Relaxation is a valuable component of life that really can improve our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Like exercise, it can be likened to an effective natural medicine; if taken correctly it will be beneficial and it has good side-effects too!
There are many ways to relax in a general sense, including listening to music, reading, hobbies and watching TV, but more than this there is an art to relaxation and we can all learn the skills and techniques needed to help us to effectively release physical and mental tension.
The mind-body link and the benefits of relaxation
Most of us are aware that there is a strong link between our physical wellbeing and our mental and emotional wellbeing. If we feel physically ill, it’s common to feel a bit down emotionally too.
The reverse is also true; when we feel low mentally or emotionally, perhaps due to depression, stress or anxiety, it can directly influence our physical health. Some examples are:
- Muscular pain in our neck, shoulders or back
- Fatigue and low energy levels
- Raised blood pressure
- Increased pain thresholds
- Poor sleep patterns
- Poor breathing
- Suppressed immune system and increased susceptibility to infections
- Increases in blood sugar and cholesterol levels
In addition to the undesirable physical problems from feeling mentally and emotionally low, it can often negatively effect other aspects of our life that contribute to, or influence wellbeing and quality of life, including:
- Our relationships with family or friends
- Our personal leisure time
- And our performance at work, school or college
Regularly practicing relaxation techniques can play a significant role in helping to lessen many of the negative consequences we may experience from feeling mentally and emotionally low.
It’s important to understand that relaxation techniques may not deal directly with the underlying causes that lead to us feeling mentally or emotionally low (especially if this is due to a clinical mental illness), but it can really help with the effective management of the situation or condition.
Additionally, the positive results of practicing relaxation techniques will often put us in a stronger position to actually start to effectively tackle some of the external causes that lead to us suffering mentally and emotionally. These could include:
- Improved confidence leading to increased feelings of personal control over our lives
- A consistently calmer state of mind that can lead to more rational and positive thinking
- A greater sense of self-worth
- Less apathy
- Greater strength and energy to effectively cope with life’s ‘ups and downs’
- And better able to relate to family, friends and work colleagues and gain support from them
After considering all the valuable benefits of relaxation, I hope you’ll agree that it’s a really is worth finding a few moments every day to practice the art of relaxation.
We have lots of free guides below that will give you hints, tips and relaxation techniques, and we can fully recommend David Morell’s relaxation CD and guide published by MentalHealthy; it is not only a CD, but also a guide to relaxation and it’s benefits – this introduction to relaxation was taken from this.