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Relaxation Techniques: 21 Ways to Undo Stress and Relax

written by Dr. Tchiki Davis November 19, 2020
Undo Stress and Relax

Feeling wired? Need to short-circuit your stress and just relax already? Here are a bunch of science-based strategies to help you relax and feel less anxious. Relaxation techniques include any strategy that you can implement in your life to have greater relaxation and lower stress. There are actually tons of things we can do to relax and induce a sense of calm in our bodies. So in this article we’ll talk about a variety of relaxation techniques so that you can choose the ones that you think will work best for you.

Need a “quick calm” before we start? Try this 3-minute relaxation video.

Why Might We Need Relaxation Techniques?

We’re glued to our phones 24-7, overwhelmed by work, and nervous about the future of our country and the planet. For these reasons and more, stress has become an epidemic in America. Stress is the full-body response that occurs in response to what we call a stressor—or some event that we perceive as threatening.

Stress includes activation of the sympathetic nervous system, the release of cortisol, and the release of the catecholamines norepinephrine and epinephrine. The adrenal glands then must turn off cortisol to help us get back to normal.But when we’re chronically stressed, our bodies have a harder time turning off the stress signals. So many of us are in great need of strategies to help us relax.

21 Relaxation Techniques to Induce a Sense of Calm

1. Try mindfulness.
Mindfulness involves being aware but non-judgmental about our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. Many people use mindful meditation to reduce negative emotions like stress and anxiety, but we can also work on being more mindful in our daily lives by building skills like present awareness and compassionate  acceptance. So next time you are feeling like you need to relax, try to practice these skills or do a short mindful meditation.
2. Do positive visualizations.
My absolute favorite way to relax is with positive visualization exercises. When you visualize something positive, your brain reacts as if those things are actually happening now, in your real life. So when you imagine being in a calming location or doing something relaxing, you tell your body that it can start to relax, too.
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