5 relaxation techniques to reduce stress

Yoga class reducing stress

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

Live better with less stress

5 healthy ways to start your day

1. Get musical

Research shows listening to music can lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety.1 Singing is another way to reduce stress levels and elevate your mood.

In the car, at home, or with your friends and family, use music to ease anxiety. Sing along or simply listen to music that calms you, including:

  • Playlists or albums of your favorite songs
  • Soothing music or sounds of nature, such as the ocean or chirping birds
  • Songs where you can focus on different melodies, instruments or singers

2. Be grateful

Practicing gratitude can help you handle the negative effects of stress with greater ease. Gratitude has been shown to improve aspects of your physical and psychological health, increase mental strength and improve sleep.2

Simply recognize and reflect on something in your life for which you are grateful. There are also activities you can do to practice gratitude, such as:

  • Reflect on 3 to 5 things you are grateful for and write them down.
  • Fill a box or jar with notes listing reasons to be thankful.
  • Select a rock or other small object to carry with you, or place it where you will see it daily. When you see it or touch it, take time to be grateful.

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:

  • Take a deep breath in through you nose letting your belly rise and fill with air.
  • Hold.
  • Exhale slowly through your nose.
  • Hold.
  • 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:

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