In all the hustle and bustle of the 21st century, truly deep relaxation may be extremely hard to find. With constant demands from the various roles in life that each of us must play, there is little time left to worry about self or relaxation. However, a lack of proper rest and relaxation can begin to take a detrimental toll on our minds and bodies, with negative effects ranging from anxiety attacks, to diminished ability in memory, to thyroid and other hormonal diseases. This article will provide a few relaxation tips, focusing on methods for deep relaxation. Deep relaxation can best be described as relaxation that focuses on calming both the mind and the body in unison, with the overall goal of promoting the individual’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Forms of exercise like Yoga or Pilates are often considered to be the most effective, most beneficial methods for achieving deep relaxation. Yoga and Pilates programs are ideal because they do combine the notions of physical and mental wellbeing into one focused activity. The instructor often leads her class on a guided mental journey away from the present, while instructing the class on proper breathing techniques in addition to body strengthening exercises. Pranayama breathing exercises, one of the five core tenants of the art of yoga, focus on breathing techniques that create a balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide to the body, with the brain receiving as much oxygenation as possible. These breathing techniques can create an ultra-relaxed feeling.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is another technique that provides deep relaxation to the mind and especially to the body. The process involves relaxing each individual part of the body with a systematic focus, moving from the extremities up towards the head and core. This hyper-awareness of your body and how each of its individual parts is feeling can help you target problem areas. The focus that the activity requires is also an effective tool for briefly re-directing the mind from larger issues that might be causing stress and anxiety to provide a few moments of temporary relief.
Many people find exercise to be an extremely relaxing activity, whether it is running, biking, rowing or any other form of physical activity. For these types of activities to be considered deep relaxation techniques, they might be combined with a relaxing CD or possibly even a guided relaxation script.
Relaxation CDs encompass a variety of different musical and sound-related methods. One person’s relaxation CD might be their favorite mellow, acoustic songs; another person’s might be a classical symphony; another person’s might be the soothing sounds of nature. CDs are an extremely flexible relaxation technique. Guided visualization or relaxation scripts on CD can also be used to relieve stress and anxiety. These types of programs typically lead the listener on a mental journey, whether they are following the program aloud, repeating the script along with the narrator or instead focusing on using all five of their senses to imagine a care-free, stress-free environment. These types of relaxation CDs provide brief mental escapes, and can also boost confidence, self-esteem and ultimately relaxation.
The practice of meditation is in some ways an even higher form of guided visualization or relaxation scripts. For many religions meditation plays a significant role in the practice of the faith. However, meditation is used often for its potential to bring about deep relaxation. The process occurs in quiet, isolation, and stillness, requiring a phenomenal degree of mental focus, strength, and direction. The purpose of meditation is to give an individual the experience of transcending his own physical body, which can only be acquired through long periods of practice and extreme thoughtfulness about one’s own life and condition in the larger context of the world.
Most of these techniques are natural and do not require the attention or direction of a physician, but prescription muscle relaxers are also an option for reaching a state of deep relaxation. If your physical, bodily tension is so strong that it is becoming mentally draining, taking a muscle relaxant prescribed by your doctor might help put you in a highly desirable state of relaxation.