Relaxation Techniques to Clear Your Mind and Refocus
Support groups definitely have their place, but you need something more portable. You need relaxation techniques you can take with you all the time; something you can do anywhere, whenever life starts you stressing again.
Learning relaxation techniques does not have to be complicated or expensive. You already possess all that you need.
Relaxing breathing techniques come in many forms. The important part is to breathe! From ten deep breaths to trancelike meditational breathing, breathing is something anyone can do at any time. Breathing helps you to relax and clear your head. Breathing allows you to stop your fight or flight instinct and refocus.
Focusing on your breathing now will stop the background chatter in your head. Here is one way to clear your mind and gain the perspective to go about your day. To start, sit or stand up straight and tall. Closing your eyes, if it's an option, may help take away distractions. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Fully expand your diaphragm. Notice as you do this that your stomach will rise. We're not being self conscious here - this is a sign that you are breathing properly, maximizing your oxygen intake with each breath. Hold the breath for a few moments and slowly exhale through your mouth. Envision yourself blowing your stress away. Picture the clutter leaving your body for now. See yourself as calm and relaxed. You may count as you go if it helps you to remain focused on your goal. Counting gives your brain something else to do and helps you from becoming sidetracked.
Repeat breathing for several breaths, until you feel calmed and refocused. Open your eyes and ask yourself, "What do I need to accomplish now?" Use this new focus to go about your day, refocusing as needed and allowing that you will deal with your emotional stress at a more opportune time.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), is a widely known relaxation technique. Like deep breathing techniques, it is portable. You can do it on your living room floor or in your office chair. By progressively tensing and relaxing your muscles, you gain body awareness. Chances are you haven't even realized you are walking around with your muscles tight and flexed. By repetitively tensing and relaxing your muscles, you learn to recognize when your body is in that tense and uptight state, and when you need to take a minute to breathe and relax tension away.
Like deep breathing techniques, Progressive Muscle Relaxation allows you to refocus your life. PMR allows you to clear away tension, stop feeling like a train has hit you, and face tasks from a new place free from intellectual distractions.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a simple technique to follow. Start with your head, clearing away the greatest source of your tension and frustration. The idea is to tense a given muscle or group of muscles as tightly as you can, then relax the group and feel the difference between the two states. From here, try to take it a step further and relax your concerns away a little more.
The following are some examples of PMR in action. These are some exercises to do for each major area of the body, but don't stop there. Use the same basic method on any troublesome and tense areas. To begin, wrinkle your forehead and shut your eyes tightly. Clench your face and then let it go. Feel the difference between tense muscles and relaxed. Open your mouth wide. Let your mouth return to its natural position. Clench your jaw and relax it again.
Squeeze your head, neck and shoulders tightly together. Straighten and relax your posture. Do the same for your thighs and calves. Squeeze them together, point your toes, then curl them. Relax your legs and feet.
As with breathing, try visualizing the sources of your stress as you tighten groups, then picture letting go of those emotions and people who are hurting you as you let go of the tension in your body and muscles. Repeat the process until you feel able to focus again.
When your emotional state is stressed, and you've lost direction, you need your own stress-relief toolbox that you can carry along with you anywhere. You need techniques that work for you even when you are at the office, facing deadlines, and an anxiety attacks rears its ugly head. Through simple relaxation techniques like deep breathing and muscle relaxation, you can clear your mind and gain much needed focus for the tasks ahead.