Taking time to relax is an important part of dealing with the stresses that life can throw at us. Learning how to relax is particularly helpful for those times when we get anxious or panicky. Practicing relaxation techniques as preparation for surgery and other kinds of medical interventions can also be really valuable.
Some activities are great for unwinding, such as soaking in the bath, listening to music, going for a walk etc so try and include some of these in your day. At one of our Young People’s Get Togethers I asked people what helps them relax. Here is what they said:
“ music, bowling, my cat, chocolate, singing, my dog, karaoke, reading”
When you feel anxious or panicky it can help to practice calm breathing and relaxation techniques. The most common ones are:
calming breathing techniques
progressive muscle relaxation (where you tense and relax the different parts of your body)
visualising yourself in a calm and peaceful place, such as on a the beach
Regular practice really helps give you confidence in relaxing. If you want to practice regularly but are finding it difficult, it can help to build in short times (5-10 mins) of relaxation into your day. Here are some sources of more information and relaxation exercises:
Check out my workshop notes on Ways Into Relaxation and/or the Somerville Foundation on YouTube for some calm breathing and relaxation tracks.
Listen to breathing exercises and relaxation tracks online at the Mood Cafe.
Well Being Podcasts: These are free downloads on the Mental Health Foundation website to help you relax and improve your sense of wellbeing. Listen to them either on your computer or your personal MP3 player. Topics include, stress and relaxation, wellbeing and positive thinking, help with sleep and overcoming fear and anxiety.
Rays of Calm by Christiane Kerr: CD of relaxation techniques and visualisations for teenagers, designed to promote a sense of calm and wellbeing.
Mobile App developed by researchers at UWE Bristol to help track and manage anxiety.
Mindfulness is a mind body approach using meditation techniques that can help people deal with anxious, panicky, angry and sad thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness means focusing in the present moment and paying attention to your experience in a non-judgemental way.
For more information see: So what is mindfulness?
Check out the Headspace video embedded on this page to find out more. You can download the Headspace Phone App and try out their free 10 get started with meditation pack.
Fostering an attitude of kindness and compassion towards ourselves and others can also help improve our wellbeing.
Please contact Anne Crump at The Somerville Foundation if you would like more information on relaxation techniques, mindfulness or ways to deal with stress and anxious or panicky feelings.