While stress and anxiety are fast becoming part of a day-to-day routine for many, relaxation has become a major therapy that helps with healing it. The contemporary and modern world has come up with a whole new paradigm of what was considered simple tiredness, which is stress and anxiety.
It is a known fact that relaxation is a significant contributor to reducing stress, anxiety and pressure related problems.
Our body is designed to handle periods of stress – in fact stress is important. It generates positive excitement and prepares us to respond to danger or perceived threats. While this stress response is an important survival mechanism, it is only good for us in measured amounts, and following a period of stress we need to take our time to rest, relax and recover so we are charged up and ready for what lies ahead of us.
So, what is relaxation?
Relaxation is a state where your mind and body feel calm, rested and comfortable and you are able to manage day-to-day life comfortably. It is the absence of tension allowing the mind, body and soul to rest – a restoration of equilibrium following disturbances to your body and mind.
How can relaxation improve your mental health and your physical health?
Relaxation reduces stress and the symptoms of conditions like depression and anxiety. Relaxation also has other related-health benefits including:
· Lowering your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate
· Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
· Improving concentration and mood
· Reducing anger and frustration
· Boosting confidence to handle problems
So, what helps with relaxation?
My top four tips for relaxation are:
1. To make a realistic plan to deal with problems head on, and accept the things you cannot change.
2. Do visualisation exercises and listen to visualisation relaxation meditations and relaxation hypnosis where you create an image in your mind of a calming place, and focus your attention on your breathing, taking in deep slow breathes.
3. Get creative and focus on activities that you enjoy. It’s also important to connect with nature,* family and friends and to have plenty of fun.
4. Exercise – but make sure it is something you enjoy!
Building these four relaxation tips into your daily schedule will give you your best chance of rest and recovery and help you cope with the daily stresses of life feeling replenished and refreshed.
Why the bad rap about relaxation?
In today’s chaotic world employer expectations and social pressures leave many with the impression that relaxation and taking breaks is being lazy, but this is far from the truth.
Research has found that taking a break can be very beneficial for you and your work. During your work day taking micro-breaks, lunchtime breaks and longer breaks, have all been shown to have a positive relationship with wellbeing and productivity. By taking regular breaks and relaxing you can boost your performance.
Although taking short breaks throughout the working day may not have as obvious an impact as taking a holiday, research has found significant benefits. Studies have found that breaks can reduce or prevent stress and anxiety, help to maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day.
Studies have found that taking lunchtime breaks and detaching from work during the day, increases levels of energy at work and decreases exhaustion. Furthermore, one year later it was found to increase vigour and increase energy levels over time.
Relaxing and social breaks have been found to be particularly beneficial. A relaxing break can help to facilitate recovery, by returning your mental and psychical functional systems to their baseline. Additionally, a relaxing break can help to reset your mood, thereby promoting positive wellbeing and reducing stress.
Social breaks, such as chatting, have also been found to be beneficial. Social interactions allow you to share your experiences and feel a sense of belonging. This feeling of relatedness, during a social break shows a positive association with feeling recovered after the break
Taking relaxation breaks has been shown to be important in recovering from stress, which can, in turn, improve your performance. Recovering from work stress can restore energy and mental resources and decrease the development of fatigue, sleep disorders and cardiovascular disease.
All this research tells us that rest and relaxation is good for you!
How hypnosis helps with relaxation
Hypnosis is a phenonium whereby your conscious mind is gently encouraged into a state of relaxation using techniques such as guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, a focus on slow deep breathing and relaxation suggestions, thus enabling you to relax. An even deeper state of relaxation is achieved when your hypnotherapist uses the power of your mind, your imagination, and your altered state of focused awareness to help you fully relax even more. Hypnosis is so effective that it can help you feel completely refreshed, replenished and renewed.
Every client who has visited my practice has commented that they find the hypnosis experience so relaxing – a surprising bonus that my clients who are new to hypnotherapy didn’t expect.
Get a free relaxation hypnosis meditation recording
Because I have a particular interest in wellbeing and helping others through my work, I have recorded a free relaxation hypnosis meditation for people who sign up to my newsletter, register their interest in my webinar courses, or visit my website during the NZ alert level 4 lockdown.
Believe it or not, hypnosis id done effectively online. I offer a service of assisting to record your session (as needed or necessary).
Don’t let COVID 19 lockdown hold you back because we may be in and out of lockdown for quite a while yet.
I’m here to support my clients in the meantime. Chat free with me online or access my gifted relaxation recording to see how you feel.
*Researchers at Kyoto University (Japan) found that walking through bush or forest, rather than pounding the pavements, reduces depression, relieves anxiety, alleviates boredom and improves wellbeing.
It has been my pleasure to write this blog. What makes us unique as a practice is our beautiful rural and relaxing location. It is also very private, which I’m sure brings a great level of reassurance to many clients. In addition, at Livewell we have an impeccable focus on our clients’ journeys to wellbeing be it by visiting our location or remotely/online. We invest extra time upfront for thorough assessment, and believe in supporting our client’s journeys, enabling and empowering them to lead the way and feel accomplished in their own achievements. I am a dedicated and focused Auckland Hypnotherapist within reach of many South Auckland and nearby rural locations, such as Manukau, Takanini, Manurewa, Papakura, Karaka, Ramarama, Hunua, Bombay, Pukekohe, Waiuku, Franklin area and surrounding suburbs; as well as North Waikato and/or areas such as Pokeno, Drury, Tuakau, Te Kauwhata, etc.
Writer: Annemieke Van Dam, Founder of Livewell Hypnotherapy
Editor: Karyn Van Dam