Tips on Helpful Relaxation Techniques

Learning relaxation techniques can help you manage your stress and have a better quality of life. Once you become more aware of how stress affects your body, you can counter it immediately. Some of the ways relaxation techniques can reduce stress include lowering your blood pressure, improving concentration, and reducing muscle tension and chronic pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. With a little discipline, you can learn how to practice relaxation techniques on your own.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

During progressive muscle relaxation, focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group from your feet to your head. Tense and relax the muscles in your toes first. Slowly work your way up your body from your calves to your back to your head. Tense your muscles for at least five seconds, then relax them for 30 seconds, suggests the Mayo Clinic. Repeat for each muscle group.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing allows you to get as much fresh air as possible into your lungs, which can make you feel less tense. To practice deep breathing, sit up comfortably or lie down on a flat surface. Put one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Breathe in slowly through your nose and try to make your stomach rise. Hold your breath for a second. Exhale through your mouth and let your stomach go back down. The hand on your chest should move very little as you do this.


Visualization is a relaxation technique in which you come up with mental images that are peaceful or calming. As you form those images, use as many of your senses as you can, such as smell, sound and touch. For example, if your vision is to relax on the beach, close your eyes and think about the smell of the salt water, the sound of the crashing waves and the warmth of the sun.


The best type of yoga for relaxation is one that focuses on slow, steady movements and gentle stretching. Because you can injure yourself if you practice yoga incorrectly, consider taking a series of classes to learn the basics before you practice on your own. Look for classes described as “gentle,” “for stress relief” or “for beginners,” write Jeanne Segal and her colleagues at Don’t do any poses that that do not feel comfortable and stop if you feel any pain. A good instructor can show you alternate poses for those that are too challenging for you.

About this Author

Sahar Aker has been a health journalist since 1994, primarily working as a TV news health reporter. Her reports have been featured on CNN and local TV stations across the country. Aker\’s health writing can be found on several online sites, including a weekly feature on Yahoo! Shine and daily posts on