Meditation and relaxation
What is meditation?
Meditation is a form of guided thought that can help relieve stress. It can take many forms. You can do it with exercise that uses the same motions over and over, like walking or swimming. You can meditate by practicing relaxation training, by stretching or by breathing deeply.
Take a deep breath
Deep, relaxed breathing by itself may help relieve stress. This helps you get plenty of oxygen and activates the relaxation response, your body’s antidote to stress.
Steps to deep breathing:
- Lie down on a flat surface.
- Place a hand on your stomach, just above your navel. Place the other hand on your chest.
- Breathe in slowly and try to make your stomach rise a little.
- Hold your breath for a second.
- Breathe out slowly and let your stomach go back down.
Relaxation training is a simple but effective way to manage stress and feel better. Here are some tips to help you relax:
- Beginning with the toes and feet, tighten your muscles for a few seconds and then relax.
- Do this with each of your muscles, working your way up through the rest of your body, one muscle group at a time.
Stretching can also help relieve tension.
- Roll your head in a gentle circle.
- Reach toward the ceiling and bend side to side slowly.
- Roll your shoulders.
Information courtesy of the American Heart Association, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health and FamilyDoctor.org.