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Reduce Stress by Learning to Relax


How often do you practice relaxation techniques to reduce stress?

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We all experience stress. In those moments when our hearts start to race and our breathing speeds up, trying to relax might sound like an impossible task. However, research shows that practicing relaxation techniques is one of the best ways to manage our stress and reduce its effects, including anxiety, difficulty sleeping, a weakened immune system and a loss of focus.

Learning to relax requires us to release tension in our bodies, while also releasing stress-inducing thoughts.

Because our bodies tend to go into “fight-or-flight mode” during times of stress, learning to relax in the moment actually requires some training. The more we practice, the better we will get at it. The good news is that there are plenty of methods to try, they’re all cost-free and you can practice them anytime right where you are.

5 Ways to Find Peace of Mind So You Can Learn to Relax

  1. Meditate daily. A consistent meditation practice has been proven to reduce stress and help us focus and find balance. There are many forms of meditation, including mindfulness meditation, movement meditation and body scan meditation. Just a couple of minutes of meditation can make a difference in times of stress, but you’ll reap the most benefits when you integrate meditation into your daily routine.
  2. Develop a deep-breathing practice. When you’re stressed, your breathing typically becomes quick and shallow. Practicing deep breathing is one of the simplest things you can do to immediately feel more relaxed, control your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. There are many methods for deep breathing that focus on inhaling through your nose, filling your belly up with air and exhaling through your nose or mouth. Stop what you’re doing and try 30 seconds of deep breathing by inhaling and exhaling through your nose for 5 seconds each.
  3. Do yoga. Yoga is an excellent way to reduce stress while also improving your flexibility, strength, balance and energy. The practice of yoga requires coordination of breath and movement, which provides a mental focus that can calm you down after a stressful day. You don’t have to take an hour-long class to reap the benefits of yoga. Moving into simple poses, like child’s pose and downward-facing dog, can help to quickly bring awareness back to your body and calm you down. The best part is that you can practice yoga anywhere, and there are a variety of apps, videos and online classes.
  4. Visualize your calm place. Can you picture a place that makes you feel instantly at rest? You can practice guided imagery, or visualization, by closing your eyes and imagining this restful place. Consider as many sensory details as you can — what can you see, hear, smell, feel and taste in this vision? Once you feel truly relaxed, slowly open your eyes and bring yourself back to the present.
  5. Relax your muscles. True relaxation requires the lack of tension in all muscles. One technique to achieve this is progressive muscle relaxation, in which you tense a single muscle group — like your hands — as you take a deep breath in, and then release quickly as you slowly inhale. Repeat the process, focusing on a different muscle group each time. This technique is great for calming you down and can even be used to help you fall asleep.


Which of the following is a health benefit of practicing relaxation techniques?

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The correct answer is: Improved immune system

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The correct answer is: Improved immune system

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