Five-Step Essential Relaxation Strategy

Knowing the best ways to relax encourages taking the time to allow for your body to relax. This serves many physical and mental health benefits. It is far too easy to get caught up in the business and fast pace of life; sometimes, days can go by while you have yet to take a second to stop and assess you emotional well-being. Our bodies are not built to survive under stress for long periods of time without a break; our bodies need time to heal and regenerate from the strain that has already been put on it from daily frustrations and tension. You cannot ignore your emotions, especially if they are at a point where you have lost control of them.

Relaxing is a challenge, especially if you are a tech savvy person. It’s hard to put our phones down or turn the television off – basically we have included those activities in the category of “restful and relaxing”. Unfortunately, most people do not relax, take the time to calm down; similarly, most don’t plan or prepare to calm down during times likely to be strenuous or stressful. Sadly, most people are unaware that they are wearing out their bodies – they have never been taught to pay attention to the symptoms.

Dr. Will Meek, a counseling psychologist in Vancouver, Washington, and the author of Note to Self, lists five steps that will bring you relaxation and get your body and mind back to balanced state. Meek states that once understanding physiology and the effects of stress, you are likely to pay close attention to triggers and what or who could potentially trigger you. When you see yourself feeling intense negative emotions such as stress, follow these five steps:

Step 1: Orienting – look around the room. Name things in your head as you are looking around. This helps you take step away from your ties with whatever emotion you were first feeling. Allow for that emotion not to control you while you think clearly.

Step 2: Grounding – Pay attention to your senses: what do you smell, are you touching anything right now, or what the environment feels like overall? Be aware of your present moment and settlings.

Step 3: Slowing – Be careful and give yourself time with this part because it may bring you back to your original frustration. Dr. Meek explains that you have to “sit comfortably in a chair with your feet on the floor, and close your eyes. Once you are settled and notice your breathing, inhale through your nose for a count of 4, hold it for a count of 7, exhale through your mouth for a count of 8, and repeat.”

Step 4: Coaching – Be your own cheerleader. Tell yourself it will be OK and you will be just time.

Step 5: Emerging – During this step you bring yourself back into the world. Except this time you are not behaving based on an intense emotion; you will be acting from knowledge and smarts.

Please keep in mind: self-care goes hand-in-hand with relaxation and should be on everyone’s “to-do” list every week. Of course, we always have other important things to do, but when it will be time to focus on yourself and your own personal health and well-being?

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