Relaxation can help to relieve the symptoms of stress. It can help you calm down and take a step back from a stressful situation. your body and cleared your thoughts.
All relaxation techniques combine breathing more deeply with relaxing the muscles.
Don't worry if you find it difficult to relax at first. It's a skill that needs to be learned and it will come with practice.
Good relaxation always starts with focusing on your breathing. The way to do it is to breathe in and out slowly and in a regular rhythm as this will help you to calm down.
•Fill up the whole of your lungs with air, without forcing. Imagine you're filling up a bottle, so that your lungs fill from the bottom.
•Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
•Breathe in slowly and regularly counting from one to five (don't worry if you can't reach five at first).
•Then let the breath escape slowly, counting from one to five.
•Keep doing this until you feel calm. Breathe without pausing or holding your breath.
Practise this relaxed breathing for three to five minutes, two to three times a day (or whenever you feel stressed).
Deep muscle relaxation
This technique takes around 20 minutes. It stretches different muscles in turn and then relaxes them, to release tension from the body and relax your mind.
Find a warm, quiet place with no distractions. Get completely comfortable, either sitting or lying down. Close your eyes and begin by focusing on your breathing; breathing slowly and deeply, as described above.
•Face: push the eyebrows together, as though frowning, then release.
•Neck: gently tilt the head forwards, pushing chin down towards chest, then slowly lift again.
•Shoulders: pull them up towards the ears (shrug), then relax them down towards the feet.
•Chest: breathe slowly and deeply into the diaphragm (below your bottom rib) so that you're using the whole of the lungs. Then breath slowly out, allowing the belly to deflate as all the air is exhaled.
•Arms: stretch the arms away from the body, reach, then relax.
•Legs: push the toes away from the body, then pull them towards body, then relax.
•Wrists and hands: stretch the wrist by pulling the hand up towards you, and stretch out the fingers and thumbs, then relax.
Spend some time lying quietly after your relaxation with your eyes closed. When you feel ready, stretch and get up slowly.