EMBRACING CALMNESS
Stress Management Oct 09, 2023

Having discussed the causes, symptoms, and types of stress, let us discover a myriad of stress management techniques that are scientifically proven to relax your mind and body. Each method mentioned below is grounded in Evidence-Based Practices:

Relaxation Techniques

As the name suggests, Relaxation techniques are essential for managing stress and promoting an individual’s well-being. There are further effective methods under                relaxation techniques, such as

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation:

    Relieving muscular tension manifested by anxiety entails methodically tensing and relaxing various muscle groups. To practice JPMR or Jacobson’s Progressive Muscle Relaxation, go to a quiet place, concentrate on each muscle group, tighten it for 5–10 seconds, and then relax, feeling the tension dissolve.

  • Deep breathing exercises:

    Start by inhaling gently through your nose to perform a deep breathing exercise. As you take a deep breath, your lungs fill with air and expand your abdomen. After briefly holding your breath, softly let it out through your mouth. In the beginning, start with a lesser number of cycles with briefer holdings and increase gradually.

  • Guided meditation:

    A powerful stress-relief technique, guided imagery involves imagining peaceful scenes or scenarios to achieve relaxation. To practice, choose a quiet spot, close your eyes, and imagine yourself in a peaceful place, paying attention to details such as colors and noises. Visualize the details of the area and what effect it can have on your five senses. Breathe deeply, immerse in the mental image, and feel the stress melt away.

  • Body scan Meditation:

    Body scan is a mindfulness technique that promotes relaxation and reduces stress. To perform a body scan, lie down or sit comfortably in a quiet space. Close your eyes and focus on different body parts, from your toes to your head. Pay heed to any sensations, tension, or discomfort, and breathe into those areas, allowing them to relax. This practice enhances self-awareness and mindfulness, promoting overall well-being and mental calmness.

These methods are scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, decrease muscle tension, reduce anxiety, enhance relaxation responses, and promote a calmer mind. 

1. Breathing Techniques

Deep breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing, can reduce stress dramatically. In Diaphragmatic breathing, you can activate the body’s relaxation response in three steps: gently inhaling through the nose, allowing the abdomen to expand, and then exhaling through pursed lips. Deep breathing enhances oxygen delivery to the brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, lowering cortisol levels and promoting relaxation.

2. Mindfulness-Based Techniques

Mindfulness techniques focus on the present moment and accept it without judgment. Practices like mindfulness meditation and mindful breathing cultivate awareness and promote emotional regulation. Studies have shown that mindfulness reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, improves attention and concentration, and enhances overall psychological well-being.

3. Yoga

Yoga is a combination of breathing exercises, meditation, and physical postures that help to foster stress relief, resulting in relaxation. The perks of these postures are that they promote strength, flexibility, balance, and calm the mind. Regular yoga practice has been scientifically proven to decrease cortisol levels – a hormone associated with stress. This decrease in cortisol levels leads to better emotional, mental, and physical well-being and reduces anxiety.

4. Tai chi

Tai chi is a very gentle exercise. It involves slow movements and deep breathing. Similar to yoga, it improves balance, flexibility, and focus. Like Yoga, research has shown that Tai chi reduces stress and anxiety and promotes relaxation. Further, it also increases the production of endorphins – a chemical the body produces to enhance mood and well-being.

5. Aromatherapy

In this form of therapy, essential oils are used significantly. These essential oils promote psychophysical healing. The primary scents are Lavender and Chamomile, which have calming effects on individuals. These scents, when inhaled, stimulate the olfactory system and influence the brain. This results in reducing stress and anxiety. To enhance the effects of the relaxation response, sometimes massages can be combined with aromatherapy. The combined benefits of touch and scent are aromatherapy massages.

6. Exercise

Endorphins, your body’s inherent stress relievers, are increased by regular physical activity. Exercise lowers stress hormones and increases sleep quality, essential stress management aspects. Physical activity, whether brisk walking, jogging, or dancing, improves your overall well-being and minimizes the impact of stress on your body and mind.

7. Meditation

Deep relaxation and a calm mind are fostered by several types of meditation, including loving-kindness and mindfulness meditation. Regular meditation can thicken the gray matter in the brain, improving learning, memory, and self-awareness. Meditation aids in regulating emotional responses, notably lowering stress levels by decreasing activity in the brain’s amygdala, which is the center for stress, and increasing activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for attention.

8. Art Therapy & Music Therapy

Expression of emotions and stress can be reduced through art and music therapy. The brain’s reward system is stimulated when we engage in art activities or listen to music, which releases dopamine, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. A unique way to relieve stress is through art therapy, which promotes self-discovery and emotional healing, and music therapy, which helps regulate emotions and improve mood. Art therapy can be especially beneficial for people who cannot express their feelings through words. Music therapy can also be effective at calming anxiety and improving focus. Both types of treatment are beneficial for people of all ages.

 

9. Massage therapy

Muscles and tissues are worked on during massage treatment, which helps people unwind and reduce stress. During massage, Serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters linked to pleasure and relaxation, are released by touch. It also lowers cortisol levels and improves immunological response in the body. Regularly, massage therapy sessions help reduce stress by reducing muscle tension, enhancing sleep quality, and promoting a general sense of well-being.

Conclusion
This article has explored a wide range of strategies for managing stress supported by research. Every relaxation technique, including progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises, as well as mindfulness techniques like body scan and guided meditation, are supported by scientific research and have been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve general well-being. While aromatherapy, exercise, and meditation encourage relaxation and emotional control, yoga and tai chi maintain physical and mental balance. Music therapy and art therapy offer unique opportunities for emotional healing and self-expression. Massage treatment helps reduce stress and muscular relaxation by activating the brain’s pleasure centers. These routines promote emotional stability, resilience, and a deep sense of calm, eventually enhancing physical and mental health. Incorporating these evidence-based practices into your routine will significantly enhance your capacity to manage stress, thus improving your physical and psychological health. Finding the appropriate route for you may necessitate some research, so feel free to experiment with different approaches to see what works best for your specific situations.

About author

Karuna Kaul is psycho socio clinical psychologist, who works with all age group people. Her profession motivates her to serve people who are facing behavioral issues. She has over 8 years of experience and has successfully established credibility in the areas of counselling and wellness. Assessment and behavioral analysis and training and coaching. She has been an active advocate of mental health awareness. And all her endeavors in the field are primarily focused on educating more and more people about Mental Health concerns and promoting Holistic Wellbeing. She has done master in clinical psychology PG Diploma in counselling and guidance and certified in drug addiction counselling Also she has done neuro medicine psychology from London University, Kent College of United Kingdom. With an experience of six years, she had worked with various organization which provides mental health services.