Simple Relaxation Techniques
You Can Use Today

Relaxation is another key component of healthy living, and is just as essential as movement. Our bodies require a balance between activity and rest. Now what this balance is can sometimes be a challenge to discover, but doing so will pay huge dividends in terms of your health and overall frame of mind.

relaxation techniques

Is sleeping considered relaxation?

Yes, but it serves a number of other functions as well. Our bodies definitely require a certain number of hours of sleep per day. It's essential for survival in all mammals and birds, and is also seen in many reptiles, amphibians, and fish.

Scientists believe sleeping seven to nine hours a night is the optimal requirement for good health. We need sufficient sleep to maintain alertness, memory, problem solving, and overall health and longevity. Studies have shown that six or less hours of sleep can result in a deterioration of cognitive performance, as well as weight gain, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes, and the biological/emotional symptoms of depression, alcoholism and bipolar disorder. Both too little and too much sleep can increase the risk of heart disease and death. So sleeping is an important part of your daily routine, on both a mental and a physical level.

Why do you need relaxation as well as sleep?

Relaxation and recreation are both forms of stress management, and as such, exert a positive influence on your physical health. Life is not just about working or achieving, or doing what has to be done in order to survive, but also about appreciation and enjoyment.

What kinds of relaxation techniques can you use right now?

You can choose to relax either alone or in the company of others. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Solo Relaxation Techniques
  • Deep Breathing
  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Biofeedback
  • Visualization
  • Self Hypnosis
  • Prayer
2. Movement-Based Relaxation Techniques
  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Qigong
3. Activities Involving A Practitioner
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Reflexology
4. Relaxing Activities
  • Going for a quiet walk
  • Spending time in nature
  • Sipping herbal tea on your balcony
  • Doing stretching exercises in the sun
  • Petting your cat or dog
  • Listening to soothing music
5. Water-Based Relaxation Techniques
  • Walking on the beach
  • Collecting seashells
  • Drifting in a small boat on a lake
  • Floating in a swimming pool
  • Enjoying a jacuzzi
6. Social Relaxation Techniques

You can also do many of the above activities
with friends, including:
  • Going for a quiet walk
  • Spending time in nature
  • Sipping herbal tea on your balcony
  • Doing stretching exercises in the sun
  • Collecting seashells
  • Drifting in a small boat on a lake
  • Floating in a swimming pool
  • Enjoying a jacuzzi
  • Listening to soothing music
  • Sharing a meal
Avoid activities that bore you

What is restful for one person isn't necessarily so for another. If you find an activity boring, it's actually a form of stress. For example, don't continue meditating if it makes you twitchy. This is counterproductive. And don't spend time with people you don't like just to 'get out of the house'. Take the time to discover what you really enjoy, and what truly relaxes and restores you.

The concept of burning the candle at both ends only works in the short term. If you don't deliberately incorporate rest and relaxation into your life, your body may make the choice for you – by bringing on an illness of some kind which forces you to stop and rest. And although it's effective, it's certainly not the most pleasant way to ensure that you take time out.

Rest and relaxation are a key component of healthy living. Find one or two relaxation techniques you can incorporate into your daily or weekly routines.

To take a look at a number of relaxation aids from our friends at the Health and Yoga site, click on the image to your left.

If you missed our basic deep breathing exercises, you'll find them on Relaxation Techniques: Deep Breathing.

> > Health Essentials #7: Hormones

It's important that you consult with a qualified health professional before embarking on any new dietary or exercise regimen.

Gathering information online is fine for research purposes, but you need a real live professional to monitor your progress if you attempt to make drastic changes to your lifestyle. Unless you're a health professional yourself, you aren't equipped to objectively observe your body's responses to a new diet or exercise program. So whatever your chosen course of action, please be sure you enlist the support of a qualified professional.

Read our full Disclaimer here.