Is your anxiety constant? Does it interfere with your daily life? Anxiety isn’t only an interference. Without help, your anxiety can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Fortunately, there are ways you can combat your stress.
Different relaxation techniques help reverse stress on a psychological and physical level. These techniques include yoga, meditation, breathing, and rhythmic exercises. But did you try these techniques and struggled? Don’t feel bad. Relaxation takes practice. Continue reading and discover why relaxation takes work and what you can do to truly put your mind and body at ease.
Why Relaxation Is Difficult
When our body recognizes stress, our nervous system stimulates the adrenal glands to release catecholamines, including adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones cause our breath to quicken and our heart to race. You may recognize this response as “fight or flight.” Back when humans were prey, acute stress signaled an action to either escape a dangerous situation or fight back. Today, we fortunately don’t worry about predators. But our brain still recognizes a stressful situation and our body acts accordingly.
In order to counteract this response, our body needs to develop the relaxation response. When you’re in the fight or fight mode, every aspect of your body is working on overdrive. The relaxation response helps bring your psychological and physiological functions back to normal. So, why is it difficult to move from the stress response to the relaxation response? The response is beyond psychological; relaxation requires physical changes to calm you down. If you’re trying to relax, you should understand the physiological process as well as the psychological process.
Changes During Relaxation
When your body is in the relaxation state, you can experience many physical changes. This includes slow breathing, decreased heart rate, muscle relaxation, reduced or stabilized blood pressure, and increased blood flow to the brain. You’ll even experience psychological changes, beyond a relaxing sensation. You’ll have better focus and clarity, improved productivity, and your mood will overall improve.
Techniques That Really Work
Now that you have a better understanding of our stress and relaxation responses, try some of these relaxation techniques that improve your mental and physical state. If you struggled with classic relaxation techniques, such as meditation, try a physical one.
Start with your feet. Squeeze the muscles in your right foot and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with your left foot. From here, move to different muscle groups.
Inhale through your nose and feel your breath entering your stomach. Exhale through your mouth, breathing out slowly. Repeat.
If you don’t exercise, get into the habit. Rhythmic movement plus breathing exercises help enhance relaxation. Great rhythmic movement examples include walking, running, dancing, swimming, climbing, and rowing.
Relaxation is harder than you think. Stress requires a physical response and relaxation requires a physical and mental change. Use these relaxation techniques to help calm you down on a physiological and psychological level.