Relaxation Techniques For Stress Management
The unhealthy effects of stress can be evidenced in physical as well as mental and emotional health problems. Besides heart and digestive problems, stress can contribute to overall muscle aches, stiffness and even pain. Relaxation techniques can help manage the effects of stress on the body as well as the mind. There are various techniques one can use to experience a state of relaxation and calmness, which require little time or effort on the part of the individual seeking to benefit from them.
Here is one relaxation technique that many people have found beneficial in managing the level of stress they experience.
Stair Step Relaxation Technique
Begin with a series of deep, cleansing breaths. Feel your body relax, as you slowly breath in and out. It can be helpful to imagine the tension and stress leaving your body as you exhale, while peace and calm fill you, as you inhale clean, fresh air. Once you have done this for a period of two to three minutes, begin to experience the tension leaving your muscles, one at a time. When you are ready, picture yourself at the top of a flight of 10 stairs. Take one step down this set of stairs, and imagine that your body, your mind, and your spirit feel more relaxed, and more at ease as you reach this step. Say the number “One” as you descend. With each succeeding step you can experience a deeper and deeper state of calm and relaxation. As you descend upon each step say the corresponding number of the step you are on. When you reach 10, which is at the bottom of this set of steps, you will be entirely calm and relaxed. Any problems or worries you had will have vanished, and you will feel totally at peace.
Once you have experienced this state for a moment or two, you will be ready to come back up the set of stairs. With each step that you climb, you will become a little more awake and alert to your surroundings. Your body and mind will remain at calm and at peace even after you return to the final step. You will feel renewed energy, and a renewed sense of purpose and joy, as you return to the top of the stairs.
The Benefits Of Laughter In A Stress Management Program
Anatomy of Illness written by Norman Cousins, is a book based on the true story of how this man treated his own painful illness. Cousins had a theory that there was more to the old saying “laughter is the best medicine” than many people realize.
In modern times society has come to understand that stress has a negative impact on both physical and mental health. What is not as commonly understood is that laughter has many positive health benefits, which can counteract the negative effects of the stress response. Laughter increases the functioning of the immune system, helping the body to fight off illness and disease. Studies have demonstrated that laughter causes the increased production of catecholamines and endorphins. These chemicals, when released by the brain into the bloodstream during laughter, increase feelings of happiness and well-being. Laughter also decreases the secretion of cortisol as well as the sedimentation rate, and therefore is beneficial in stimulating the body’s immune system.
During laughter, the flow of oxygen in the blood increases. Arteries relax, heart rate and blood temperature are lowered, circulation increases and the skin temperature rises. All of these physical responses have a beneficial effect on both cardiovascular and respiratory health. Laughter has the potential to help speed healing, and increase overall health and well-being, when it’s benefits are fully realized as a part of a stress management plan.
While the average human being laughs approximately 8 to 10 times daily, a stress management plan which includes laughter as a part of the daily program would include rigorous “laughing” as an exercise to be performed several times throughout the day. Full belly laughter, which is an involuntary response of the human brain, can be triggered by watching comedies, listening to comedians, telling jokes or just allowing oneself to participate in fun and silly activities.