Daily stress triggers can be hard to control, with many of them coming at once and causing a wave of all kinds of stress, anxiety, and panic. It can be hard to deal with these types of emotions, especially when there is no time to deal with them. During this time, it can be hard to deal with the everyday chores and responsibilities, when everything causes this intense anxiety and stress. A good way to handle these issues is through relaxation therapy. This can look very different for each person, but the overall goal is the same: to be able to completely relax, almost as if on command, after practicing certain types of relaxation therapy.
What is Relaxation Therapy?
Relaxation therapy is not like normal therapies, when there needs to be someone present to regulate the session, talk to, or “treat” the issue. Relaxation therapy is able to be done completely at home, at any time. It is basically a set of different relaxation techniques that lower blood pressure, cortisol levels, and stress and increase endorphins (and sometimes even melatonin). But what are all of these natural occurrences in our brains?
- Blood pressure: and increase in stress is usually accompanied by a rise in blood pressure. This rise can cause all sorts of medical issues, such as stroke, heart attack, asthma attacks (if susceptible), and panic attacks.
- Cortisol: this is the chemical released by the brain during a difficult or stressful situation. It is basically the manifestation of the stress in the brain. Increased levels can cause depression, muscle and joint aches, headaches, stomach ulcers, and insomnia.
- Endorphins: the complete opposite of cortisol, endorphins are the chemicals in the brain that release during happy or pleasing times. Endorphins typically release during fun activities, relaxing moment, intercourse, or moments of contentment and support a healthy brain function.
- Melatonin: this is the “sleepy chemical” that makes you fall asleep. If any of the negative chemicals are present, it is harder for melatonin to release, making it hard to sleep (this is why being stressed usually results in insomnia).
Relaxation therapy can help get a hold of the biological chemicals above and balance out the body and brain.
What does Relaxation Therapy do for me?
Relaxation therapy can help regulate the body’s natural, emotional functions. It focuses on breathing, relaxing the muscles, and easing the anxieties of the mind in order to assuage any and all negatively intense emotions. The goal of relaxation therapy is to not need it at all, to be so relaxed (or at least feel relaxed and in control) that stressful situations do not cause much of an upset. The goal is to use preventative relaxation therapy to achieve inner peace of mind.
What are the different kinds of relaxation therapy?
There are different kinds of relaxation therapy, all with different benefits that can be manipulated and catered to fit any schedule, stress level, or personal needs. Most of them do not require another person present; however, it can be effective to have an accountability partner!
Autogenic Training: this technique uses visual imagery and awareness of the body to help transport the person into a deep state of relaxation. Another person is not needed, as the images can be imagined in the mind, but it can be helpful to have someone else create the relaxation space. Examples of this type of relaxation therapy include focusing on moving the stomach up and down during breathing, focusing on the warmth or heaviness of arms and legs, focusing on natural breathing, or calming the heartbeat.
Breathing: although this might not seem too therapeutic, it has been shown to assist those in a state of panic or worry to relax. When cortisol increases quickly, the heart rate will go up, making stress feel much worse. It is important to sit up straight, with legs crossed, and breathe slowly. Pay attention to the feeling of controlling the breath, holding for four seconds during the inhale and four seconds for the exhale. If breathing issues continue for more than 5 minutes, medical attention may need to be sought.
Meditation: some are very hesitant to try meditation to calm themselves from stress or worry. Although it can be uncomfortable to be alone with oneself for that long, it can be beneficial to bring self-awareness, perspective, or deepening of ideas and rationality. There can be guided meditation, from an external person (whether in person or on a CD), but it is just as easy to complete it alone. Simply lie down on the ground, extend arms to the sides, and begin focusing on one happy thought. That happy thought should lead to others. If the mind begins to wander down a stressful train of thought, cut it off immediately and start again. This can be super helpful right before bedtime, as most typically end up asleep!
All in all, relaxation therapy is super helpful for those who need to destress a little more often. Practice these different types regularly, as a prevention for future stress attacks, and the feeling of stress of being out of control will melt away. Contact Zen Body Therapy today for more information.