Stress management programs commonly include relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques have also been studied to see whether they might be of value in managing various health problems. Relaxation techniques include a number of practices such as progressive relaxation, guided imagery, biofeedback, self-hypnosis, and deep breathing exercises. The goal is similar in all: to produce the body’s natural relaxation response, characterized by slower breathing, lower blood pressure, and a feeling of increased well-being.
A. Jacobson progressive muscle
Jacobson’s relaxation technique is a type of therapy that focuses on tightening and relaxing specific muscle groups in sequence. It is also known as progressive relaxation therapy. By concentrating on specific areas and tensing and then relaxing them, one can become more aware of your body and physical sensations. It is useful for phobic and generalised anxiety.
Visualisation is another technique for inducing the relaxation response, it also improves physical and psychological health. It is especially useful for those with an overactive mind. In this technique we use all our senses of smell, touch, etc to imagine a peaceful, relaxing scene. The scene can be a tropical beach, floating on a cloud, in a beautiful garden scene, or imagining any other safe, pleasant place. Our thoughts and images have been shown by research to have an effect on our stress levels. For example one study revealed that watching distressing images like war films, unsurprisingly increased levels of stress in the subjects and increased the levels of stress hormones in their blood streams. Whereas watching a relaxation video reduces stress, lowers the levels of stress hormones in the blood stream and induces relaxation.
C. Relaxation Breathing
This forms the basis of many different types of relaxation techniques. It is a simple technique but its potential for lowering stress levels is high. It involves use of deep inspirations and expiration and its counting from 1-5. Diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the relaxation response and so reduces stress.