Relaxing exercises are an important part of most behavioral therapies for treating mental health issues such as depression, PTSD, OCD, and SAD.
For instance, if you’re afraid of public speaking, you might practice deep breathing and muscle relaxations while visualizing yourself giving a speech.
Relaxing techniques are usually part of a broader treatment plan but these are some of the most effective ones for working on your own at home too.
They include diaphragmatic breathing (breathing deeply), progressive muscle relaxations, autogenic therapy, and guided meditation.
If you want to know more about how these exercises can help your mental health then follow the lines bellow.
Deep Breathe: Diaphragmatic Breath is the practice of expanding the diaphragm when inhaling, so that your stomach moves up and down, instead of your chest moving up and down.
When you’re anxious, you tend to breath shallowly, which causes your body to tense up.
Practicing deep breathing exercises helps you relax when stressed out. It’s also a good way to get into the habit of relaxing when you’re stressed out.
Have you ever wanted to escape to a tropical island, or hide in a log cabin? Well, if you don’t have the money or the space, then try using an audio guide instead. In this case, you can listen to the sounds of nature, or maybe just the sound of your own voice reading the instructions aloud. You’ll find that you enter into a relaxed state, and you may even fall asleep.
Practice this relaxation method for a few days before you need to use it. You might want to test it out at bedtime first.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
You’ve probably experienced the feeling of total relaxation after an intense workout.
Progressive muscular tensioning (PMT) involves alternating between tensing and relaxing different groups of muscles throughout your entire physical system.
You will be guided through this exercise by a therapist who will direct you to tense and relax specific muscles.
Imaginal exposure therapy can also be used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for PTSD.
CBT focuses on changing thoughts and behaviors, whereas imaginal exposure involves imagining yourself experiencing a situation without actually having to experience it.
Autogenic Training involves repeating a set of self-statements about various aspects of your physical appearance. It is believed to affect the functioning of your autonomic system, including your heart rate.
Research on Relaxation for Mental Health
A 2017 meta-analysis found that there was no significant differences between relaxing and cognitive and behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety disorders, panics, social anxieties, and specific phobias.
A 2018 systematic review with meta analyses explored whether relaxing music could be an effective treatment for patients suffering from anxiety disorders.
It found that relaxing music was effective for reducing negative feelings and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and phobia.
How to Put It to Practice
After choosing a specific type of relaxing method, be sure to stick to it regularly. If you notice yourself thinking that you don’t have enough free hours in the day, then maybe you need to make an effort to carve out some extra ones.
By incorporating a daily/weekly relaxing routine into your life, you may begin to enjoy the feelings of peace and tranquility that it gives you.
If your social anxiety has gotten out of control and you haven’t yet sought help from a mental heath professional, then this should be your first course of action.
But if you’re just looking for some extra support, the use of some of these techniques might be useful to help you manage your anxiety.
Make sure you set aside some regular times throughout the day to practice these relaxation exercises, so that they will eventually be second nature.
Eventually, you’ll notice that it gets easier to relax when in stressful or anxiety producing situations.