Anyone can learn to relax. Choosing a method that fits the way you are can be as decisive as consistency. We give you some keys.
To marse things more calmly, less haste, more time to relax. There are intentions that often pose when facing stressful usual routine. But how do you really relax? It is one thing to say it and another to do it and keep it. Regularly experiencing relaxation regulates the relationship between the sympathetic (which controls physiological processes related to action) and the parasympathetic (responsible for relaxation and recovery) nervous systems. Stress and its psychosomatic consequences appear when this delicate gear becomes unbalanced.
Different relaxation methods especially help the parasympathetic system. Once the technique is chosen, it is necessary to insist on the practice until it becomes a pleasant habit. Then it will be easy to change your attitude when stress threatens to take over. For most people, 15 minutes of relaxation a day is enough to notice its positive effects.
There are a variety of techniques, and one wonders if they are all helpful. The answer is that the technique most likely to be successful is the one that best suits your personality.
JUST RELAX! WHY DON’T RELAXATION TECHNIQUES WORK FOR YOU?
It is an order that almost floats in the environment. It is dictated by our conscience and the people around us. It is found on the pages of magazines and in books, which advise relaxing infusions and baths, chill out music, massages and all kinds of tricks to avoid falling into the circle of stress and anxiety.
However, the abundance of solutions does not prevent complaints from remaining unanimous: “I’m stressed,” “I don’t know how to relax,” or “I’ve tried it, but it doesn’t work.” Several reasons explain the failure of relaxation techniques.
Although we all know that relaxation is important for body and mental health, we are not always willing to break with the routines that feed stress. A simple technique performed for a few minutes cannot be expected to fix what has deteriorated during the day.
Practicing relaxation seriously involves making decisions to change habits, request help, or delegate responsibilities. The changes can be more or less important: from better organizing the agenda to considering whether to change work or address.
But beyond logistics, attitude is the hardest thing to change. Sometimes relaxed life is associated with weakness, conformity, lack of ambition.
There is fear of missing “trains” that others take, often without first thinking about whether they lead anywhere you really want to go. It is exhausted, but instead of stopping it accelerates. It’s the stress trap. Many people seek new challenges without seriously considering what their life priorities are.
Another cause of anxiety can be the emotional conflicts that are revealed through personal relationships and that confront the person with their frustrations or their particular vision of the world.
You can go to yoga classes, listen to new age music, do breathing exercises and end up more tense than at the beginning, because you have the feeling that what you have chosen does not match yourself.
The relaxation technique is experienced as something strange, and it is logical, because you have to put it to the test to know if it is adequate. You need to know each other.
Personal characteristics can guide which technique will work best. But what characteristics are we talking about?
SENSORY TYPES: THREE DIFFERENT WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE WORLD
The experts in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) ensure that people can be grouped according to what your dominant tool of perception and communication. Thus, there are people who are more visual, more auditory or more kinesthetic (if they perceive through bodily sensations).
This information is essential to discover what is the easiest way to relax for each person. NLP experts have found that successful learning – for children and adults as well – depends on the appropriate communication channel being chosen. If it suits the person, the information is received with greater comfort and detail.
It can be easily checked by asking several friends separately: “What does the word pink suggest to you?”
- Some will instantly see how a characteristic flower with red petals is drawn in their imagination. Their gaze will be lost over our heads as they describe it to us in detail.
- Others will refer to its delicate fragrance or its silky touch.
- A third group may come to mind a song or a poem in which the rose appears as the protagonist.
Although it may not seem like it, these reactions can contribute to knowing the most useful way to relax, since this depends on how we perceive the world around us. Recognizing which type you belong to in relation to perception and communication helps to choose an appropriate relaxation method.
- If a person basically trusts their eyes, they should choose a method that takes this channel into account, such as visualizations.
- The people who are particularly sensitive to sounds find more appropriate in that it uses, for example, to their technical music.
- While the kinesthetic person, who relates to the environment through the whole body, will appreciate psychophysical disciplines such as yoga or tai chi.
SENSORY TYPES TEST: VISUAL, AUDITORY OR KINESTHETIC?
To find out which sensory type it belongs to, this test can be done. It should be done with the help of another person who will enunciate the concepts aloud. Whoever responds must do so spontaneously, without much thought.
Before each word spoken, the person who answers must think about what it evokes and decide if it provokes a mental image (“I see”), suggests something sound (“I hear”) or a kinesthetic behavior: something that can be felt through the body, such as a caress or perceptions related to movement (“I feel”).
For example, before the word “cat”, the person who imagines the appearance of a cute puppy must answer “I see”. The one who instantly “hears” a purr or meow will say “I hear. ” On the other hand, whoever imagines caressing the animal or feeling its body heat will answer “I feel”.
These are the words:
- Hot water bottle
- Hearth fire
- Ice Cube
- Chalk on the blackboard
- Autumn leaves
To find out which sensory type the respondent belongs to, the responses in each category are added and it is verified in which the majority occurs. In this way, it can be determined whether the visual, auditory or kinesthetic channels predominate.
If the answers are divided equally into two categories (7, 7 and 4, for example), the advice for the two typologies can be taken into account. You can also reflect on whether they really fit equally with your own way of relating to things or whether one of the two prevails.
THE AUDITORY TYPE: SELF-INSTRUCTION
- They tend to communicate with others through words and they know how to listen.
- They tend to perfectly remember conversations they have had.
- In their way of speaking, they use phrases such as: “what you are telling me sounds strange to me “.
- They are music lovers and do not miss the opportunity to recommend their favorite songs.
Autogenic training, a method developed by Berlin psychiatrist Johannes H. Schultz in the 1930s, is one of the best relaxation methods for hearing people.
With auto suggestive formulas such as: “I breathe deeply and calmly” or “my right arm begins to weigh”, the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system is favored, which controls rest, recovery and well-being.
This method is used with great success in people with hypertension and in the recovery of myocardial infarction.
One of its outstanding characteristics is that after learning it, it is very easy and fast to enter a state of deep relaxation in almost any situation.
The training basic autogenous learn in a few weeks. There are two degrees – basic and superior – of mastery of the technique. The basic is enough to relax deeply.
- To begin the training, the beginner must adopt a comfortable posture that allows all the muscles to relax completely.
- Then concentration exercises are performed that work the sensations of weight and heat in the arms, legs, abdomen and head, the perception of the heartbeat and the respiratory movements.
- When experience is gained, suggestive formulas can be adapted to personal situations. For example, statements such as: “under stress I keep calm and collected” can be included in the session. These orders to oneself remain anchored in the subconscious and continue to take effect after the exercise is finished.
The Caycediana sofrología is another interesting method for hearing people. It is inspired on the one hand by oriental techniques such as yoga and Buddhism, and on the other by Western phenomenology, which seeks pure experience, without prejudice.
The state of consciousness that is induced through sophrology is different from hypnosis or suggestion and can be defined as a lucid, calm and positive experience. Under the direction of a sophrologist, the student learns dynamic relaxation techniques, organized in degrees, from the bodily level to that of consciousness and existential.
You also learn short techniques that help you positively experience past, present, and future experiences. Sophrology is of particular interest to people who must control their stress in order to act accurately and effectively in areas such as sports, education or work.
THE KINESTHETIC TYPE: ACTION FOR RELAXATION
- They are usually very empathetic, that is, they enjoy the ability to put themselves in the shoes of others.
- They also recognize and value their own emotions. That is why in their memory memories are associated with the emotions they experienced.
- They often need to touch their interlocutor or at least maintain constant contact through their gaze.
- In his language, phrases that imply bodily actions are frequent, such as: “you left me frozen” or “you have to grab the bull by the horns.”
- They tend to like physical activities in general, express themselves gesturally and also have a great ability to capture and interpret the body language of others.
The progressive muscle relaxation, developed by Edmund Jakobson, is perhaps the best method of relaxation for kinesthetic type.
In this type of relaxation, different muscle groups in the hands, shoulders, arms, legs and feet are usually tensed for a few seconds. After tensing each of these areas for a few seconds, they consciously loosen.
It is a very effective technique on a day-to-day basis because it helps to recognize the muscular tension that takes hold of stressed people. In any situation, reducing this tension immediately is very useful to prevent anxiety from gaining ground.
Good practice requires learning not to hold your breath or clench your teeth or eyes. You have to breathe slowly and evenly, concentrating only on the contrast between the sensations of tension and relaxation that come from the muscles. Each tension should last about 10 seconds and each relaxation another 10-15 seconds.
In addition to progressive relaxation, kinesthetists also tend to benefit from methods such as tai chi and yoga. Both disciplines cultivate the recognition of the sensations that come from the body and progress is gained by gaining physical and mental self-control.
- The taichí, the famous “Chinese gymnastics” harmonious and slow movements, helps improve the sense of balance and coordination, as well as promoting the vital energy circulates throughout the body. It is indicated for people capable of practicing almost daily and learning choreographies that are getting complicated.
- The chikung, related to it, is more static and equally useful.
- The yoga enhances physical health and harmonious connection between the mind and body. It is suitable for people who are not afraid to explore their body, as many postures cause stretching that they are not used to.
THE VISUAL TYPE: RELAXATION WITH PICTURES
- They use images as the main means of relating to the environment.
- They fully identify with the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
- Some have an unprecedented ability to remember even the smallest detail of a situation far away in time. They can, for example, remember the color of the shirt they wore on a certain day ten years ago.
- Since their mind is a kind of movie theater, they tend to get easily distracted by their own movies. The visual child seems to be continually dreaming.
- As for the language, he uses phrases such as: “I already see it”, “I imagine it” or “that would have to be looked at with a magnifying glass”.
- It is easier for them to read in another language than to speak or understand it by hearing it.
- Although it is generally said that men tend to be very visual, this typology is quite common among women.
Visualization is the best relaxation method for visual people. The mental journey can be through the body itself or to a relaxing place outside. Visualizations can be as simple or elaborate as you like. For example, it may be enough to imagine a beautiful candle burning with a warm and relaxing flame.
The important thing in these inner visual journeys is to immerse oneself in the image without thinking with words about them, but this is not difficult for the visual, who can recreate in his mind a very complex scene in detail.
An experienced viewer can create a Caribbean Island to relax in, with perfectly located palm trees, and with sand, sea and sky in their favorite colors. Whenever you need to relax, you can close your eyes and return to your perfect island.
The Nidra Yoga or “yoga sleep” is also appropriate for visual person. The goal of this technique is to induce deep relaxation as well as a meditative state of awareness.
In a typical session, the teacher uses a variety of techniques, including affirmations, counting breaths, attention to sensations coming from the body, and visualizations of images coming from the subconscious that we normally only see in dreams.
The practitioner begins by calming the mind, disconnects from the sensations that come from the outside and from himself and through the meditative attitude reaches a state of deep relaxation while the consciousness is situated between waking and sleeping, experiencing a feeling of harmony and subtle euphoria.
Regular practice frees you from obsessive thoughts and self-imposed limitations. It is not advisable to try it when you are tired, because you run the risk of falling asleep.
6 HELPS FOR A MORE RELAXED LIFE, WHATEVER YOU ARE
Some habits promote relaxation in all three sensory types and can be crucial while learning a particular technique. Until your chosen relaxation technique is mastered and it takes only 5-10 minutes a day, some time passes.
These tips help reduce stress and can be very helpful in the first few weeks.
- Movement. Sports practices such as jogging, brisk walking or cycling help to quickly lower the stress level, although it must not be forgotten that conscious relaxation stimulates the body’s self-regeneration mechanisms more effectively.
- Medicinal plants. Valerian and damiana in combination with eleutherococcus are effective. In addition to relaxing, it is convenient to improve adaptation to stressful situations.
- Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency exacerbates the effects of stress on the body. It is found in vegetables, nuts, whole grains and legumes. As a supplement it can be taken in the form of magnesium oxide or magnesium carbonate (about 300 mg daily).
- Food. Those that contain slow-absorbing carbohydrates, such as whole grains and legumes, help stabilize your mood. On the other hand, certain foods promote relaxation, such as lettuce and banana.
- Digitopuncture. Faced with acute stress, the right thumb can be placed in the soft gap between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand. The point is pressed for ten seconds, it is released for two seconds and it is pressed again, maintaining this rhythm for one minute.