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How can I Learn to Relax?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2016
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In discussing how you can learn to relax, it should be clear that relaxation doesn’t necessarily mean taking huge breaks from your busy life, that most people have a few minutes of time for it each day, and that it is something that can be easily learned. You can spend a lot of money and time reading or learning plenty of relaxation techniques. They may be taught in concert with exercises like yoga or tai chi chuan. Alternately, you may take meditation classes, self-hypnosis classes or even learn how to breathe in specific ways that may help you learn to relax. But for many of us, having to do this is more tension producing. Never fear: as much as these classes may be helpful, they aren’t required to learn how to relax.

You do need a small amount of time when you are likely to not have interruptions. Moms at home with babies who tend to jump to the chores when babies are sleeping should give themselves the first three to five minutes of baby’s nap time for a little relaxation. If you’re at work or home, find a quiet place to sit, or maybe even lie down. Plan for a three to five minute session of relaxation, or as much as fifteen to twenty minutes if you can manage it.

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Many techniques that teach you to learn to relax focus on two things: pushing tense and distracting thoughts out of your mind for a few minutes, and observing the way you breathe. It sounds pretty simple actually, but many people find their minds racing with thoughts that will intrude. You may have to do a second or two of adjustment when your mind intrudes on your relaxation time by telling those thoughts you will get back to them shortly. Think of it as similar to putting a person on the phone on hold for just a few minutes.

Breath observation can take many forms, including learning how to breathe in specific patterns. Many people find trained breathing a bit tense, especially in the onset. Instead of having to learn to relax, just try to focus on how you're breathing. Ask yourself questions about it that keep you focused. Are your breaths even for instance? Do you breathe deeply, slowly, evenly? With your eyes closed, and with you lying or sitting in a comfortable spot, just allow yourself to focus on that breath and feel it. Remember that nothing is wrong with how you breathe; you’re just there to observe it.

Chances are you can spend a few minutes with your eyes closed simply focusing on your breathing patterns. If you have the time to take a relaxation session slightly longer, you can learn to relax a bit more by starting a “mind scan” of how your body feels. For instance, you can notice if your arms are relaxed, you legs, your toes or your spine. With each exhalation, spend a little time allowing yourself to be fully supported by chair, couch or floor and try to let your body just sink deeply into place. If you get lost, just return to breath observation.

Once you’ve mastered this simple relaxation technique, do some thinking when you have a moment’s free time about other things that may relax you. For instance, some people relax by taking a twenty-minute catnap, or others by getting a massage. A warm bath with aromatic essential oils, or a few minutes of sitting in the sun do it for other people. Look to small easy ways to create circumstances that will help you to learn to relax or are naturally relaxing and comfortable.

It’s easy to get caught up in the approach that there is a single “right way” to relax. This is not always the case. Rather, consider that there may be numerous ways in which you can learn to relax, and that few of these methods will be time-consuming. If needed, schedule a few minutes of time each day for your relaxation session, and honor the need for others in your life to have a few moments or relaxation each day too.

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icecream17
Post 4

Crispety- What I like to do when I'm really stressed is relax and write. I put some soft music in the background and start writing about my day and what caused me stress.

Often when I reflect on my writing the next day, I realized that many times my stress was really an over reaction to something minor. But at least in the moment it helps me to calm down.

I even starting to paint which also helps me relax because it requires a lot of concentration. This causes me to move my focus from what was stressing me to the painting so it's another way that I've learned how to relax.

Crispety
Post 3

Cupcake15- I understand that all of this New Age exercise is really popular, but for me I need to run.

Whenever I feel stressed I just run a couple miles, and when I finish I don't even remember why was stressed out in the first place.

I also like to use images that relax me while running. I think of going to the beach and relaxing in the sun whenever I run. I find yoga to be a little hard to do. It actually frustrates me more.

cupcake15
Post 2

Sunshine31- While that's true some people prefer more calming methods of relaxation.

I think yoga and meditation allow you to slowly forget everything around you, and allow you to live in the moment.

By taking deep breaths and not speaking you are forced to relax. Tai Chi is another form of controlled exercise that forces the mind to concentrate on the body with deliberate movements.

This intense concentration allows you to block out all other thoughts and over time you will learn to relax in a faster way.

sunshine31
Post 1

Learning how to relax sounds easy but it's difficult for a lot of people. With more advances in technology more people are finding that they cannot get away from work.

Some people are addicted to their Blackberry really need to walk away. One of the best things to do when you want to relax is exercise.

Exercise releases endorphins in the body that will automatically relax you. These endorphins allow you to relax and even create a more restful night's sleep.

Many runners talk about this when they experience the runners high. This feeling of relaxation can be created with any exercise as long as you get your heart rate up.

What I do when I am going to run is, I put my moisturizer in the refrigerator so when I'm going to clean my face it feels good to put the nice cold moisturizer on my warm face, after I take a shower.

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