Stress in a medical or biological context is a physical,mental or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stress can be internal or external.
A stressor is anything that causes the release of stress hormones such as glucagon, epinephrine(adrenaline), norepinephrine, cortisol and the growth hormone.
Relaxation is a process that decreases the effects of stress on an individual’s mind and body. Relaxation techniques can help an individual cope with everyday stress and stress related to various health problems. They are often free or low cost and pose little health risks.
Relaxation techniques range from simple protocols (bath) to more complex protocols (meditation). Here are a few simple relaxation techniques which can be infused in daily routines:
1. Deep breathing
This is the easiest and can be done anywhere and anytime; it can be done while sitting,standing or lying.
It is done by taking a deep breath such that the abdomen(tummy) expands and breathing out with the mouth open/poused.
The process is repeated 3-4 times.
2. Soothing music
Listening to music can lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety. Creating a playlist of songs or nature sounds while allowing the mind to focus on the different parts of the music is a great relaxative tool.
3. Warm baths
In ancient times, herbal baths were employed to help the sick while mineral baths were used for detoxification. A warm bath is the “go to” on getting home after work. If an individual does not have the luxury to soak in a bath for long minutes, a Warm shower works just well from experience. Superheated (hot) baths get an individuals nervous system revved up and the relaxation is a bit of an illusion, the most relaxing baths are not quite piping hot.
For individuals who can afford the time and essentials, planning a themed bath is also good. Avoid artificial perfumes and fragrances, add 8 drops of your favouraite oil e.g lavender, geranium. Epsium salts are inexpensive and also terrific for soothing sore muscles.
More complex ways of relieving stress include meditation and yoga. Indulge yourself and ease yourself off stress.