Coping and Relaxation Techniques

10 easy ways to relax

  1. Go Swimming. Ok, yes we would say that wouldn’t we, but it happens to be true. Swimming for just 30 minutes, three days a week has be shown to lower stress levels, improve sleep patterns, and lower anxiety and depression. Forget the outside world as weightless embrace of the water carries you along.
  2. Listen to music.  If you feel tensions rising play something relaxing, like classical music. Or find a song you like that fires happy memories. Music, like swimming, can lower blood pressure and anxiety. Try a water proof MP3 player and breaststroke your way through a few lengths while listening relaxing tunes.
  3. Visualisation. Find a quiet place, take deep breaths and imagine yourself on a secluded beach. Try to make the visualisation as detailed as possible. Think of smells, sounds, and the way the light breeze feels on your face. it may sound a bit ‘hippy’ but visualisation is used by the world’s top athletes to win medals. If it works for them it can work to  help you relax.
  4. Go outside. If your brain feels battered, one of the easy ways to relax is to head outdoors. A simple 10 minute walk breathing fresh air can make a huge amount of difference.
  5. Deep breathing. When we are stressed we take oxygen-poor shallow breaths. Try slowing down your breathing and breathing from your diaphragm (search Google for techniques) or head over to our Breathing to help reduce stress stress article here.
  6. Meditation. Don’t worry, there’s no whale song in sight. It’s about awareness, listening to your own breathing, and clearing your mind of what’s stressing you. This article is a good start to meditation, offering 20 tips for beginners. Try it when you feel stress or as a preventative measure for 5 to 10 minutes a day.
  7. Yoga. You don’t have to do a full hour long workout to appreciate some of the benefits. The NHS has a good section on Yoga here. Many swimmers find that yoga helps them with their swimming. You can out what they have to say here. Yoga is a tried and tested way of relaxing and improving wellbeing generally.
  8. Relax your jaw. No, really. Jaw tension is a big issue for stressed workers in office situations. Many of us carry stress in our jaws. Most of us don’t know it, but we do. Try opening your mouth wide for 30 seconds, breathing through your nose. When it feels stretched close your mouth gently. Repeat this a couple of times.
  9. Take a cat nap. Taking a 20 minute cat nap is one of the easy ways to relax. Anything over 30 minutes and you enter deep sleep. This will make you groggy and can be counter-productive.
  10. Talk it through. We are social animals. Sharing your feelings with a friend is a great way to relax. Phone your mum for a moan or offload onto a colleague or friend.

8 Soothing Techniques to Help Relieve Anxiety

Picture the Voice or Face of Someone You Love

If you feel upset or distressed, visualize someone positive in your life. Imagine their face or think of what their voice sounds like. Imagine them telling you that the moment is tough, but that you’ll get through it.

Practice Self-Kindness

Repeat kind, compassionate phrases to yourself. Say it either aloud or in your head, as many times as you need.

  • I’m having a rough time, but I’ll make it through.
  • I’m strong, and I can move through this pain.
  • I’m trying hard, and I’m doing my best.

Sit with Your Pet

If you’re at home and have a pet, spend a few moments just sitting with them. If they’re of the furry variety, pet them, focusing on how their fur feels. Focus on their markings or unique characteristics. If you have a smaller pet you can hold, concentrate on how they feel in your hand.Not at home? Think of your favorite things about your pet or how they would comfort you if they were there.

List Favorites

List three favorite things in several different categories, such as foods, trees, songs, movies, books, places, and so on.

Visualize Your Favorite Place

Think of your favorite place, whether it’s the home of a loved one or a foreign country. Use all of your senses to create a mental image. Think of the colors you see, sounds you hear, and sensations you feel on your skin.Remember the last time you were there. Who were you with, if anyone? What did you do there? How did you feel?

Plan an Activity

This might be something you do alone or with a friend or loved one. Think of what you’ll do and when. Maybe you’ll go to dinner, take a walk on the beach, see a movie you’ve been looking forward to, or visit a museum. Focus on the details, such as what you’ll wear, when you’ll go, and how you’ll get there.

Touch Something Comforting

This could be your favorite blanket, a much-loved T-shirt, a smooth stone, a soft carpet, or anything that feels good to touch. Think about how it feels under your fingers or in your hand. If you have a favorite sweater, scarf, or pair of socks, put them on and spend a moment thinking about the sensation of the fabric on your skin.

List Positive Things

Write or mentally list four or five things in your life that bring you joy, visualizing each of them briefly.

Listen to Music

Put on your favorite song, but pretend you’re listening to it for the first time. Focus on the melody and lyrics (if there are any). Does the song give you chills or create any other physical sensations? Pay attention to the parts that stand out most to you.

Additional Tips

Grounding yourself isn’t always easy. It may take some time before the techniques work well for you, but don’t give up on them.How to get the most out of these techniques:

  • Practice. It can help to practice grounding even when you aren’t dissociating or experiencing distress. If you get used to an exercise before you need to use it, it may take less effort when you want to use it to cope in the moment.
  • Start early. Try doing a grounding exercise when you first start to feel bad. Don’t wait for distress to reach a level that’s harder to handle. If the technique doesn’t work at first, try to stick with it for a bit before moving on to another.
  • Avoid assigning values. For example, if you’re grounding yourself by describing your environment, concentrate on the basics of your surroundings, rather than how you feel about them.
  • Check in with yourself. Before and after a grounding exercise, rate your distress as a number between 1 and 10. What level is your distress when you begin? How much did it number between 1 and 10. What level is your distress when you begin? How much did it decrease after the exercise? This can help you get a better idea of whether a particular technique is working for you.
  • Keep your eyes open. Avoid closing your eyes, since it’s often easier to remain connected to the present if you’re looking at your current environment.

Grounding techniques can be powerful tools to help you cope with distressing thoughts in the moment. But the relief they provide is generally temporary.

99 Coping Skills