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Top Relaxing Techniques

Effective Techniques for Relaxing


Updated March 27, 2012

A well-rounded stress management plan consists of techniques for relaxing and long-term stress management habits that can help to diminish stress and increase resilience to stress. The following are three techniques that can effectively help you to return your body from a stressed state to a relaxed one. Better still, with practice, these powerhouse stress relief techniques can lead to resilience toward stress as well! Try at least one of these stress relievers today, and see how quickly you can reach a state of relaxation.

1. Breathing Exercises

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Stress-relief breathing is a rapid route to relaxing the body, which can move you out of a place of stress and leave you with a more relaxed mind as well. Learning the proper way to breathe may not sound necessary--after all, we're all breathing all the time, right?

While we all know how to breathe, we breathe differently when we are experiencing stress and the body's stress response has been triggered. This type of breathing can prepare us for a physical confrontation, but can be less healthy for us long-term, especially if this becomes our habitual way of breathing. When stressed, we may exhibit shallow breathing, may breathe from a constricted chest instead of from the diaphragm, may not fully fill our lungs with air, and may not realize how tense we are until we work on relaxing the body through our breath.

Learning the following breathing exercises can help you to quickly reverse the body's stress response anytime and anywhere, quickly and effectively. Once you are more relaxed, you can make decisions from a calmer, more centered place and feel better in your life. With practice, you can reach this place more quickly and automatically.

2. Meditation Techniques for Relaxing

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Meditation can relax the body and the mind in a relatively short amount of time. In addition to soothing the body's physiology and helping the mind untangle its grip on stress-inducing thoughts within minutes of beginning practice, meditation brings long-term benefits for those who practice regularly. (Read about the benefits of meditation.)

When it comes to meditation, short sessions can work well, and there is a variety of meditation techniques to choose from. However, for the largest gains, it is important to practice regularly. Five or ten minutes each day is more effective than an hour once a week. Therefore, finding a meditation style that works well for you and sticking with it can be your best bet for relaxing your body and mind.

3. Yoga Techniques for Relaxing

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Yoga is popular for many reasons, and its qualities as a relaxing ritual are chief among them. Yoga combines meditation, breathing exercises physical exercise, and stretching, effectively relaxing the body as well as the mind, just as meditation can. Because of the numerous stress relievers involved in yoga, it has become one of the most popular stress relief strategies in use today, as it brings multiple benefits and attacks stress on more than one front.

Getting started with yoga need not be difficult. There are numerous classes available in most communities, with books and dvds available for those who prefer to do yoga at home. More than a passing fad, yoga is a relaxing habit that lives up to the hype. About.com's Yoga Site has more resources for getting started with yoga.

4. Learn More!

Stress management works best if it includes a combination of short-term stress relievers, long-term resilience-promoting habits, and other things like attitude shifts, relationship skills, and knowledge of the basics of stress. For stress management resources that can help with all of these and more, subscribe to the weekly stress management newsletter and see what other ongoing stress management resources this site has to offer!

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