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Relaxation can help put things into perspective

Relaxation is important for mental health and wellbeing. We all need some time to ourselves to do things we enjoy. When things get busy or stressful it can be easy to forget to make time for ourselves.

Many forms of relaxation, like walking or sitting quietly, are very simple and easy to do. Others, like yoga or meditation, require some training or discipline. Going fishing or playing sport can be a great way of relaxing. You might want to write a list of things you find relaxing (1).

Here is a list of suggestions, you may want to put aside some time in the day and try some out to see if any work for you:

  • go for a walk                        tree x small
  • take time to notice the things around you
  • listen to some music you really like
  • go fishing
  • sit quietly in a park and look at the things around you
  • play your favourite sport
  • take a bath - lie back, shut out everything else and relax
  • go to a movie or watch a video
  • visit a friend
  • go for a swim                  
  • do a puzzle
  • read a book
  • learn yoga or meditation
  • Try this progressive muscle relaxation exercise from Beyond Blue


Breathing techniques

When people are anxious or stressed, their breathing can become quick and shallow, which reduces the amount of oxygen going to organs in the body. Learning how to breathe efficently can help reduce some of the physiological symptoms of stress and anxiety.

  • To become aware of your breathing place one hand on your upper chest and one on your stomach. Take a breath and let your stomach swell forwards as you breathe in, and fall back gently as you breathe out.
  • Try to get a steady rhythm going, take the same depth of breath each time. Your hand on your chest should have little or no movement. Try and take the same depth of breath each time you breathe in.
  • When you feel comfortable with this technique, try to slow your breathing rate down by putting a short pause after you have exhaled and before you breathe in again.
  • Initially, it may feel as though you are not getting enough air in, but with regular practice this slower rate will soon start to feel comfortable.
  • It can help to imagine that you are blowing up a big balloon in your stomach when you breathe in, and then when you breathe out that balloon will deflate. This exercise helps you to breathe more oxygen into your stomach rather than restricting the amount of oxygen by breathing into your chest (1).

You can find out more about breathing exercises through learning Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi or visit Smiling Mind



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