The word relaxation is on everyone’s lips: the doctor tells us to relax, friends and relatives, even the Willpowerpeak tells us that we should relax. But what about us? Nothing, tense, like violin strings.
What is relaxation? It’s that state of grace in which we don’t feel muscular pains, thoughts and worries, which allows us to sleep well, not to be nervous or anxious, anxious even while stress is the opposite of all this.
Everything is falling apart, how can I relax? You should try to analyze your situation with a critical eye, with a cold mind, away from relaxing breaks.
Relaxation is pulling the plug, closing the door, being able not to think about anything that we are the song/book/preliminary culinary/film/loving to which we are dedicating ourselves.
Stress, in fact, is the opposite of all this: it’s brains racking your brain to find solutions, being anxious about what will happen tomorrow, it’s tension, it’s brooding. All this then turns into many unpleasant situations: migraine, insomnia, fatigue, increased pressure, heart disease, irritability, depression, paranoia, compulsive obsessions, colitis, ulcers, gastrointestinal problems, loss of concentration and mnemonic difficulties.
The only possible cure against stress, anxiety and nervousness is to learn to relax. How do you relax? Everyone will find his or her own method, because relaxation is subjective, the important thing is to experiment with relaxation techniques, to take time out for relaxation education. It’s true that there are so many things to think about, so many things to do but we have to find the time to say “that’s enough, for this amount of time I stop thinking about this/that and I relax”. That’s easy to say.
Relax and sleep
Before seeing the relaxation techniques it is good to deal with the sleep issue. Sleep, stress and relaxation form a vicious circle: if I don’t sleep I get stressed, so I don’t relax. Relaxation is the key to breaking this circle. Devote yourself to relaxation near the hours of sleep, it helps to promote rest.
Finding time during the day to take a relaxing break helps to arrive less tense and anxious in the evening. Usually it is in the evening and at night the moments when you feel more stress and anxiety, because thoughts come to the surface, problems slip in front of you and whatever you do you don’t have that feeling of lightness, tranquility and peace that you should have. So we go back to the starting point: you don’t sleep. If you don’t sleep, the problems caused by stress become more acute, preventing us from thinking clearly, from being calm and patient, from facing the day and then dedicating ourselves to relaxation. In practice our batteries are flat and if we don’t relax, if we don’t sleep, we run out of energy.
How to relax: relaxation techniques
That said, let’s get to the heart of the matter, finding out how to relax and what are the relaxation techniques.
Relaxation means physical and mental well-being. Through some methods you can help the mind and body to fight stress, to put it on a high level of the mental shelf.
What are the benefits of relaxation? We listen better to ourselves and our needs, we are more energetic and more performing, we are less tired and of course we can recover our energy.
Who needs relaxation techniques? People who always think only about work, people who feel suffocated by duties and responsibilities, those who are always tense and nervous, those who sleep badly or have eating disorders.
The best relaxation techniques
From a physical point of view: the body must literally relax at the end of the day. That’s when stretching, stretching movements that loosen the muscles and relax them. This is not physical activity aimed at achieving toning but only relaxation. It takes only a short time, you don’t have to push yourself hurting yourself, hold your positions for a few minutes and do the movements slowly and gently.
Breathing follows: this too must be slow, starting from the nose, through the lungs, diaphragm and abdomen and then out through the mouth. You can experience it while lying down: you close your eyes and imagine you are breathing a positive, beneficial color, which enters through the nose, creeps into each organ and then exits simultaneously from the head and feet when you exhale.
If, on the other hand, you feel the need to move, the ideal thing to do is walk, bike (but in quiet places, not in traffic) or a nice swim because the water has a very relaxing effect. Also interesting is dancing, if you are very stressed physically better to avoid running.
Of course you can’t not mention the massages, there is the self-massage or there is the partner, alternatively you go to the masseur. Home massages are excellent, but be careful not to cause yourself pain. The ally of massages is acupressure, so you can relax by pressing certain points of the body, according to the dictates of Chinese medicine.
On the psycho-emotional level: meditation and visualization are great allies of relaxation. Visualizing means creating with the mind a pleasant place that helps us feel better while meditation focuses on certain parts of the body, colors and sounds.
Yoga and tai chi are excellent relaxation techniques that help the body and mind to relax, they are also complete: they help flexibility, breathing, acceptance and control of emotions.
Read a good book: books are friends, they are therapeutic, they are our door to another world, they distract us and help us not to think about what is stressful. We need to choose a particular genre that helps us to relax. Writing? If it helps you relax okay, but if it’s just another means of brooding thoughts better to avoid.
Music, i.e. music therapy, is great for promoting relaxation: think of the sound of water, the sounds of the sea, the forest, sounds underwater or Ayurvedic sounds are really the precious allies of relaxation. Try it to believe. Alternatively, swing and classical music are also great. You always have to listen to your body, I relax by hearing the sound of rain or Madeleine Peyroux’s voice or even just a good radio program, but this doesn’t apply to everyone.
Aromatherapy, like chromotherapy, are interesting allies but you must always pay attention to your needs: if perfumes cause us headaches it is better to avoid them, if soft lights or light changes cause anxiety we avoid them. Alternatively there are various relaxing scents such as lavender, neroli, ylang ylang and patchouli.
If you are lucky enough to have an animal in the house, spending time with it is the best way to relax. Care for it, play with it but above all pamper it.
Finally, here are some practical tips to put relaxation techniques into practice:
- create or stay in a suitable space that predisposes to relaxation;
- dedicate yourself to body care (relaxing herbal teas and hot baths are always helpful);
- listening to yourself; find contact with nature (stretching in the park, for example);
- doing something fun and spending time with others;
- don’t feel guilty because you think you’re taking time away from other things; if you tend to postpone breaks, schedule relaxation as a therapeutic session until you get used to it.
Relaxation techniques are also a matter of habit, yes. If we put in place the will to relax, to find the time to do so, then we will succeed. The result? A lot of benefits because you gain mental and physical health.