Relaxation techniques for stress

When totally stressed out, depressed or lacking interest in activities, you can practice a variety of relaxation techniques.Relaxation techniques are methods that assist a person to achieve a calm and stress free existence.  Relaxation techniques eliminate stress,depression and motivate you to perform your day to day tasks even better. You can achieve miraculous results at home and work, by practicing these techniques daily. There are many DVDs,VCDs and online videos that demonstrate the benefits of using relaxation techniques.

Relaxation techniques for stress relief

Meditation

  • Meditation is a holistic way of mental exercise.
  • It benefits the body, the mind and the nervous system.
  • It eliminates stress and lowers high blood pressure  to a great extent.
  • It enables you to be energetic.
  • It gives relief from migraines, any tension related pains and insomnia.

How to meditate

  • Find a quiet place to meditate. Sit in any comfortable posture. Close your eyes.
  • Breath in and breath out, slowly and deeply.
  • Initially, your attention may start drifting away, thinking of many issues. Every time this happens, remind yourself of breathing process that you are engaged in.
  • Think of how nice it feels to breathe slowly.
  • You could turn on some soothing music that you love to hear. Listen to it while breathing slowly and steadily.
  • Practise this daily at least for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Do not get disappointed or dejected if of other issues crop in while meditating. Daily practice will help you to think about breathing and not anything else.
  • Make it a daily practise. You will learn to face and handle difficult situations in life with ease and in a stress free manner.

Video on How to meditate

Deep breathing exercises for stress

  • Deep breathing is done by abdomen expansion as against shallow breathing which shows chest expansion.
  • Lie down comfortably and let your body muscles be loose. Place your hands sideways.
  • Inhale deeply – Exhale deeply. Repeat this for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • You will feel relaxed and free of worries and tensions.
  • Do breathing exercises before meals but never immediately after meals.

Video on Deep Breathing for Relaxation by Stress management expert Jordan Freidman

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  • This is a method of alternating tensing and relaxing body muscles.This is used to treat stress related maladies.
  • Lie down comfortably in a quiet room. Starting with your feet, contract muscles of each part way above to your head and face, one at a time.
  • Then slowly release each tensed muscle one at a time from head to toe.
  • Repeat this three times.
  • This technique is very useful to treat insomnia and stress.

Visualisation techniques for relaxation

  • This involves closing your eyes and seeing a mental picture of a serene and beautiful place or a scene where you feel protected and relaxed. Maybe a beach, with your dear friends or sprawled on the side of a grassy hill.
  • Imagine a cool breeze blowing and you lazily making letters on the beach sand with your toes. Imagine you have dabbed some favorite perfume and think of the fragrance.
  • Do this for 10 minutes in a quiet place in a relaxed position. After you finish visualising, breathe slowly and open your eyes slowly.
  • You can also visualise yourself winning a competition. This can build confidence and make you more relaxed.

Video on Visualization Technique for relaxing and being stress free.

Practicing any or all these relaxation techniques will definitely help you be calm and at peace with yourself. Remember, a calm and peaceful mind will keep you free from stress and more focused.

Stress Management-Positive Thinking

What is Stress Management?
Stress is the physical and emotional tension caused by our response to several factors whether actual or imagined like:

  • Relationship demands
  • Long office hours/ workplace stress
  • Medical problems
  • Money (It is always less no matter how much you have)
  • Responsibilities
  • Kids : diet, homework, finding time for them etc.
  • Trying to be a perfectionist

Stress management focuses on handling stress the right way rather than attempting to eliminate it entirely. You come across stress on a daily basis, but dealing with it the right way will make life much more simpler. The first step towards effective stress management is positive thinking.

Dealing with Stress
Positive thinking tips –  Some factors are under our control and some are not. Here are a few tips to deal with factors that can be controlled.

  • Be realistic and easy on yourself before setting schedules and goals. Its easy to get disappointed if you are not able to stick to the schedule. Break big tasks into smaller tasks which can be easily achieved.
  • Concentrate on the task at hand. Stop thinking about how many tasks are yet to be done. Focus on the present.
  • Ensure a clutter free home. Assign a day in a week, preferably weekend mornings to sort, file and discard letters,publications,notices and the like. Keep a proper place assigned for books,toys,clothes etc. Ask kids to help out by keeping their rooms neat and tidy. Reward them with something reasonable like their favorite snacks, videos or spending time with them doing what they enjoy. A clutter free home saves unnecessary time spent on finding things, thereby reducing stress.
  • If you are working, use domestic help to do the initial meal preparation like cutting vegetables,fruits etc. and the basic things  so that you can prepare meals easily after coming home from work. If appointing domestic help is not feasible, chop vegetables and fruits for the next day in advance and refrigerate. Promote healthy eating habits. When you come back, you can save time on meal preparation. Saving time here enables you to retire early and have more hours of sleep.
  • Love yourself. Treat your body well. Eat well. Sleep well. Live well.
  • Listen to your favorite music. It helps a lot to calm frayed nerves.
  • Play with pets.
  • Read good books and motivational stories.
  • Make new friends, maintain contact with old friends. Friends listen and sometimes you just need somebody who listens.They also provide valuable advice when you need it.
  • Laugh often.Change your desktop wallpaper to something humorous. Watch comedy programmes on tv.
  • Help someone in need. You will get immense satisfaction after helping someone.
  • Practise relaxation techniques


For factors beyond our control here are a few tips:

  • You cannot control the behavior of others, but you can control your reaction to their behavior. If you are having issues with a difficult boss, in-laws, someone in your area, remember you have to be calm and confident in your approach to such people. Do not react to their comments and be an easy target for additional attacks. Practice this and you will be able to ignore such comments in due course. Once you start ignoring, such people will stop verbal attacks as it won’t have any effect on you.
  • You cannot control certain situations like natural disasters, rush hour traffic, unexpected guests, illnesses.They will take place when they have to.There is no point worrying about such situations. Instead when such thoughts trouble you, do something which motivates you, like reading motivational stories,listening to music,talking to someone who encourages you etc.
  • Stop worrying about the future.You must think of the future when it comes to savings. But live in present moment. Reduce the number of ‘What Ifs’ to zero.
  • Look at the bigger picture.You may not have as many cars as your neighbor, but then there are many in this world who don’t even have food to eat.
  • Avoid company of selfish and negative people. They transmit negativity.

A few self-motivational quotes for effective stress management

  • I cried my heart out because I did not have shoes till I saw a man without any feet.
  • People often say Motivation doesn’t last.Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
  • ‘Stressed’ spelt backwards is ‘Desserts’.
  • When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us. – Helen Keller

In addition, adequate physical exercise and yoga will help you in your stress management initiatives.

 

Depression

What is depression?
Depression is a mental state characterized by negativity, self-pity, sadness, lack of interest in day to day activities etc. Depression is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. Your relationships, lifestyle and coping skills matter a lot. Depression occurs in different forms. It may be mild, severe, seasonal, or in extreme cases, people may contemplate committing suicide, in which case, expert advice and treatment is a must.

Causes of depression

  • Divorce, relationship problems.
  • Loss of job.
  • Chronic or terminal illnesses.
  • Loss of a loved one.
  • Fear of losing a loved one to chronic or terminal illness.
  • In-laws/relatives with a negative attitude towards you.
  • Post-partum depression
  • Hormonal changes during PMS, miscarriage, pregnancy, menopause in women.
  • Financial problems
  • Issues like divorce, loss of a loved one, relationship problems

The people involved have to face a range of emotions: anger, sorrow, frustration, bitterness, insecurity about the future and a question “Why Me?” . Feeling of low self-esteem, betrayal and reluctance to mingle with people persist after a divorce, loss of job, loss of a loved one etc. This is when depression creeps in, as the same thoughts keep recurring in your mind.

How to cope:

  • First and foremost, release pent up emotions. Its absolutely okay to cry, scream, speak to someone about your feelings and emotions.
  • Take long walks outside, mingle with friends and like minded people who can empathize.
  • If possible, speak with someone who has faced a similar situation and has overcome depression.
  • Its okay to speak with a professional counselor. A counselor will not judge your character.
  • Join support groups. Many churches and social service NGOs offer support.
  • Finding help lets you move past your problems.
  • Taking initiative to find help is a sign of strength.

Financial problems
Debt, low income, being compelled to live frugally etc. trigger anxiety and depression. Turn in to friends, senior persons in the family or a financial counselor/advisor for proper money management tips. Decide your financial priorities. Worrying will not solve your problems. You can even chat with online financial counselors of repute.

Mother-in-law issues
A mother who brings up her son lovingly feels insecure when a new woman enters his life. She feels that she may no longer be important to her son. This may cause her to find faults in her daughter-in-law to degrade her in front of her son and relatives. Any relation needs time to grow strong. Being a daughter-in-law treat your mother-in-law well, not in a subdued manner, but confidently. Showing fear enables anybody to control you. Listen to her. In certain areas, she is more experienced than you. Acknowledge this fact and take tips from her for issues like planning your monthly budget, caring for babies etc. That way, she feels important and won’t try to subdue you by finding faults.

In case of persistent nagging, ignore comments by going away to some other room. Continually ignoring comments will put an end to nagging, as the person will feel that her motive is not being achieved. The most common mistake is to retaliate and shout back as the argument will never end. Don’t think, “why should I ignore and keep quiet” Do it as it is a sure shot remedy for nagging. At the same time, do not show any kind of disrespect in any way. Just IGNORE COMMENTS.
Treat her as you would like her to treat you.

Never complain to your husband. Show him that you care for your mother-in-law. Do not expect him to correct his mother as husbands prefer to stay out of this even if they don’t say so. Assure him, all will be well soon.

Share this problem with friends. If your own parents are not very sensitive and overly protective of you, you can share it with them, else they may worry and make matters worse.

Daughter-in-law issues
A daughter-in-law may have had wrong notions about her mother-in-law before marriage, possibly triggered by her own mother, out of concern, or by some friends/neighbors who have had bad experiences. So she misbehaves with her mother-in-law to show her authority and prevent any form of harassment in future.Being a mother-in-law, treat your daughter-in-law well and gain her confidence and trust. Donot force your views on her. Wait for some time before giving advice unless she asks for it. Treat her like you would like her to treat you.

Dos and Don’ts
This is a very delicate relationship and needs time to mature. A confident smile, listening attitude, taking care when ill and lots of patience will help in the long run.

Avoid arguments and counter accusations. Take deep breaths and count till 100.Do not stop till you have finished counting.That will calm you down for the moment. Then go to some other place in the house.

Do not hesitate to seek legal advice or help from a counselor if there are issues of physical harassment. Remember you have just one life and it is a sin to keep quiet and suffer for the whole of this life.

Terminal illness and depression
In terminally ill patients, depression is treated by a combination of psycho therapeutic intervention, cognitive approaches, and behavioral interventions. Friends and family play a great role in providing emotional support. Counseling helps these patients to realize coping strategies. Counselors can be family members, friends, social workers, clergy etc. The best person to speak about handling depression in terminally ill would be their physician, health care provider or psychiatrist.

Hormonal changes in women

  • Post partum depression : New moms face this kind of depression. Researchers feel this happens due to hormonal changes before and after pregnancy. New moms feel restless, anxious, fatigued and worthless. Some get nightmares and feel no one loves and understands them. Fights with husbands are commonplace. Some worry they will hurt themselves or their babies. The best person to confide in is your health care provider. Medicine and talk therapy can help you get well. Eat well, listen to your favorite music. Ask close friends to visit you, esp. those who have had babies.Postpartum depression takes some time to go away completely. So don’t feel irritated if your symptoms come and go. Just keep doing what is suggested above.
  • Premenstrual syndrome and Menopause: Research shows that low serotonin levels trigger mood swings and depression during during PMS and Menopause. For this, changes in diet, mild forms of exercise, relaxation techniques and breathing help combat depression.

Seeking professional and medical help
If depression is chronic, you are getting suicidal thoughts and physical problems like migraine, increased heart beats etc.
seek immediate help from a medical practitioner/psychiatrist. Appropriate treatment by good medical practitioners can get you out of depression completely. For depression treatment centers in Indian cities like Mumbai, visit justdial.com

General rule of the thumb
When you are depressed stay away from anything that will make you even more depressed like crime news,
negative people who gossip, junk food, carbonated drinks, tea, coffee etc.

You can spend your entire life blaming a host of things/people for your depression or you can choose to live and learn
from this experience and create a new beginning. The choice is in your hands.