In this exercise, you take long, slow, deep breaths (also known as abdominal or belly breathing). As you breathe, disengage your mind from distracting and troubling thoughts and sensations, says Julie Corliss, Executive Editor of Harvard Heart Letter. You should let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as possible (without forcing it), and breathe out without pausing or holding your breath, just let it flow out gently.
Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Breathe in gently and regularly, and try counting from one to five in the process. It’s ok if you can’t; if counting is distracting you just focus on the exercise without counting. Try doing it for three to five minutes. However, this technique might not be appropriate for those with respiratory ailments or heart failure.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
After a few minutes of breathing exercises, you follow up with progressive muscle relaxation. Here, you focus on one part of your body or a group of muscles per time, and mentally release any physical tension you feel there. Basically, you scan your body to identify physically tense areas, and consciously relax those areas (one after the other) to help ease tension. You can lie on your back or sit with your feet to the floor while doing this, start the body scan from your toes to your scalp, noticing how your body feels and relaxing at every point.
Here, you remember soothing scenes, memories, places or experiences to help you relax and ease tension. If you have intrusive thoughts or find it difficult to conjure up mental images, you can find and download free apps or online videos of calming and soothing scenes and imagery. You only have to ensure you personally find these scenes calming and soothing.
Talk to Someone
Talk to your loved ones, as reaching out to those in your social circle is one of the best ways to handle stress and tension. Share your burdens with them, and in the process get fresh and helpful perspectives on the things weighing you down.
Listen to Soothing Music
Research shows that listening to soothing music can actually lower your blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety. Create a playlist of calm and soothing music (consider adding some classical music to that playlist), listen to them and allow your mind focus on the different melodies, instruments or even on the singer’s voice.
Exercise helps the brain release feel-good chemicals and this gives the body a chance to deal with stress and ease tension. Quick walks around short distances, leisurely walks around your area or environment, walking up and down a flight of stairs, or doing some stretching exercises are enough to help you deal with stress and ease tension.
Yes prayer, especially for those who find religion and spirituality meaningful. Harvard Health Letter advises the use of this technique as a relaxation response to potential stressors. Here, you silently repeat a short prayer or a phrase from a prayer while practicing breathing exercises.