WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: HOW TO RELAX THE BODY

‘To relax’. Many of us are told to do this countless times during our life. But how do we actually do it and what does it mean? Relaxing means to calm your mind and body. In today’s instalment of Wellness Wednesday, we’re going to be sharing some tips on how to physically relax. When we relax the body, it reduces our stress levels both physically and emotionally, increasing our wellness. Relaxing also helps to relieve anxiety, depression and insomnia, as well as feeling less tension and more flexibility in your muscles.

There are many different ways to relax, so give them a go and see which techniques work best for you.

  1. YOGA

Yoga involves lots of controlled breathing, meditation, physically movement and stretching, which are all great for reducing stress and relaxing. The different poses and stretches are effective in releasing tension in the muscles that you have been holding onto. Plus, controlled breathing works to release stress fro your shoulders, back and neck. Yogic breathing helps to get more oxygen to your heart, lungs and brain which in turn activates the body’s relaxation response.

  1. PRACTICE PMR

Our last Wellness Wednesday blog post was dedicated to this effective technique. If you haven’t read it yet, catch up HERE.

  1. GO FOR A WALK

Walking helps to relax your body as it warms up and stretches your muscles gently. Many of us carry stress in our muscles, causing them to tense up. By walking with the correct posture and form, these muscle unknot and relax. It specifically is good for relaxing your shoulders and neck.

  1. HAVE A MASSAGE

Whilst a professional massage isn’t currently an option during this time, why not ask your partner or someone in your household to give you a massage or back rub? Massages tend to produce a ‘relaxation response’. This means that you body goes into a state during which your heart and breathing rate reduces, blood pressure decreases, you produce less stress hormones and your muscles relax. There is evidence to suggest that when you body relaxes like this, you’re less likely to experience things like hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue.

  1. HAVE A HOT DRINK

But avoid anything that contains alcohol or caffeine. Why not make yourself a herbal tea, some warm milk or a glass of hot water with lemon and honey? Fun fact: Warm milk can help you sleep better. That’s because it contains significant amounts of the amino acid tryptophan. Once we consume it, our body converts it into the natural hormone melatonin which helps to regulate our natural sleep state.

  1. PRACTICE BODY SCANNING

For our last technique, we wanted to talk you through how to perform a body scan. It’s so easy to disregard when our body is feeling tense – sometimes we don’t even notice it at all! So try and spend just a few minutes a day, noticing how your body is feeling. Here’s how you carry out a body scan…

  • Make sure you’re comfy and your body is supported. You can either be sitting down, lying down or even standing.
  • Close your eyes or simply soften your gaze and don’t focus on anything in particular
  • Take a few moments to rest and pay attention to the natural rhythm of your breath
  • Then become aware of your whole body – how it’s being supported and how it’s resting on the chair, mattress, floor…
  • Focus on different areas of your body; toes, feet, ankle, calf etc)
  • As you go through each part of the body, take a few moments to notice how they are feeling. Are they tense? Try to relax them if so.
  • Don’t worry if your mind wanders, that’s natural! Just go back to where you left off when you realise.

So there we have six of our tips to physically relax. Stay tuned as next week we will be sharing some techniques to relax your mind!

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