Monthly Archives: June 2018

Breathing Techniques to achieve Stress Relief and Relaxation

The practice of using of simple breathing techniques can help caregivers find relaxation and relief from stress in their busy lives. Oftentimes, the responsibilities involved in caring for an aging parent or loved one, coupled with work and personal obligations, can feel overwhelming causing anxiety and exhaustion.

breathing techniques to achieve stress relief and relaxation In the book The Relaxation Response, Dr. Herbert Bensen introduces the simple, effective, mind/body approach to achieving relaxation and relief from stress:

  • Sit quietly, back straight, and in a comfortable position.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face.
  • Keep them relaxed.
  • Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word one* silently to yourself. Breathe easily and naturally.
  • Continue this for 10 to 20 minutes – whatever is comfortable for you.
  • You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes – initially with your eyes closed – then with your eyes opened.
  • Do not stand up for a few minutes.
  • Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation.
  • Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace. When distracting thoughts occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them and return to repeating one*.

Practice the technique daily, but not within two hours after any meal, since the digestive processes seems to interfere with achieving a relaxation response. With daily practice, achieving a relaxation response should come naturally.

*saying “one” or any soothing, smooth sound – preferably with no meaning or association – will help avoid stimulation of unnecessary thoughts.