Support Groups Find Therapist Events Calendar Online Store

ADAVICSocial SupportInformationResourcesProfessional HelpOnline Store

Relaxation Techniques - Agoraphobic Group


For many people in today's world, stress is a fact of life. Although it is impossible to eliminate all stress from daily life, it is possible to control the effect that stress has on the body and the mind. The first step in managing stress is to become aware of events in your life that cause you stress. The causes of stress vary from person to person. So that what causes you stress may not cause stress for another person. Once you are aware of what causes you stress, the goal is to find ways to avoid or control these things.

Relaxation techniques, when used consistently, can prove effective in controlling stress by helping you reach a state of mental calm, even when in the middle of a stressful situation.

There are several relaxation techniques which can be done almost anywhere at any time to help control stress. These techniques include:

  • Deep breathing
  • Active relaxation
  • Stretching exercises
  • Visualization
  • Passive relaxation
  • Yoga
  • Biofeedback

Deep breathing is a simple technique that can relax tense muscles, focus energy and help one be more productive. To use the technique, simply breathe in deeply through the nose, letting your stomach expand as much as possible. It may be helpful to place your hands firmly and comfortable on your stomach during the exercise. Once you've breathed in as much as possible, hold you breath for a few seconds and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for 3 or 4 breaths several times a day.

Active relaxation is a process that can help you actually feel the difference between tension and relaxation. It is accomplished by first tensing and then relaxing each muscle in the body. Start with the muscles in the head and move down to the muscles in the feet. This is also called progressive or systemic relaxation.

Stretching exercises are a simple, easy way to loosen up tight muscles and combat stress. Muscle tension is an automatic physical response to stress and the benefit of simple stretching exercises is often overlooked as a relaxation technique.

Another relaxation technique that can help to reduce stress is clearing the mind or visualization.

Visualization is type of directed meditation which involves using the mind's eye to clear away mental clutter or to actually visualize how a stressful situation can be handled successfully. This is done by picturing the stressful situation in your mind such as a business presentation or an athletic performance and then visually rehearsing the outcome. Visualization techniques also may be used to imagine a peaceful scene such as ocean waves lapping on the beach to create relaxation.

Meditation and self-hypnosis are passive relaxation techniques that can be used to create relaxation. Four elements are used in meditation: a quiet environment, a point of focus like a neutral word that can help with concentration, a passive, accepting attitude and a comfortable position. Meditation once or twice a day for 10-20 minutes each time can bring rapid relief from chronic stress and also increase a person's ability to tolerate stress.

Yoga is the use of deep meditation and concentration to free oneself and unite with a supreme spirit. It uses certain postures and carefully controlled breathing to turn off behaviours that cause stress. For specific information on how to practise yoga, you may consult various books available on the subject or take a class at your local college, adult program or health club.

Finally, if a person has difficult zeroing in on a stress reaction or the ability to relax, the practice of biofeedback can be helpful. Biofeedback is a technique in which a person can actually learn to modify the body's physical reactions to forms of stress. Biofeedback involves sending direct messages to various parts of the body to get a desired response. For example, people have actually been able to prevent frostbite from developing in conditions of extreme cold by sending a message to their hands to stay warm. Biofeedback also has been used for control of chronic pain problems, such as back pain or migraine headaches. To begin with, it may be helpful to work with a certified biofeedback practitioner and specialised equipment to learn the technique. However, once learned, biofeedback can be used in any environment to help control blood pressure, heart rate, pain and physical or emotional stress.

It is not important which relaxation techniques are used. What is important is the attitude with which relaxation is pursued and what is comfortable for the person. True relaxation requires that one is willing to recognise and meet the basic needs of peace, self-awareness and thoughtful reflection. Everyone has their own ways of relaxing. Try a number of different techniques to find out what works best for you and then incorporate these activities into your daily life. Other activities you can try to relax include:

  • Taking a nice, long bath
  • Going on a walk
  • Visiting nature
  • Listening to music
  • Seeing the results of relaxation may take several weeks, but people who learn to relax can better handle difficult and stressful situations that come up in their life.

    Source: Internet

    Via the Agoraphobic Group ( Canterbury ) Christchurch , New Zealand


    self-funded organisation
    . We welcome your contributions
    donations, and memberships.

    If you would like to sponsor ADAVIC
    or help with fundraising, please
    contact the ADAVIC office.

    Sign up for our eNews letter: