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Techniques that Promote Relaxation by Rosemary Szczechowski, Psy.D.

We know that stress is a part of life. In smaller doses, it can even help to maximize our performance. However, we know that too much stress can lead to a host of physical problems (digestive issues, back and neck pain, etc.). It can also contribute to the development of behavioral health problems, such as depression and anxiety. At times, it can also lead to relationship problems, both at home and at work.

Relaxation techniques help us to manage our response to stress. They can help you slow your breathing, reduce headaches and muscle pain, help you cope with anxiety, and improve your ability to deal with anger. In essence, they can help you to feel better!

Making time for relaxation as part of your daily routine is something you may want to try. Spend 10-20 minutes, once or twice a day, practicing a relaxation technique. Try picking a certain time of day that works with your schedule. Some people like practicing relaxation when they first get up. Others find it helpful to practice a technique right before bed. If you do not think that you have the time, figure out how much time you spend on the computer or other electronic devices? Can you take 10 or 20 minutes from that activity to spend on relaxation?

Some common relaxation techniques include deep breathing, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation. Deep breathing involves focusing on inhaling deeply and exhaling fully. This can help slow your heartbeat and ease tension. Visualization involves using your imagination to create a sense of well-being. Visualization is sometimes referred to as guided imagery. Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing major muscle groups, one muscle group at a time, which leads to a general sense of relaxation.

We spend so much time taking care of others. Taking care of ourselves by practicing relaxation can increase our sense of well-being, and ultimately may improve our ability to help others.

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