The Benefits of Relaxation
It is common knowledge that relaxation is beneficial, but most people are either not aware of the full extent of its benefits or know how to practice it in a more formal, intentional way. Here are some of the positive effects that relaxation offers:
It reduces your overall experience of stress
While stress in small amounts is okay, it can wreak havoc on your mind and body when it becomes chronic or prolonged . If you constantly feel under pressure, you start reacting rather than being able to evaluate and plan a response to the stressors. Stressed people often develop tunnel vision, meaning they see only limited perspectives and find it hard to generate various solutions to problems. Relaxation reduces vulnerability to stress and can revert many of the negative effects generated by the stress response.
Taking the time to perform a relaxing routine on a regular basis can significantly improve the quality of your sleep.
Your anxiety will reduce
If you struggle with racing, obsessive or intrusive thoughts, relaxation techniques can help you get anxiety under control. While relaxation can be a set of breathing or meditative techniques, it can also be cognitive processes that allow you to deal with persistent worry.
It helps you reduce unhelpful behaviours
Self-destructive behaviors such as alcohol consumption, smoking, over-eating or self-harm, typically increase during long-term stress in attempts to improve mood and deal with negative circumstances. Relaxation offers a more effective and beneficial way to self-soothe and self-care.
Memory and concentration improve
Stress modifies both short- and long-term memory through multiple brain areas. You my have already noticed that incidents of forgetting increase even during mild short-term stress. Relaxation can do wonders for your memory and concentration.
You can reduce your experience of pain
Psychological factors, such as a negative outlook on life or persistent anxiety affect the perception of pain. Relaxation techniques can help you cope better with chronic pain or when recovering after medicl interventions.
The Practice of Relaxation
Many stress buffers such as social support, positive coping, optimism, and exercise decrease the effects of stress. People can relax in many ways and for many reasons. Typical relaxation activities are going for a walk, listening to music, reading a book, or even watching a favourite TV show.
Relaxation techniques are a more formal skill and require some degree of mastery. Like any other skill, relaxation requires practice but with time, you will notice yourself becoming better at it and reaping the rewards. There are many different types of relaxation and people tend to have a preference for certain ones they find most useful to them.
Generally, practicing relaxation even for 10-15 minutes a day on a regular basis can be extremely beneficial. In my sessions I often teach clients some basic relaxation techniques early on because they find them useful when dealing with a range of issues including anxiety, depression, panic, relationship conflicts, or social situations.
Relaxation techniques I employ in session:
- Breathing exercises
- Mindfulness meditation
- Auto-genic exercises
- Progressive muscle relaxation
If you think you may benefit from counselling with me, contact me to find out more or arrange an appointment.
Servicing the areas of Malvern, Armadale, Prahran, Glen Iris, Caulfield North and surrounding suburbs.