Relaxation

Relaxation techniques can modify your feelings. This happens because relaxation changes your reaction to a situation, your thoughts, feelings and the physical symptoms that you experience.

The diagrams below help to explain this.

During times of stress or worry:

When employing relaxation:

When relaxation techniques are practised, you can use them to change your thoughts, feelings and behaviour, breaking the cycle of stress or anxiety.

Relaxation Techniques

Each person will find different relaxation techniques helpful. At the bottom of this page are some exercises, which focus on different areas, that you might find helpful. Try them and see which works best for you.

Physical symptoms

Some relaxation exercises reverse what is happening in the body during the fight or flight response so that it is gradually stopped. When the response is stopped, the body can stop acting as if it’s in danger.

Thoughts

Some relaxation exercises help to take your thoughts away from the stress, worry or anxiety to something more calming and pleasant.

Behaviour

Some relaxation exercises help to release tension from your body so that you can change how you act.

Try to notice when you are getting stressed. You might notice tension in your body, changes in your thoughts, or changes in what you feel motivated to do. If you notice that you are stressed, try to do something before the feelings become very strong. It can be easier to manage feelings of stress before they gain strength.

Each person will find different relaxation techniques helpful. Here are some exercises that you might find helpful. Try them and see which works best for you.

Breathing exercise

This is a calming breathing technique for stress, anxiety and panic. It takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere.

Muscle relaxation

This teaches you how to relax your muscles. You systematically tense particular muscle groups in your body, then release the tension and notice how your muscles feel when you relax them.

Compassionate Thinking

This exercise can help you to develop and use experiences of inner warmth, safeness and soothing, via compassion and self-compassion.

Safe Space

This is an imagery and visualisation technique. These are used within many therapeutic approaches to relax, improve mood states, and reduce distress associated with traumatic memories.

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