Effective Techniques for Relaxation and Stress Reduction


In our fast-paced and demanding lives, finding effective techniques for relaxation and stress reduction is crucial for our mental and physical well-being.  By incorporating various relaxation techniques into our routines, we can calm our minds and reduce muscle tension.  However, it’s always advisable to consult your doctor if you have any medical conditions before trying these exercises.  Remember, practicing relaxation techniques regularly and being patient with yourself is key to experiencing their long-term benefits.


Before you begin, create a serene environment by following these steps:

  1. Find a cool and quiet room where you won’t be disturbed.
  2. Get into a comfortable position, either by lying down or sitting with your legs uncrossed.
  3. Put on loose and comfortable clothing and remove your shoes.
  4. Close your eyes gently or focus on a spot in front of you.
  5. Clear your thoughts and shift your attention to your breathing.

Don’t be disheartened if you struggle to relax immediately.  It’s normal for thoughts to arise; however, try not to dwell on them – let them pass through your mind.

Breathing Exercise:

Control your anxious thoughts and feelings by practicing slow, regular breathing.  This technique will help induce a sense of calmness and relaxation.  Avoid breathing too quickly or deeply, as it may lead to dizziness and increased anxiety.  Follow these steps to control your breathing:

  1. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Focus on allowing your stomach to move more than your chest as you breathe.
  2. Take a slow, regular breath in, preferably through your nose. Observe your hands as you inhale. Notice the hand on your stomach moving, while your chest remains still.
  3. Exhale slowly through pursed lips.
  4. Repeat this process ten times, twice a day.

Once you become comfortable with this technique, you will no longer need to monitor your hands or lace them on your stomach.

Simple Visualisation Exercise:

Utilise the power of visualisation to focus your mind and achieve a relaxed state.  Follow these steps:

  1. Imagine an ideal place for relaxation in your mind. It can be a real or imaginary location that brings feelings of tranquillity, safety, and happiness.
  2. Visualise every detail of this place, engaging your senses to make it as vivid as possible.
  3. Close your eyes, take a slow, regular breath in, and become aware of your breathing. Direct your attention to the ideal spot you created, with all its intricate details, and exhale through your mouth.
  4. Repeat this exercise for 10 to 20 minutes.

Quick Muscle Relaxation:

Relieve tension throughout your body by sequentially tensing and relaxing each muscle group.  Follow these steps:

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing – inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
  2. Make a fist, squeezing your hand tightly. Hold this tension for a few seconds, noticing the sensation.
  3. Gradually open your fingers and feel appreciate the release of tension. Feel the lightness and relaxation in your hand.  Savour this soothing sensation.

If you have any physical injuries or conditions that may cause muscle pain, avoid tensing the affected muscle.

After Relaxation:

After completing relaxation exercises, it is important to avoid standing up too quickly.  Take a few minutes to sit with your eyes closed, allowing your body to adjust.  When you feel ready, open your eyes and ensure you feel comfortable before standing up.


Incorporating relaxation techniques into your routine can significantly improve your overall well-being.  Remember to be patient as you practice these techniques regularly.  By dedicating time to relax and reduce stress, you will reap the benefits of a calm mind and relaxed muscles.

(Source: Adapted from Relaxation techniques | NHS inform)