9 relaxation techniques + 9 exercises for every occasion
Relaxation periods are essential to recharge your batteries and reduce stress. There are several relaxation techniques that you can use to calm your body and mind. We present effective techniques and exercises.
If you feel tense and want to calm down more, you should try different relaxation techniques. We have collected a few techniques for you to try.
Relaxation: essential for health
Our everyday life is characterized by stress and hectic. Every free minute is planned through. With all the things we have to do, we even put basic needs like eating and sleeping on the back burner.
We would rather quickly drink the fifth coffee of the day. There are rarely a few moments for us to put our feet up for a moment.
Instead, we also pack our free time full of activities and undertakings. Relaxation doesn’t fit into our efficient daily schedule.
Rest and relaxation are there rather rarely, but it is extremely important for the physical and mental well-being.
If it does happen that a little time is left for you, you read a good book, spend a cozy evening watching TV or take a walk in nature, you are already giving your body and mind a little time out. These things can distract you from your everyday worries and give you new energy, but they don’t bring you deeper relaxation.
If you want to face your everyday life permanently calm and relaxed, you can only achieve this with regular training. Various relaxation techniques can help you to anchor the feeling of calmness and serenity deeply within yourself. This will help you relieve existing tension and approach challenges in a more relaxed manner.
The various relaxation techniques differ in their intensity and execution. You can choose the most effective technique for you and integrate it into your everyday life.
In addition, relaxation exercises help you to make your everyday life easier and to become more relaxed.
Too much stress is unhealthy. When we are stressed, we release more stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine, which affect our immune system.
If our bodies don’t break down these hormones, it can have serious consequences such as high blood pressure, chronic headaches, digestive problems, tension and insomnia. Relaxation, on the other hand, can relieve tension, ease pain and warm muscles.
Relaxation techniques to relieve stress and anxiety
Just a few minutes of relaxation a day can help you go through life more relaxed and healthy. There are many benefits to doing so:
- You’re more steadfast and don’t get thrown off track so easily.
- You have more creative ideas and are less skeptical.
- Generally, your concentration ability increases and you can solve problems faster.
We present some relaxation techniques that are suitable for young and old. In most cases, they are easy to learn and take little time.
If you find yourself in a stressful situation, you can resort to these techniques to relax. Ideally, you should learn several techniques so that you always have the best exercise for the situation at hand.
However, relaxation techniques work best if you perform them regularly and thus already arm yourself against future stress.
Progressive muscle relaxation
One of the best known relaxation techniques is progressive muscle relaxation.
It was developed by the American physician Edmund Jacobsen and is based on the alternate tensing and relaxing of individual muscle parts.
In doing so, you take care of all the important muscle parts one after the other. In this way you can reduce stress and release tension.
This technique can be easily integrated into your everyday life and is also suitable for stressful situations due to its simplicity. You do not need any aids and can perform the technique both sitting and lying down.
If you have disturbed sleep, you can take a few minutes in the evening in bed to perform progressive muscle relaxation. If you suffer from headaches, you can provide relief on the bus, train, or at the office by using Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
Autogenic training: relaxation technique for anxiety
Another popular relaxation exercise is autogenic training, but it differs significantly from progressive muscle relaxation.
This relaxation technique originates from self-hypnosis and works with so-called autosuggestive formulas.
With these formulas you have the possibility to influence yourself. With the help of your imagination you can put your body into a state of rest.
Autogenic training requires a little practice and regular training until you have completely mastered the technique. Therefore it is less suitable before direct stress situations.
In the long term, it can help with sleep disorders, depression and anxiety disorders. You can also increase your ability to concentrate with autogenic training.
Spiritual practice is known for its calming and centering effects. Your thoughts come to rest during meditation. This allows you to relieve stress and relax your mind.
There are many different forms of meditation. You can do it walking, sitting, lying down, and standing.
There are even dancing meditations. Music often plays a supporting role. Silent meditations are also popular.
For beginners, meditations up to ten minutes are suitable. Advanced meditators can even meditate for several hours.
When meditating, the real hurdle is the beginning. You will learn the right technique while doing it. Even if you have trouble pushing your thoughts aside at first, you can still notice a relaxing effect.
Breathing exercises are also great for relaxation. When you are in a stressful situation, your breathing becomes shallow. If you learn to influence your breathing, you can also influence your stress level.
When you breathe calmly and deeply, you relax. That is why breathing exercises are especially suitable for relaxation in acute stress situations.
Mostly you breathe in consciously through your nose and stretch your diaphragm. Breathe out through your mouth.
Regular exercise is probably one of the most effective techniques to relieve stress and relax. The important thing is to accept your limits and not make your workout too strenuous.
Too intense a workout can actually increase your stress level. Meditative sports or endurance sports that keep your heart rate constantly at the same level are particularly suitable.
- Endurance training: Especially people who sit in front of a desk a lot in their professional life benefit from endurance training. It is particularly suitable for young people who want to satisfy their urge to move and who suffer from inner restlessness after a long day at work.
- Yoga: Yoga is also very suitable to free yourself from everyday stress. The teaching combines meditation and breathing exercises with flowing movement sequences. This is to achieve an inner and outer balance, which gives the body and mind balance and new strength.
- Pilates: Pilates focuses just like yoga on the entire body. Especially the body center, so abdominal, back and pelvic floor muscles are strengthened. In the process, tensions can be released.
- Tai-Chi: This martial art comes from an ancient Chinese teaching. The body remains in motion all the time, builds up tension and releases it again. Thus blockades can be solved. Tai Chi also has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and breathing.
- Qigong: This Chinese teaching is also suitable for relaxation. The focus is on strengthening the life energy. With special movement sequences, breathing and concentration exercises, the life energy should be strengthened. This technique is suitable for all ages.
Regularly taking a sauna can also help you relax. A visit to the sauna strengthens your immune system and relaxes your body and mind.
Steam and heat ensure that your body is purified and toxins are transported out of the body. The body has the opportunity to completely shut down and therefore needs appropriate rest after each sauna session.
You should make sure that you get enough rest between sauna sessions. If you spend too much time in the sauna, you put additional stress on your body.
Try different temperatures and choose the most comfortable one for you. There are Finnish, bio and steam saunas. Temperatures vary from 45 to 100 degrees.
Relaxation music is particularly suitable if you want to close your eyes and switch off for a while. This way you can relax with little effort.
You lie down in a relaxed pose on the floor, bed or sofa and listen to the music until your thoughts are completely at rest and you can devote your attention to the music alone.
Music for relaxation is very calm and combines gentle harp and flute sounds with nature sounds.
People like to resort to the sound of the sea, birds chirping and leaves rustling. This creates an association with a carefree beach vacation in bright sunshine.
Massages create short time-outs in everyday life. Your well-being can greatly increase with the help of a massage. Blockages can be released and your muscles loosened. You can remain completely passive, because the masseur alone takes care of your relaxation.
Foot reflexology massages are particularly suitable. According to this technique, some zones on the sole of the foot are connected with certain organs. Massaging these zones can have a positive effect on the organs. So you can relieve stress and recharge your batteries.
A very simple yet effective technique for relaxation is the smile. A smile releases endorphins and natural painkillers. Your muscles can relax and you are happier. Stress hormones are lowered.
Relaxation exercises for everyday life
Individual relaxation exercises that you can perform without much effort can be super integrated into everyday life.
Whether you’re taking a break at the office, waiting for the next streetcar, or just want to take a breath between the kids and the household – these exercises don’t take much time or practice to do correctly.
If you take a few minutes, you can face your everyday life a bit more relaxed.
Stretch your body
Stretch your arms upward, pulling them further and further toward the sky. Your back is straight and stretched in the same way. Likewise, pull your thighs, calves and feet lengthwise. Try to make every muscle long. Yawn while doing this. This has a relaxing effect and loosens your muscles.
Shake the body
If a lot of things are stressing you out at the moment and negative feelings are coming up, you can easily shake them off. Try to get rid of stress by shaking your whole body vigorously. This will put you in a good mood and relax your muscles. After that you will feel fresh and vital again.
Tension – Relaxation
Tense all your muscles. Try to strain every muscle in your body. Hold your breath and stay in this position for up to five seconds. Exhale forcefully and relax your body.
Stand in a safe position. Your feet are about hip-width apart. Your arms hang loosely at your sides. Now turn your upper body with momentum to the left. Your arms swing loosely with it.
Now turn to the right so that your arms swing with you. You can repeat this as many times as you feel comfortable.
Listen to your inner self
Sit or stand comfortably. Close your eyes and feel your body. Try to establish a connection between your body and your mind.
What is your body trying to tell you? If you feel that your body wants to move in a certain way, perform that movement. This will help you prevent poor posture and release blockages. Your body knows best what is good for it.
Relaxation with words
Sit on a chair with a straight posture and place your hands on your thighs. Your feet are parallel side by side and firmly on the floor.
Now say to yourself or in your mind the words "Let go!". Repeat these words as many times as it feels good for you. Breathe consciously and deeply. Hold this position for a few seconds before releasing it.
Let go of anger
Find a place where you can be all to yourself. Sit relaxed on a chair or the floor. Put yourself in a situation where you were very angry. Clench your hands into fists while you do this. Your feet also tense up. Now shout your anger out loud.
You can say whole sentences, throw out accusations or just shout. The main thing is that your anger can escape. If you feel released from your anger, you can shake out your hands and feet and loosen them.
Lie flat on your back. Your hands rest on your belly. Inhale through your nose. Try to breathe into your belly so that your hands are lifted. Hold the air in your body for a few seconds. Finally, exhale through your mouth.
Repeat this process a few times until you are completely calm and relaxed. Meanwhile, you can close your eyes. The increased oxygen supply will ensure that you gain new strength and energy.
Lie down on your bed or sofa in a relaxed pose. Imagine a place where you are completely relaxed and carefree. This can be a fictional place, a place of your childhood, or a beautiful vacation spot.
Close your eyes. Imagine yourself exploring this place. What do you feel? What do you smell? And what sensations are going through your mind?
If you want to get out of this state, you can open your eyes or say a word that brings you back to reality. This exercise works especially well if you have relaxing music playing in the background.