Most people try to relieve mental tensions by watching movies or eating a lot of food after a busy day at work. But doing these kinds of activities will not eliminate most of the damaging effects related to mental tensions. To get rid of mental tensions, you have to trigger your body’s relaxation response. Mental tensions can be effectively reduced by doing relaxation exercises such as deep breathing techniques, muscle relaxation, rhythmic exercises and visualization.
Relaxation Exercises To Relieve Mental Tensions
Breathing Exercises For Relaxation
It is natural for us to breathe but we can control our breathing to help relieve mental tensions. This breathing technique consists of three relaxation exercises which include stimulated breathing, relaxed breathing and counted breathing.
The stimulated breathing technique helps to increase your energy and improve your alertness. First, you have to inhale and exhale through your nose as quickly as you can. You should breathe in and breathe out in the shortest possible way. Make sure that your breathing produces a noise. This breathing exercise will enable your diaphragm to have a quick movement. Once you are done with stimulated breathing, you will feel refreshed.
Here is a great stimulated breathing video by Dr. Weil.
You can do the relaxed breathing exercise by sitting straight and placing your tongue behind the upper part of your teeth. Exhale through your mouth by making a swish sound. After that, close your mouth and inhale silently through your nose. Take a deep breath and try to hold it for seven seconds. Exhale through your mouth and repeat the entire cycle for three times. The relaxed breathing exercise will help you get to sleep and it relieves mental tensions effectively.
Relaxed breathing video by Kati Morton.
Counted breathing is the last part of the three relaxation exercises in deep breathing. You can do the counted breathing by sitting straight in a comfortable position. Take several deep breaths and then close your eyes. Now, try to breathe slowly and quietly for several minutes. You have to count the number each time you exhale. Take a rest after you reach 20 consecutive repetitions.
Breath counting video by Dr. Weil.
People who experience mental tension on a regular basis are having difficulty in relaxing their mind and body. Muscle relaxation is one of the most effective relaxation exercises that could help you in reducing mental tensions. Muscle relaxation can help relax specific muscles in many parts of the body like your shoulder and neck. When the muscles are relaxed, the tension from your mind and body will also be removed. Moreover, it can enhance your sleep and prevent you from having problems like headaches and stomach-aches.
The first step is to find a quiet place to do the exercise. Wear comfortable clothing and take off your shoes. Sit comfortably on a chair and close your eyes. Take several deep breaths before you start the exercise.
Relaxing the muscles
Apply muscle tension to a particular part of your body by squeezing the muscles for five seconds. For example, you can squeeze the muscles in your left hand by making a tight fist.
The next step is to exhale and quickly relax the tensed muscles. After that, your muscles will become loose and you will feel the tension slowly disappearing. Rest for fifteen seconds and continue applying tension on other muscle groups in your body.
There are muscle groups in every part of your body and these relaxation exercises will help in removing the tension.
- Tighten your forehead by raising your eyebrows
- Apply tension to your eyelids by closing it tightly
- Open your mouth wide to stretch your jaw
- Apply tension to your neck and shoulder by raising your shoulders until it touches your ears
- Clench your fist
- Clench your fist and move your forearm close to your shoulder to tighten your biceps
- Tighten your chest by taking a deep breath
- Apply tension to your stomach by holding it in
- Tighten your buttocks by pulling them together
- Apply tension by squeezing the muscles in your thigh
- Grab your feet and pull it towards you to tighten the muscles in your lower leg
- Look at your foot and try to bend your toes downward
Progressive muscle relaxation video by Emory University.
Visualization is a form of meditation and it is one of the easiest types of relaxation exercises. In visualization, you can use all of your senses and imagination. You have to imagine a peaceful place where you can let go of all your tension. You are free to choose any place that is relaxing to you such as a forest, a tropical beach or your favorite spot when you were a kid. You have to do the visualization exercise in a quiet room while listening to a relaxing music.
To start the visualization, you have to decide whether to sit on a chair or stand because you might fall asleep if you lay down doing the exercise for the first time. Let all your worries go away and close your eyes. Try to imagine your peaceful place vividly. You can also use a background image to enhance your experience.
When you are thinking about a certain place, you have to imagine how you would walk around that place and notice the color of things in the scenery. For example, if you are thinking about a garden, then you have to smell the flowers and hear the bees. Feel the warm rays of the sun on your skin and notice the color of the leaves around the plants.
Visualization video by Jonathan Parker.
Rhythmic exercises such as jogging, cycling, dancing and swimming are effective in clearing mental tensions. These relaxation exercises will focus on your body movements to relieve your mind and body. It is important that you focus your attention to what your body is feeling right at the moment.
Notice how you breathe and the way your body moves to complement a particular rhythmic exercise. If your mind starts to wander about other things, try to regain attention on your body’s movement and breathing. For example, try to focus on how your foot touches the ground when you are jogging.
Photo: Mitchell Joyce