5-Minute Relaxation Techniques that Work

Stress is part and parcel of most people’s lives but only a few take the trouble to practice stress management techniques. Long-term stress can lead to a series of health problems including hypertension and heart diseases so it’s important to keep it under control.

Fortunately, you don’t need to use complicated methods to keep stress at bay or to diminish its effects. In fact, all you need is five minutes of your time.

You’re probably thinking, ‘is five minutes enough to overcome the stress I’m feeling?’ The answer is yes – as long as you practice these five-minute relaxation techniques regularly. Try them out for a month and notice how much calmer and more relaxed you feel!

#1 PICTURE YOURSELF RELAXEDmeditation

If you have an active imagination and visualisation comes easily to you, then this method is something that you will enjoy. All you need to do to relax is to imagine a peaceful scene in your mind. The aim of this exercise is to take your mind off stressful thoughts and worries and to replace them with a mental image that helps to create a calm feeling. You can close your eyes and choose to visualise someone you love, your beloved pet or a happy memory. Aim to create a realistic visual using colours , sounds, feelings and touch to enhance the effectiveness of its calming effects.

#2 BREATHE DEEPLY

When the going gets tough, put everything on hold and take a five-minute breather. Sit up straight, relax, loosen those tense shoulders and take a few deep breaths. Feel your breath entering your nostrils and slowly exhale as you allow your chest to naturally move up and down. Focus on this breathing technique and you will feel your stress levels decrease. Remember that it is important to control your breathing. For beginners, imagine being in an elevator at the tenth floor. As the elevator heads to the ground floor, slowly inhale and exhale as it stops at each floor. Breathing deeply increases oxygen supply to the brain, which is a powerfully effective way to help you feel refreshed and calm.

#3 SELF MASSAGE

If you don’t have the time to make an appointment with your masseur for an hour-long, full body massage, why not try this simple 5 minute self-massage technique? Start by gently tapping the skin all over your face. Then, place your index finger on the bridge of your nose and gently stroke downward. Next, place the index finger and middle finger of both hands on your temples. Close your eyes and relax. Now slowly move your fingers in small circles as you inhale and exhale. 

#4 RELAX THE CLASSICAL WAY

Experts say a little music can go a long way. When stress is weighing you down, soothe your soul with music. Keep in mind that it is better to choose a classical tune rather than hard rock or heavy metal. Listening to classical music passively releases endorphins, which are also known as happy hormones. Have a ‘de-stress’ playlist of your favourite classical music within reach so you can always turn to it when you need to.

#5 CHANGE YOUR MINDSET

The popular self-help book called The Secret describes the Law of Attraction where we attract what we think about. If this is true, then the more focused you are on stress, the more stressed you will be! So try your best to create a shift in your mindset when you are feeling tense. Instead of thinking about the burden on your shoulders, think about three things that bring you joy and be grateful for those. Often, just thinking about all the good things that you have around you, will help you keep things in perspective and make your problems insignificant.

FOOD TO RELEASE STRESS

INDULGE

AVOID

Papaya

Alcohol

Sunflower Seeds

Sugar

Red Bell Pepper

Beverages with caffeine

Clams

Fatty food

WARNING SIGNS OF ELEVATED STRESS LEVELS

Behavioural signs: Difficulty sleeping, isolation from others, change in eating habits, sudden outburst of crying, complaining more and inability to control your temper.

Emotional signs: Easily frustrated, reduced confidence, less interest in hobbies, restlessness, easily irritable, fear that everyone around you is doing fine except you and mood swings.

Intellectual signs: Difficulty recalling recent details, events or information, difficulty concentrating, poor judgment, loss of objectivity and feeling confused.

Physical signs: Migraine, headaches, body aches, sweaty palms, constipation, menstrual problems, constantly tired, heart palpitations and increased blood pressure.

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