Calming the Mind and Body

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Learning to calm the mind and body is particularly essential in reducing stress. When the mind and body are at peace, stress seems to just melt away. Relaxation exercises are among the simplest methods for quieting the body and mind. The purpose of relaxation techniques is to bring about a physiological response known as the relaxation response – a response that is the exact opposite of the stress response. While you may relax by simply sleeping, watching television, or reading a book, relaxation techniques are specifically intended to produce the relaxation response.

In order to achieve the relaxation response, a broad range of techniques can be utilized. It doesn’t really matter which technique you use; ultimately, they all should produce the same physiological state of deep relaxation. Some popular techniques are meditation, prayer, progressive self-hypnosis, relaxation, and biofeedback. The type of relaxation technique that works best for each person is entirely individual. The important thing is that you set aside at least five to ten minutes each day to perform a relaxation technique.

Breathing With The Diaphragm
Producing deep relaxation with any technique involves learning how to breathe. Breathing with the diaphragm is one of the most powerful ways to decrease stress and increase energy in the body. By using the diaphragm to breathe, your physiology can be changed considerably, literally triggering the relaxation centers in the brain.

Here is a popular way to learn to breathe with your diaphragm.

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Position your feet slightly apart and place one hand on your abdomen near your navel and place your other hand on your chest.
  • Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  • Focus on your breathing. Notice which hand is rising and falling with each breath.
  • Gradually exhale the air in your lungs.
  • Inhale while slowly counting to four. As you inhale, extend your abdomen a bit, causing it to rise about 1 inch. Make certain that you’re not moving your chest or shoulders.
  • As you inhale, visualize the warm air flowing in to all parts of your body.
  • Pause for one second, and then slowly exhale to a count of four. As you exhale, your abdomen should move inward.
  • As the air flows out, visualize all your worry and stress fading away.
  • Repeat this exercise until you have achieved a sense of deep relaxation.

Progressive Relaxation

One of the most popular methods for achieving the relaxation response is progressive relaxation. Many people are unaware of the sensation of relaxation. In progressive relaxation, you learn what it feels like to relax by comparing relaxation to muscle tension. This technique is often used in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia.

The idea is to forcefully contract a muscle for one to two seconds and then give way to a feeling of relaxation. Since the procedure runs progressively through all the muscles of the body, eventually a deep state of relaxation will result.

Start by contracting the muscles of your face and neck, and holding the contraction for a at least two seconds and then relaxing the muscles. Then, contract and relax the muscles in your upper arms and chest, and then the muscles in your lower arms and hands. Gradually repeat this process down your body from your abdomen, buttocks, thighs, calves, down to your feet. Repeat the whole series two or three more times.

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Hypnotist seeker said...

Hey nice post !
I really enjoyed reading this..I do believe that just like hypnosis breathing is the best way to relax your mind and remove stress.

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