Nowadays, stress is the disease of our generation. We are always available, need to achieve more and more in less and less time with the same quality. In doing so, our body and mind clearly come up short. Below we have compiled 6 effective techniques that you can use in between, in everyday life, or at home to learn how to become calmer and relax quickly.
So, why are relaxation techniques important?
We often don’t even notice it at first: when we are under stress, we automatically tense unnecessary muscles. Time to come down and relax is hardly available. As a result, we suffer from tension, pain, excessive demands, depression and burn-out. That is exactly why relaxation techniques become so important. They can ease muscular tension and balance your mind with your body.
1. Breathing Exercises Bring Immediate Relaxation.
The easiest relaxation exercise: become a yogi, try Sama Vritti Pranayama. You don’t have to learn anything complex, it’s just about finding your inner balance through breathing. Sama Vritti Pranayama means “steady breathing”.
The breathing exercise works like this
Inhale and count to 4, then exhale for the same 4 seconds. Breathing through the nose creates a slight but natural resistance. You got the trick? If so, try the Pro version: exhale and inhale for 6 to 8 seconds each. Sama Vritti Pranayama soothes the central nervous system, rebalances the body’s center of gravity, and relieves stress.
When is it useful?
At anytime and anywhere, actually. If you can’t see an opportunity during the day, do it in bed just before bedtime. This will slow down any thoughts that are still bothering you from the day. This is why yoga is so effective for we people.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) Relaxes You Mentally Too
The American doctor Edmund Jacobson believed that many diseases, even having high Triglycerides are stress-related. In fact, his PMR is nearly a century old and is regarded as highly effective for treating anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and symptoms of stress such as high blood pressure.
So how does Progressive Muscle Relaxation work?
It is actually quite simple: you deliberately tense certain muscle groups while lying or sitting, hold this tension and then relax again. It starts with the hands, then the arms, neck and jaw muscles, back, legs and finally the feet. A session lasts 12 to 30 minutes.
Bend one arm. Make a fist with your hand and slowly increase the tension; hold for 5-10 seconds. Notice the tension in your muscles. Loosen the tension and put the arm back down. Then do the other arm and hand.
This strong tensing will cause blood circulation and fatigue in the muscle, thus you will feel a particularly clear relaxation. This is because physical serenity is followed by mental relaxation. Attention: If you have a muscle disease, you should consult a doctor first. It is possible to learn the exercises under expert guidance in health courses. A lot of health insurance companies cover the costs.
When does PMR make sense?
Generally, you can do the exercises at any time. For instance, during the day at work, in the office or during your lunch break – or even in the bathroom, if you prefer privacy. Naturally, a quiet place and a relaxing place to sit or lie down are always preferable.
3. Autogenic Training Calms and Enhances the Ability to Concentrate
A psychiatrist derived this relaxation technique from hypnosis. It is about self-suggestion. In other words, you use the power of your own thoughts to relax. Nope, it doesn’t have anything to do with hippies.
In fact, autogenic training is based on the knowledge that the human body is a kind of molecular machinery: that there are on and off switches in our brain. Thoughts create a stimulus in the brain. Then this nerve impulse races along the nerve pathways as if on a highway into the corresponding muscles. Autogenic training calms the circulatory system and even increases the ability to concentrate.
How does autogenic training work?
Repeat certain sentences over and over again. In your mind say the sentence: “I am completely calm and my right arm is relaxed”. Then picture each word one by one as you slowly write out each word, letter by letter. Over and over. Picture your right arm getting heavier and heavier, feeling its weight on the bed. Your thoughts will keep drifting off at first: External noises, your job, and tonight’s soccer game will break your concentration. This is not a problem at all and is normal in the beginning. When you notice that you are thinking about the beer in your fridge, just continue with the sentence “I am calm and my left arm is relaxed”. Write out each word separately in your mind.
We also recommend this breathing exercise
Lay on your back with both hands on your stomach. Inhale calmly and exhale slowly and say the sentence: “I am completely calm and relaxed”. During this exercise, don’t be surprised if you fall asleep for a few seconds. After that you will feel like a newborn.
A further tip
You lie in bed in the evening and have cold feet? Tell yourself: “My right foot is very warm”. Imagine consciously how the veins dilate and how the warm blood flows through them down into the left foot.
When is autogenic training useful? If you have the opportunity to take some time. Retreat to an undisturbed place and lie down. You will need some patience for autogenic training until you manage to keep the focus on the respective sentence and hardly drift off with your thoughts.
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4. Miracle Morning Changes Your Routine
Hal Elrod, with his book “Miracle Morning: the hour that changes everything.” How does Miracle Morning work? Eldrod’s approach is based on the following 6 points, which he summarized as “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.”
Do the exact opposite of what most people do in the morning: don’t start with a caffeine kick, but rather with a moment of conscious silence. This could be a round of meditation or a breathing exercise. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which causes relaxation.
Repeating positive things you have heard about yourself. You affirm your strengths, painting a picture of your strength. Remind yourself of who you are, who you want to be, what you want to achieve, and most importantly, how you want to achieve it.
Now picture this as a concrete result in the context of the outside world. If your goal is to become a pilot, imagine passing the test, making your first flight.
Self-explanatory. Exercise promotes health and your emotional well-being. There’ s no need to cycle to the gym early in the morning. Do a quick workout in your own home, like 30 push-ups and 30 squats, or just a handful of planks.
As a minimum, Elrod recommends reading 10 pages a day. Among them, books on personal development, such as the classic “Think and Grow Rich. The Laws of Success” by Napoleon Hill or “The Five Languages of Love for Singles” by Gary D. Chapman. The point is to find something that inspires you. A new idea, something that could make you better or happier.
By writing down your thoughts, putting them in order and seeing them in front of you, you gain important insights. This way, many problems are solved.
When should I do this? Each morning. Wake up an hour earlier for this. For those who simply don’t have time, Elrod advises a change: do each point for only about 1 minute. To do this, put the sport in the last, or 6th, spot. 1 minute of jumping jacks will get your heart pumping much like a cup of coffee.
5. Floating Relaxes You Completely
Simply float. Well, not for real, but almost: you are lying on a salt water that carries you. Incredibly relaxing!
How does floating work?
Simply float in a small pool filled with a solution of highly concentrated salt water. Much like the well-known Dead Sea, where the salt content is 28 percent, floating eliminates the burden of your own body weight. The temperature of the water is 34.8 degrees Celsius. This is the same as the temperature of the outer skin. You get earplugs and a neck roll so the salt doesn’t run anywhere.
Because of the 34.8 degrees Celsius, you no longer perceive any temperature differences. This means that the body does not have to expend energy to compensate for temperature fluctuations. The pool is also darkened. Overall, the consciousness is thus relieved of all sensory perceptions. Body and mind can relax completely.
When does floating make sense?
The best time is on a Friday evening, so that you can sleep in the next day and the pleasant, relaxing feeling of floating lasts a little longer.
6. Digital Fasting against Restlessness and Stress
No need to tell you that the addictive potential of the Internet is huge. In fact, for some, getting online has become another basic need. Research has found links between online consumption and increased risks for depression, anxiety, and even suicide. Furthermore, the blue light from devices affects the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Enough reasons to turn it all off once in a while.
How does digital fasting work? By getting offline. Just keep your hands off your smartphone, laptop, iPad and smart TV .
The 3-point digital detox strategy
For highly addicted people
Are you living in the online world all day and evening? Fine, play with your smartphone as long as you want, but you better not go to bed with it! Transform your bed into a sacred offline place. The moment you lie down, mute your phone (better: put it in flight mode). If you cannot muster that ounce of self-discipline, it would be advisable to see an addiction counselor. By the way, your love life will thank you for being offline in bed.
For normal addicts
Being in bed without a smartphone has long been the status quo for you? Well, then let’s move on to the next challenge. Decide on a time of day when you will no longer look at your smartphone or sit down at the computer for a certain period of time. Take your lunch break, for example. Leave your smartphone at work. Talk to your colleagues or read a newspaper. Better yet, just focus on your food.
For the mildly addicted
Here comes uncharted territory. Make a pioneer move into the offline world. Choose one day on the weekend to go completely offline. After an initial panic and restlessness, a deep relaxation will soon set in. Your day has now successfully decelerated. Enjoy this time.
Doesn’t work? No worries, there are apps to help you with that, too. Try Forest (iOS + Android). The creators claim they will plant a tree as soon as the phone owner doesn’t touch his smartphone for a certain amount of time.
Which other relaxation strategies are available?
More relaxation methods that help to calm your body and mind are: Yoga, Qigong, meditation, hypnosis, reading a book, and even Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant can help.
Anyone who gives their all at work and in sports urgently needs a counterbalance. Digital Diet, Miracle Morning or breathing exercises – choose your relaxation strategy and start today.