Stress No More: Relaxation Techniques for Everyday Use

Dec 1, 2023
Amelia Brightmore
Stress No More: Relaxation Techniques for Everyday Use

Understanding The Art Of Relaxation

Isn’t it just perplexing how cool as cucumbers some people can stay amidst the stormiest of situations, while some of us run around like headless chooks when we so much as lose a key? Stress is, unfortunately, an unavoidable part of life, but the way we manage stress can vastly alter the quality of our lives. If you thought that managing stress is all about pouring yourself a glass of chardonnay each evening (which, by the way, is not entirely a bad idea!), here’s an eye-opener.

Relaxation is an art – in a world that runs on caffeine and constant connections, takes regular vacations to la-la land. In this piece, I'm going to let you in on how to cohabitate peacefully with stress without developing a pimple forest in the process. So keep your notepads ready (or just bookmark this page), and let's journey into peaceful territories together.

Now, Breathe

The importance of breathing is no new news, but we hugely underestimate what this seemingly simple task can do for our stress levels. Breathing is basically a mini-massage for your nervous system, if done rightly. Deep, slow, rhythmic breathing, or abdominal breathing, can help reduce stress and anxiety, slow down heart rate and lower blood pressure.

In Aboriginal culture, breathing exercises like ‘Dadirri’ are deemed essential. This deep listening and quiet, still awareness practice allows one to reflect in silence, absorb the beauty of nature and soothes the being. Such practices and mindfulness exercises such as mindful breathing give us pause in our space of constant doing, and usher us into a space of being. So, next time you find your stress trigger readying to shoot, retreat into the sanctuary of your breath, maybe with sounds of a didgeridoo gently swimming around you in the background!

Ditch The ‘Tech’ For A Bit

We are all engaged in continuous online hustling- Sharing, updating, commenting, liking, tweeting, or snapping whatever it is we are doing or not doing. As much as technology has gifted us with incredible connections, it has also turned us into ‘tech-zombies’. Ask yourself, when was the last time you truly disconnected from the online hullabaloo to connect with the silence within?

Why not try a ‘Digital Detox’? It’s like giving your mind a refreshing holiday. This relaxation technique involves scheduling regular periods where you turn off your devices (yes, all of them!). The goal is not about banishing screen usage completely but about creating a healthy balance that works for you. Allow for tech-free zones at home – No phone zones like dining table, bedroom or backyard. Think of it like a pot of chamomile tea for your tech-cluttered brain. I promise you; the world won’t collapse if you don’t answer that email in the next three seconds!

You Rather Free That Knot Than Shoot It

Physical relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation and yoga hold strong credit for coping with stress. Speaking from personal experience, that tension headache that pop-ups during a pumpin deadline isn’t always fought best with a paracetamol. It might be your body's quirky way of saying it needs a break.

Yoga, for example, is not just about bending into pretzel-like positions, contrary to the breathtakingly beautiful Instagram interpretations. This accumulated wisdom of ages is a mind-body approach that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. This harmonizing practice can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and even improve symptoms of chronic conditions like heart disease and arthritis. And guess what, Australia is one of the top three nations in the world with most yoga practitioners (Take that, stress!).

Plug Into Nature

Taking a moment to step outside and appreciate the greenery, the whispering winds, the chirping birds, and the rustling leaves can do wonders to your stress levels – a quintessence of Aussie lifestyle! Research has shown that spending time in nature can improve mental health, decrease stress and increase relaxation. Even short periods of time in natural settings can promote physical and mental wellbeing.

Did you know that ‘forest bathing’ or spending quiet time in the woods, an art perfected by the Japanese, can lower stress hormones? It’s hard kit and caboodle if you are city-locked. But no worries, you can still bring nature to your home by growing mini indoor gardens, and adding some indoor plants to your home décor. Even just staring at pictures of nature can reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Laughter Is The Best Relaxation

You’ve heard this a zillion times – that laughter is the best medicine. But remember, it’s also a great relaxation technique. Laughter triggers healthy physical changes in the body, enhancing your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulating your heart, lungs, and muscles. It even activates and then cools off your stress response, leaving you feeling relaxed.

So, indulge in a funny movie, call that friend who always cracks you up, share a good joke or a funny incident. I scratched my head for an epic fail moment of mine to share with you here so that we can laugh together! Once, while planning to bake a chocolate cake for a friend's birthday, I confusingly read 'tablespoon' as 'teaspoon' in the recipe and the whole batch turned out to be a Choco-gooey-disaster. But hey, we ended up laughing our hearts out! So, remember sometimes even a failed chocolate cake can taste amazingly comforting!

There you have it—a feast of stress-busting techniques that taste better than your favourite biryani and work better than a magic potion. Remember, stress is a part of life and the best way to manage it is by embracing and addressing it in a healthy way!