The benefits of relaxation in mental health have a lot. Because relaxation help relieves some of the uncomfortable feelings associated with stress and anxiety, it makes us feel calmer and better equipped to manage everyday tasks. Allow us to think clearly. Improve our concentration and memory.
Benefits of Relaxation in Mental Health
If stress begins to overpower your ability to focus, it may be difficult to accomplish even simple tasks. Relaxation techniques can help give you something else to focus on, allowing your mind a chance to clear.
According to our digestive experts, relaxation appears to help those with GI disorders by lessening pain and helping to manage irritability.
Increases Blood Flow
Relaxation can help your arteries to widen slightly, allowing blood flow to increase. That also increases the amount of oxygen reaching your body tissues.
Lessons Anger and Frustration
Do your muscles sometimes tense up when you become angry or frustrated? Muscle tension is a sign of stress, and relaxation techniques can help you loosen those muscles and feel calmer.
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Lowers Blood Pressure
As your body reaches a state of relaxation, your breathing becomes slower and causes your body to slow down other functions. As your heart rate slows, your overall blood pressure lowers.
Lowers Risk of Stroke
According to a recent study, people who coped best with stressful events had a 24% lower risk of stroke. Relaxation techniques can be a beneficial coping mechanism.
Promotes Emotional Well-Being
Studies have linked chronic stress to killing brain cells. When the stress hormone — called cortisol — is elevated, there can also be a reduced amount of serotonin and dopamine present, and that has been linked to depression.
Relaxation techniques, especially when combined with consistent sleep schedules, limiting caffeine and alcohol, etc., can all contribute to getting a better night’s rest. By clearing your mind of stressors before trying to sleep, you may experience less restlessness.
Stress can impact your body’s ability to fight off common illnesses, such as colds. Inflammation can build quickly when you are stressed, which could alter your body’s immune response. With a weaker immune system and a higher level of inflammation, you’re more likely to feel under the weather.
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Slows Heart Rate
Stress can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and other heart issues. When your body relaxes, you’re protecting your heart by slowing your heart rate.
When to Practice Relaxation
If we notice signs of anxiety or stress, this can be a signal it’s time to take some time out. However, we don’t have to wait until these feelings arise. Relaxation is something we can incorporate into our daily routine to support our mental health and well-being.
Schedule time throughout the day to unwind. This can be one big break or a few small breaks. Use this relaxation time to do whatever helps you feel calm and satisfied.
Relaxation doesn’t have to be long. It can simply be taking a five-minute break away from whatever it is you are doing.
These are some of the simple things we can find joy in:
- Take time to read a book or magazine
- Have a nice warm bubble bath
- Cook a meal or do some baking
- Play with your pet if you have one
- Have a cup of herbal tea
- Listen to some music, dance, or sing along.
Controlled breathing is a simple yet powerful way to relax. Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it and breathe out through your mouth.
Controlled breathing helps reduce physical tension that can build up as a result of stress. We have included a short animated video below to illustrate this technique.
Visualization is a relaxation technique that involves imagining a calming scene in your mind. Whether it’s lying on an isolated beach or standing at the top of a mountain. Focus on what you can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste in your mind.
Visualization helps when our mind is overloaded with unhelpful thoughts.
Meditation helps us connect with the present moment, with ourselves, and with how we are feeling. This in turn supports relaxation. There are now several online resources and apps available to help us engage in daily meditation.
Active relaxation such as yoga, pilates, or some basic stretching can be beneficial for both mental and physical wellbeing.
Taking time out in nature can be therapeutic. Notice your surroundings and enjoy the sense of inner peace it can bring when we pay attention to the simple things.