Relaxation is a state of low tension in the mind and body. People frequently use specific procedures, called relaxation techniques, to become more relaxed.
What Is Relaxation?
Tension is a state of physical stiffness in the body that can cause pain and even emotional reactions such as anxiety. Physical relaxation aims to undo this tension and progressively relax muscles and muscle groups. Psychological relaxation occurs when the mind is relatively free of stress and distraction. People may still have stress in their lives or tasks to complete when they are psychologically relaxed, but stress and tension are not foremost in the minds of relaxed people. Psychological relaxation can affect physical relaxation, and people under stress frequently experience physical aches and pains as well as muscle tension.
Some people have more trouble with relaxation than others. People who tend toward anxiety may experience fewer states of relaxation than others. Depression, anxiety, external stress such as unemployment, diet, and drug use can all affect a person’s state of relaxation.
There are a wide variety of relaxation techniques, and some people seek help from therapists to learn how to relax. Some common relaxation techniques include:
- Guided meditation, such as when a therapist helps someone envision a relaxing scenario
- Individual meditation
- Muscular relaxation techniques, such as slowly tensing and relaxing various muscle groups
- Herbal remedies
- Deep breathing exercises that focus on slow, deep breathing and slowly exhaling
- Regular exercise
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Kovacs, J. S. (n.d.). How to reduce stress: 10 relaxation techniques to reduce stress on-the-spot. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/blissing-out-10-relaxation-techniques-reduce-stress-spot
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011, May 19). Relaxation techniques: Try these steps to reduce stress. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/relaxation-technique/SR00007
Last Updated: 08-20-2015
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