Stress Relief and Relaxation Techniques


I thought I would share the Relaxation Techniques that I have learned, in hope that they will help some of you. Relaxation can help lower blood pressure, promote a feeling of wellness, and hopefully can help bring on a restful sleep.

If there is one thing that I have noticed, it’s that stress plays such a huge part in everybody’s lives. When you’re stressed it can affect your mind, your body and most importantly your health. You can’t sleep at night,because your mind is racing with everything you are worried about, everything that happened that day, or the bills you are struggling with.

As everyone with an illness knows, anything that already impacts on our much needed sleep, makes us feel Ill for a long time to come, keeps flares going for weeks, and makes life extremely miserable.
There are many different techniques and not everyone will work as well for you as others- it’s a case of trying each one until you find one that makes you feel the most relaxed. It also helps if you can have some alone time, maybe if you have kids they could be in bed or at school. If you happen to doze off to sleep, then you can be satisfied that you found a technique that works well for you.

The key to ALL of these techniques, is to be in a quiet comfy place where you can lie down, and concentrate on slowing the rate of your breathing.So breathe in slowly to a count of 5 and then back out again for another count of 5.

What worked best for me was to imagine a place where I felt most at peace- like a beach, the hot sun, the lapping of the waves, the seagulls and the wind gently blowing a cool breeze over me. For you it might be a meadow, a mountain or a waterfall, it doesn’t matter where it is, as long as you find it peaceful and can imagine it in detail.

1) Lie in a nice comfortable room, if you have a nature sounds clock or something similar, you can turn it to ocean waves, spring rain or whatever fits into your “peaceful place”. Close your eyes, concentrate on your breathing, counting to 5 as you breathe in, and again as you breathe out, until your breathing starts to become slow and rhythmic. Start to imagine your peaceful place. If it’s the beach, feel the warmth of the sun, hear the waves crashing on the shore and the seagulls, feel the breeze, maybe see that sailboat on the horizon.
Ok, now that the scene is set visualize one of your feet and just will it to go to sleep or to relax. In your head slowly say either sleep or relax. The first time you do this it could take a while before you actually get this to work, but the more you do it the quicker it happens. Once your foot is totally relaxed and asleep, move to your other foot, and gradually work up your body a bit at a time- your feet, then ankles, lower leg, upper leg, torso, etc., until you reach your head. Your head is going to be the hardest to make “sleep” but practice makes perfect. By the time your head is “asleep” you should be hovering somewhere between asleep and awake.

2) Another technique is becoming aware of your body, noticing which muscles feel tight or achy. Again find somewhere quiet and comfy, lie on your back, clench your fists tight for about 15-20 seconds, then visualize the rest of your body becoming relaxed,. Visualize your fists clenching tighter and tighter, then as you release your fists, visualize a nice breeze blowing over your body, making each muscle relax.

3) Yet another technique, is to concentrate on an item. Maybe pick a flower from the garden, a pretty autumn leaf, a piece of jewelry, a favorite picture of a favorite place. Concentrate on this object, breathing slowly in and out. Concentrate as hard as you can for around 2 or 3 minutes, then put the object down and close your eyes while you continue to concentrate on your breathing, until you feel all the stress flowing out of your body through your nose and mouth. You need to try to stop any other thoughts from entering your mind, just concentrate all your energies on your object. You should feel totally relaxed at the end of this, if you start to feel stressed again, you can do this as many times as you need to.

4) If you are good at visualizing, try to visualize whatever it is that is causing your stress, If it’s a person see them in detail, if it’s your illness, see it as something real, something you can touch. The key to this is seeing all the detail, colours, light, shade and size. Now as you visualize this picture, see it start to shrink, getting smaller and smaller,
until it fits in your hand, then on your finger, then shrinking even smaller until it’s the size of a pin prick on your finger, until it has completely disappeared. Your stress should be disappearing at the same time as the picture.

I hope at least one of these helps you find a way to erase some of the stress that we all feel, and helps you to get a good night’s sleep.

Written by: Wendy Jones

  • MrGamma

    Another relaxation technique worth noting is ASMR.

  • I had some problems with focusing on different body parts to relax them, anything to do with body awareness tends to bring ignored pain right smack into conscious awareness where I can’t get my mind off of it. So most of my relaxation techniques are distractions to get my mind to disconnect from everything that hurts.

    One of the visual good ones is to watch a candle flame.

    If you get a glass candle, it’s quite safe to put it on a bedside table and look at it through the glass. Glass candles go out if tipped over, the melted wax drowns the wick and it won’t set fire to anything. So they are a much safer way to do this than tapers. Votive candles may work pretty much the same way.

    “Glass candles” are those tall or short glasses that have a candle poured right into them, sometimes they’re seven day glass candles meant to be lit and left going for a week for candle magic. They were common in New Orleans but not too hard to find anywhere else and are fantastic if you love candles but are concerned about being able to respond fast enough or actively enough to deal with fire.

  • Danielle

    Thanks for your tips. I am a huge fan of relaxation and biofeedback techniques. In my battle with fibromyalgia, relaxation and meditation tends to be the one constant thing that I can look to for help in managing the way I respond to the pain I am feeling. I am amazed by how much I can lessen the pain and stress in my life by learning to focus on relaxing.

  • Robert Sloan

    Interesting variety of relaxation techniques. I’ve used all of them at various times, but what works best for me is another.
    Settle down with a keyboard or laptop, get into a comfortable position and begin to freewrite. Just write anything that comes into your head. If your troubles come up, go ahead and cuss at them and say anything you want, what you would if you could get away with it. Vent it all out. Let it drift off into daydreams of success in something you really want — it could be anything, from getting into a better occupation to being filthy rich and just buying anything you want, to having magic and wishing away all your disabilities.
    It’s weird but sometimes the daydream of being able to wish away my crookedness and fibromyalgia actually helps reset my body. It gets my mind off of it. I wind up with good story ideas emerging from it too, since I’m a writer.
    Most of all in freewriting I’m giving myself a sympathetic ear about *anything* no matter how ludicrous or petty or stupid I might fear others would react to it. Whine about what went wrong and brag on what went right. Take your own side in the freewrite. For a little while just imagine that yes, you are right about every dang thing.
    And then let it go and treat that freewrite journal as what it is — very private space that you control. You don’t need to discuss the contents with anyone or embarrass yourself with it, but it’s good to get real with yourself and most of all accept yourself on the deepest levels — accept your real feelings even if you’re filtering them with other people.
    It has the advantage you can do it even without good relaxation music or a comfortable bed or solitude.