Stress relief and relaxation
Stress is normal. But, although some stress is normal and even necessary, too much can affect your quality of life and health. These are some simple measures you can take to help relieve stress. Tips for stress relief and relaxation
Tips to relieve stress
When you feel stressed, you can:
- Make slow, deep inspirations.
- Take a warm immersion bath.
- Listen to soothing music.
- Take a walk or do some other activity.
- Meditate or pray.
- Take a yoga class.
- Get a massage or rub your back.
- Drink a warm drink that does not contain alcohol or caffeine.
You can also change your daily habits to reduce stress.
- Get enough sleep.
- Keep in touch with your family, friends, and other people important to you.
- Exercise regularly. This can help you clear your mind and overcome feelings of frustration and anxiety.
- Do not drink or eat anything that contains caffeine. Caffeine can make you feel “tenser” and more stressed.
- Do not smoke or consume tobacco. Nicotine can make you feel more anxious.
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages. They can cause sleep problems and depression.
Relaxation of muscles to relieve stress
It is possible that the body responds to stress by becoming tense, which can cause pain. If you learn to relax your muscles, you can reduce muscle tension and anxiety. Progressive muscle relaxation is an exercise that can help you achieve it.
In a process called “progressive relaxation of the muscles,” groups of muscles that work together must be tightened and let go. You can use a cassette or compact relaxation disc to help you travel through the muscle groups. You can also learn the muscle groups and go through them by heart.
Find a quiet place where no one bothers you. Make sure you can lie on your back comfortably. Tips for stress relief and relaxation
With each group of muscles:
- Inspire and tense the muscle group for 4 to 10 seconds. Make strong tension, but not until you cramp.
- Then, exhale while suddenly and completely relaxing the muscle group. Don’t relax it gradually.
- Rest for 10 to 20 seconds.
Below, we present the muscle groups:
Hands and arms
- Hands: Close your fists tightly.
- Wrists and forearms: Tension them and bend your hands backward at the height of the wrist.
- Biceps and upper arms: Close your fists, bend your arms at elbow height, and tense your biceps.
- Shoulders: shrug your shoulders.
Head and neck
- Front: frown hard.
- Around the eyes and the bridge of the nose: Close your eyes as tightly as possible. If you wear contact lenses, take them off before starting the exercise.
- Cheeks and jaws: smile as widely as you can.
- Around the mouth: Squeeze your lips tightly.
- Nape: Press your head against the floor or a chair.
- Front of the neck: Touch your chest with your chin.
Upper part of the body
- Chest: Take a deep breath and retain the air; then exhale.
- Back: Arch your back upwards, separating it from the floor or a chair.
- Stomach: Contract it with force.
lower part of the body
- Hips and setaboes (buttocks): Put your buttocks together tightly.
- Thighs: Squeeze them tightly.
- Stretch your heels out and flex your toes as if attempting to touch your shins. Then stretch them out and turn them down.
You may feel drowsy (sleepy) after doing this exercise. To “wake up” the body, count down from 5 to 1. Then move your fingers, hands, and feet. Finally, stretch and move your whole body.
Be sure to be alert before driving or doing other activities.
Full breathing to relieve stress
Full breathing helps you use your lungs more and be in touch with the rhythm of your breathing. You can practice it in any position, but it is best if you do it lying on your back with your knees bent. Practice full breathing daily for several weeks until you can do it almost anywhere.
- Place your left hand on your stomach and your right hand on your chest. Notice how your hands move as you inhale and exhale.
- Inhale to fill the lower part of the lungs. The abdomen pushes the left hand when it does. The right hand doesn’t move. Then exhale. The left hand goes down at the same time as the abdomen goes down. Do this 8 to 10 times.
- Then, inhale as you did before, but don’t stop when you push your left hand. Continue to inhale. You will feel the upper part of the chest expanding and pushing the right hand upwards. The left hand goes down a little at the same time as the stomach goes down.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth. When you exhale, you feel the tension leave your body. Both hands will go down.
- Do this for 3 to 5 minutes. Notice that the stomach and chest move like waves, going up and down in a uniform movement.
- Notice how you feel after breathing this way.
Caution: Some people get dizzy the first few times they take full breaths. If you start breathing very quickly or feel stunned, breathe more slowly. Get up slowly. Tips for stress relief and relaxation