concentration with minimal physical activity, engage in physically challenging activities such as aerobic exercise. 

If you work with machines and computers with minimal human interaction, engage in group activities such as singing in a choir. 

If you entails responding to people's demands at customer service, engage in solitary activities such as reading or writing.

You can also engage in calm, meditative activities such as knitting, crocheting or painting as they divert your mind from your stressors and keep it present in the moment. 
Painting is a meditative relaxation technique

Drinking herbal teas
Herbal teas are the perfect drinks to sip when you are stressed as they can help you relax without intoxicating you.

Therefore, buy or brew herbal teas with soothing herbs such as chamomile and passionflower to help you calm down after a stressful day. 

For example you can steep chamomile flowers in boiled water for 15 minutes, sweeten it with honey and then drink it warm to melt tension. 


Aerobic Exercise 
Regular aerobic exercise reduces the levels of stress hormones circulating in your body and thereby reduces your chances of developing stress related sicknesses. It also results in the release of endorphins which make you feel better.

Therefore, identify an aerobic exercise you enjoy such as brisk walking, jogging, skipping a rope, dancing, swimming, basketball or aerobic classes at your local gym and then work out aerobically for a total of 2 hours each week.



Singing 
Singing is another effective relaxation technique since it reduces tension. Singing Christian praises to God is even more powerful for managing stress than singing secular songs because God is ethroned in praises (Psalm 22:3) and He can help you manage your stressful situation.

Therefore, schedule time every day to sing your heart out to God right in the middle of your stressful situation and mental prison doors will fling open just as the physical ones flung open when Paul and Silas praised God in their stressful situation in Acts 16.


Stretching 
Stretching exercises are a valuable relaxation technique since we tense our muscles when we are stressed and stretching the muscles releases the tension leaving us feeling relaxed.

Therefore, stretch for 10 minutes twice a day either early in the morning or late in the evening or just before or after your aerobic exercise sessions. Focus on the muscles that get tense when you are stressed such as your neck and shoulder muscles and you will prevent stress related neck pains and back pains. 



Visualization 
Visualization or guided imagery is another effective stress management technique. It involves imagining yourself out of the stressful situation (pun intended).

Therefore, schedule time to regularly take yourself to your dream stress-free situation. If that means lounging at the beach, close your eyes and see the expansive blue sea stretching in front of you with the sun smiling on it, hear the waves lapping on the beach, feel the refreshing ocean spray misting your feet, taste and smell the tropical coconut drink in your hand and feel the tension and stress evaporating from your mind. 


Establish a Relaxation Routine
Establishing a relaxation routine can help you reduce the distressing and disease causing symptoms of stress. 

To establish and maintain an effective Relaxation Routine you have to commit a specific time each day for practicing the relaxation techniques, choose a quiet place where you can practice your relaxation techniques without interruptions, choose physical and mental relaxation techniques that you practice in sequence for maximum relaxation. 

For example you can stretch for 10 minutes, practice abdominal breathing for 5 minutes and then meditate for 15 minutes. 

Finally, understand that as you incorporate these relaxation techniques into your lifestyle and you reduce the symptoms of stress, you also have to create time to address and manage the root cause or source of your stress. 


These relaxation techniques have been adapted from Rules of Relaxation by Dr Miriam Kinai




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