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Relaxation Techniques

A Relaxation technique (also known as Relaxation training) is any method, process, procedure, or activity that helps a person to relax; to attain a state of increased calmness; or otherwise reduce levels of anxiety, stress or tension.

Relaxation techniques often can help people with sleep problems get a good night's sleep. Several relaxation techniques are listed below; click on any of the links to learn more.

Formal and Passive relaxation exercises
Certain relaxation techniques known as "formal and passive relaxation exercises" are generally performed while sitting or lying quietly, with minimal movement and involve "a degree of withdrawal". These include Autogenic training, Biofeedback, Deep breathing, Meditation, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Pranayama, and Visualization.

Relaxing Activity
Movement-based relaxation methods incorporate Exercise such as walking, gardening, yoga, Tai chi, Qigong, and more. Some forms of bodywork are helpful in promoting a state of increased relaxation. Examples include massage, acupuncture, the Feldenkrais method and Reflexology. Engaging in a relaxing activity such as reading, meditation, yoga, or listening to music, before going to bed, can help you to get a good night sleep. Perform this activity in a dimly lit, stress-free environment. Try to schedule your activity to take place at the same time every day. A regular routine helps to promote quality sleep.

Some relaxation methods can also be used during other activities, for example, Autosuggestion and Prayer. At least one study has suggested that listening to certain types of music, particularly New Age music and classical music, can increase feelings associated with relaxation, such as peacefulness and a sense of ease.

Examples of Common Relaxation Techniques

5 minutes of breathing exercises before bedtime will help reduce stress. Take slow, deep breaths, through your nose and deep into your abdomen (rather than your chest). If you are doing this correctly your belly will expand and contract with each breath.

  1. Begin to inhale slowly through your nose if possible. Fill the lower part of your chest first, then the middle and top part of your chest and lungs. Be sure to do this slowly, over 8?10 seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for a second or two.
  3. Then quietly and easily relax and let the air out.
  4. Wait a few seconds and repeat this cycle.
  5. You can continue this breathing technique for as long as you like until you fall asleep.
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