A series of therapeutic practices oriented to combat stress and anxiety and to relax.
Relaxation techniques help us cope with stress and the hectic pace of life that we often have to carry through our work and the circumstances we have to live. Learning to relax prepares us better to face the challenges of each day, and for this, we only need to choose one of the available methods and start practising it.
This article explains what relaxation techniques are and what they are for, the main types of procedures that exist, and their benefits.
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Relaxation techniques are an essential and widely used resource in psychological treatments that imply addressing and coping with stress or anxiety. In situations in which the person experiences a psychophysiological over-activation, it prevents them from carrying out their daily activities.
This technique facilitates the reduction of the levels of physical tension and the mental load that, many times, we suffer in different areas of our life (work, family, etc.). Therefore, they are helpful tools for patients with psychological problems or emotional disturbances and those who need to improve their quality of life and well-being.
Learning to relax allows us to perform activities that we would otherwise avoid due to the high levels of arousal that we currently suffer from in our modern societies. The rush stress, stress, and stress are factors that feed discomfort and worsen our physical and cognitive performance.
Through the use of relaxation techniques, we promote the proper functioning of our stress management system, ensuring an optimal hormonal balance and reducing excessive levels of cortisol that, in the long run, can be harmful to our body.
There are different types of relaxation techniques to choose the one that suits us or satisfies us. Here are some of them:
The progressive muscle relaxation technique, developed in the 1930s by the American physician Edmund Jacobson, is probably one of the best-known types of relaxation techniques.
This practice remains based on the physiological principle of tension-strain, which postulates that when we tense a muscle (a few seconds) and then stop tensing it (strain), it will be more relaxed than before carrying out the exercise.
In progressive muscle relaxation, the person can lie down (or find a comfortable position) in a quiet and pleasant place. Afterwards, the following phases must remain followed:
In this first phase, different muscles are tensioned and relaxed, holding them tightly for 10 to 15 seconds and focusing on how they relax to loosen up. It can remain done following the order of muscle groups (head, trunk, arms and legs).
For example, if you start with the head, you can start with the face, frowning and then relaxing it, closing your eyes tightly and then opening them, pressing the lips and loosening them. And so on with the rest of the muscle groups.
In this second phase, all the muscle groups that have been tense and relaxed are mentally reviewed, checked if they are really relaxed after the exercises, and do them again.
This last phase is one of relaxation, and the person must become aware of the state of calm after having executed the exercises. To facilitate this, pleasant scenes or different positive sensations can be visualized through the imagination (imagine lying on the beach or eating a good plate of food).
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This relaxation technique is based, according to Schultz, on a method that consists of producing a transformation of the individual by performing specific physiological and rational exercises, which allow obtaining results similar to those achieved through states of authentic suggestion.
Autogenic training consists of concentrating on physical sensations by executing six exercises that must remain learned progressively.
With a few simple instructions (autosuggestion), the person gets their limbs and the rest of the body to relax through sensations of heat, weight, etc. In this way, it is the internal conviction of the individual himself that facilitates a feeling of general relaxation.
The exercises are as follows:
Paul’s conditioned relaxation technique is a procedure in which autosuggestion remains also used to relax. It consists of associating relaxing and pleasant sensations with a word or a concept that the person says to himself during the exercise.
To do this, the subject must find a quiet and comfortable place to relax and remains instructed to focus on his breathing.Contrast At the same time, the concept remains repeated internally and autosuggestive (e.g. the word “Calm”) that will be associated with the relaxing sensation.
A variant of this type of technique is the imagination of relaxing scenes. The person is guided and asked to imagine certain situations that generate positive feelings and pleasant sensations.
As well as, This tool remains widely used in therapy, and the improved version can remain done through the use of virtual and augmented reality, two tools that generate more realistic situations.
The passive relaxation technique, unlike progressive muscle relaxation, does not use muscle strain-strain methods. With this relaxation method, the person receives verbal instructions that urge them to relax each muscle group gradually.
For example, the clinician could suggest the following: “you are sitting quietly on the sofa with your eyes closed, notice how your arms relax, they are less and less tense … now look at the right forearm, notice how each time it relaxes more…”.
These instructions work best if the environment in which this technique remains performed is a quiet and pleasant place. And the clinician who gives the cognitive instructions uses a slow and deliberate tone of voice.
The differential relaxation technique is considered a variant of Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation. Although, The difference is that with this method, you learn to tighten only the muscles related to a specific activity. Keeping those that are not necessary for it relaxed. For example, in specific, everyday situations (like sleeping or studying for a test).
It usually combines three types of dichotomous variables, giving rise to 8 increasingly complex situations:
The Benson Technique is a method that combines relaxation and transcendental meditation. First of all, the person must remain placed in a comfortable and pleasant place. Likewise, A word remains chosen and repeated continuously (like a mantra). With a constant rhythm and a soft tone of voice. This exercise can last from 5 to 20 minutes without getting bored or feeling tired.
Similarly, Practising relaxation exercises every day carries a series of benefits for the person who performs them:
On the one hand, it improves the quality of life: relaxation reduces stress and the feeling of nervousness. Gains in quality and well-being.
It also leads to a reduction in cardiovascular problems: remain relaxed lowers blood pressure, lowers heart rate. And, therefore, in the long run. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disorders.
In Fact, Subject to subject, using these techniques contributes to muscle relaxation. It is a fact that stress and anxiety generate muscle tension, which decreases or disappears with the practice of peace.
On the other hand, it improves physical and cognitive performance. Relaxation helps us be more calm, attentive, and confident, which affects us both physically and cognitively. And improving our performance in all areas of life.
first, sleep and mood improvement: remain relaxed helps us sleep better at night and be in a better mood.
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