In our daily lives we are all faced with an ever increasing number of responsibilities and it’s easy to get swept away with the stresses a modern life brings. The good news is, just 5 minutes could transform your day.
Learning basic relaxation techniques is so easy and it doesn’t need to take hours of monk like meditation. These techniques are often free, pose little risk, and can be done nearly anywhere.
Allowing yourself time to find your inner balance is worth every second. Your mind, your body, your decision making and all those around you will thank you for it. Finding your state of relaxation can be a really exciting journey and finding new and stimulating techniques has never been easier but relaxation techniques are skills. As with any skill, your ability to relax improves with practice and patience.
With so many different techniques we are going to focus on our 3 favourites:
In this relaxation technique, you form mental images to take a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation. The best part of visualisation is there is no limit to what where your mind can take you.
To relax using visualisation, you imagine a place where you can totally relax, for example on a beach by the ocean with the sound of crashing waves and the warmth of the sun on your body.
You may want to close your eyes, sit in a quiet spot, loosen any tight clothing, and concentrate on your breathing. Aim to focus on the present and think positive thoughts that help transport you to your place of tranquility.
Visualisation can also be incredibly powerful in realising your potential, goal setting, and confidence boosting. Many athletes and successful people repeatedly visualise achieving goals and imagine becoming the best version of themselves.
In this technique, you repeat words or suggestions in your mind that may help you relax and reduce stress and muscle tension. These repeated affirmations help to rebuild the positive links and focus on a subconscious level.
Writing down your affirmations and repeating your words and phrases at least 5 times really helps. These can be general or more specific if you have identified an area you wish to focus on. For example repeating a set of words or phrases:
- I am at peace with who I am as a person.
- I have the drive and ambition allow me to achieve my goals.
- I am in charge of how I feel and today I am choosing happiness.
- I have the power to create change.
- I am happy, I am enough.
Or you may imagine a peaceful setting and then focus on controlled, relaxing breathing, slowing your heart rate, or feeling different physical sensations, such as relaxing each arm or leg one by one.
Daily affirmations can have a really positive impact on an emotional level and can really help build self esteem.
PMR - Progressive Muscle Relaxation
In this relaxation technique, you focus on systematically slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. This can help you focus on the difference between muscle tension and relaxation. You can become more aware of physical sensations and help to release built up stress and tension.
The simple way is to start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively working your way up to your neck and head.
Tense your muscles for about five seconds and then relax for 30 seconds, as you breathe out allow the tension to leave your body and repeat until your body feels totally relaxed.
I love to include this into our stretching routine when we work out. Its amazing in a post workout cool down or sauna.
Are you ready for the Bonus Prize? Here are just some of the additional benefits why you should allow yourself at least 5 minutes relaxation a day:
- Improves concentration and mood
- Improves your quality of sleep
- Slows your heart rate and lowers blood pressure
- Slows your breathing rate
- Helps to Maintain normal blood sugar levels
- Reduces stress hormones within the body
- Reduces muscle tension and chronic pain
- Lowers fatigue
- Reduces feelings of anger and frustration
- Boosts confidence to handle problems
Some studies even indicate that relaxation and positive reinforcement can have a healing effect on a cellular level!
To get the most out of your time here are our top 3 relaxation tips.
1. Turn off your mobile, devices and all notifications for a few minutes.
2. Make sure your in a safe environment where you can totally relax.
3. If at first you find it strange or difficult keep at it, your mind will need time to adjust to something new.
I find the best part of relaxation is the clarity and focus relaxation brings. As the racing thoughts in my mind subside the stillness leads to fresh creative thoughts, solutions to problems and renewed desire to achieve the goals that just minutes before seemed lost.
Whether you choose to do one of these or all of these on a daily basis the benefits will be incredible. With so much to gain and nothing to loose we recommend you allow yourself at least 5 quality minutes a day and let the relaxation begin.
NB: There are occasions when you need to be a little careful and if you have any exciting medical conditions its always a good idea to consider talking to your doctor or mental health provider.