Fort Myers Counseling
Fort Myers Counseling
Thursday, August 24, 2017
------ Stress, Anxiety and Career Counseling

Relaxation Techniques that take 10 Minutes or less

Relaxation Techniques that take 10 Minutes or less

By Jackie Kelly

            Do you ever find yourself feeling bogged down by numerous tasks and responsibilities with no time to catch your breath?  While you know some people who may enjoy yoga classes, or going for a long run, you simply do not have the time in your busy schedule to do this on a regular basis.  I have great news for you: you can practice relaxation techniques right where you are, right now!  Need a second to cool down or recharge?  Here are some quick, easy, and effective relaxation techniques that you can practice almost anywhere, anytime.

            Breathing relaxation techniques are a powerful method.  When performed correctly, they have been shown to bring a state of profound peace and well-being into the mind and body.  One popular technique that you have probably done without even realizing it is the “complete breath” exercise.  This relaxation method allows you to breathe with the whole of your lungs.  The benefit of this technique is that it uses the lungs to their full capacity, which oxygenates the entire body, and thus activates the relaxation response.  This technique includes three stages:

            1st. Breathe into your diaphragm.  This expands your ribs slightly, and the top part of your abdomen rises. 

            2nd. Breathe into your mid-chest area.  This expands your ribs further to the sides.

            3rd. Breathe into your upper-chest area.  This raises the breast bone slightly.

            When you breathe out, reverse the direction.  Practice this exercise ten times, performing each set over an 8-10 second time span.  As you can see, this technique takes less than two minutes to do, but will help you feel a world of a difference! 

            If you feel you have a strong imagination, perhaps the visualization relaxation technique may better suit you.  Visualization relaxation can use any or all of the body’s five senses (sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste).  When performing this exercise, try to incorporate as many of the senses that you can.  As you place yourself in an environment where you may experience little to no distraction, you may begin your self-guided visualization therapy.  If you find the beach as a calm refuge, try closing your eyes and picturing yourself on your idyllic sandy setting.  Listen to the sound of the waves flowing in sequence with the world around you, and the seagulls chiming in.  Breathe in deeply that fresh summer air, slowly…pause, and then breathe out those winter blues.  Feel the warmth of the sun kiss your cheek.  Visualize and feel all of these calming sensations.  Give yourself a sufficient amount of time in your Utopian atmosphere, and only when you feel relaxed from your previous stress level, open your eyes and begin your fresh start on your current task. 

            If you feel you have a more specific stress, such as a headache, you can also try massage therapy; and you do not need to visit the spa for these quick and easy techniques!  All you need for these exercises is yourself.  To relieve sinus pressure, put the tips of your fingers at the bridge of your nose.  Gently glide your fingers down your nose and across your cheekbones.  Continue this until you reach the outside of your eyes.  Repeat as many times as needed. 

            Another technique to soothe a tired head is the ‘Scalp Soother’.  Put your thumbs behind each of your ears and spread your fingers on the top of your head.  Using your fingertips again, move your scalp back and forth moderately for 15-20 seconds.  Repeat as desired. 

            Relaxation therapy techniques can be used in various different ways on both the mind and the body, and they can take as little as ONE MINUTE out of your day.  Implementing these techniques into your daily schedule can improve your overall mood, provide your mind with a sense of well-being, and even relax and refresh the muscles, etc. in your body.   There are many relaxation methods to try; some are as quick and easy as the ones mentioned in this article, and others can take a little longer and require some equipment like a bed or yoga mat.  The most important task when starting (and continuing) practicing any relaxation technique is to find what you personally want to relax (the mind, body, stress-relief, headaches, tension, anxiety relief, physical health and flexibility, and the list can go on).  Then, enjoy finding what technique you want to practice, when, and for how long.  Life always feels more peaceful when you can take control of your time!  Good luck and may peace be with you wherever you go. 

 

Here are some sources you may find useful in deciding upon your relaxation technique:

 

 

 

 

 

·                     Davis Ph.D., Martha, Eshelman MSW, Elizabeth, & McKay Ph.D., Matthew. (2008).  The relaxation & stress reduction workbook (6th ed.). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.