5 relaxation techniques to reduce stress

Seniors take part in a yoga class.

Restore your energy inside and out with these 5 simple relaxation techniques.

5 healthy ways to start your day

1. Go for a walk or a jog

Nothing helps to jump-start your day like a morning jog or a brisk walk. Research shows that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to be active throughout the day and in general.1

Being physically active also helps prevent heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.2

Inviting friends or starting a walk/jog club may help keep you motivated and make the exercise more fun.

Depending on where you live, use nearby parks, gyms or shopping malls to mix up your scenery.

2. Make time for breakfast

Instead of breakfast on the go, have a more delicious and nutritious meal. Eggs, toast, oatmeal and fruits are options that can give you the morning fuel you need.

Studies have linked eating breakfast to good health, better memory and concentration.3

If having enough time in the morning is a concern, try prepping your breakfast the night before. Many egg or oatmeal dishes can be refrigerated, and multi-grain waffles and smoothie ingredients can be frozen.

3. Meditate

Daily meditation may build your body’s resiliency to stress, research suggests.3 Practicing meditation as few as 10 minutes a day could also help ease anxiety, improve heart health and help you relax.4 Follow these steps:

  1. Take a deep breath in through you nose letting your belly rise and fill with air
  2. Hold
  3. Exhale slowly through your nose
  4. Hold
  5. Repeat 3 times

Focus on reciting positive thoughts either aloud or silently, and release distracting thoughts or negative energy from your mind.

By training your body on a daily basis to achieve this state of relaxation, it may enhance your mood, lower blood pressure, improve digestion and reduce everyday stress.

4. Nurture your body with massage

Massage can relieve stress, reduce anxiety and aid in recovery from injury. It can help ease arthritis, lower-back pain, insomnia, headaches and poor circulation.5 When you are unable to visit a massage therapist, try the following self-massage techniques:

  • Massage your feet and hands in the morning or at night to increase blood flow into the areas and relieve stress.
  • Gently press your thumbs in a circular motion around the outside of your eyebrows and along the bridge of your nose to relieve sinus pressure, eye strain and headaches.
  • Use your fingertips to massage your neck from your shoulders to the base of your skull in small deep circles to relieve neck tension.

5. Practice yoga

When you practice yoga, you relax both your body and mind. Yoga combines physical and mental disciplines to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate.6

There are many styles, forms and intensities in yoga. Hatha yoga, one of the most common styles, is recommended for stress management. It moves at a slower pace with easier movements, focusing on the following core components:

  • Poses
  • Breathing
  • Meditation or relaxation

Yoga is beneficial for all body types and ages. You don't have to be flexible to do yoga. You just need to find the right class or at-home instructions for you.

Sources

  1. “10 Relaxation Techniques That Zap Stress Fast,” WebMD, last accessed September 15, 2017, http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/blissing-out-10-relaxation-techniques-reduce-stress-spot#1., opens new window
  2. “31 Gratitude Exercises That Will Boost Your Happiness,” Positive Psychology Program, last accessed September 15, 2017, https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/gratitude-exercises/., opens new window
  3. “10 Relaxation Techniques That Zap Stress Fast.”
  4. “Meditation, Stress, and Your Health,” WedMD, last accessed September 15, 2017, http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/meditation-natural-remedy-for-insomnia#1., opens new window
  5. “Massage Therapy for Stress Relief and Much More,” WedMD, last accessed September 15, 2017, http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/massage-therapy-stress-relief-much-more#1., opens new window
  6. “Yoga: Fight stress and find serenity,” Mayo Clinic, last accessed September 15, 2017, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/yoga/art-20044733., opens new window