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Relax! It’s Good for Your Health

Taking time to relax may not seem important, but it can have a significant impact on your physical health. Because stress has been linked to many health complications like high blood pressure, headaches, and fatigue, managing it through relaxation can improve your heart rate, reduce muscle tension and promote better sleep. Matthew Simmons, Employee Experience Manager at Centerstone, recommends these relaxation techniques:


Meditation is a popular form of mindfulness that can help people increase awareness and stay present. “Mindfulness helps you stay present, especially if you’re worried about something that’s coming up, or something that happened yesterday,” Simmons says. Whether you pick out a certain color in your surroundings to focus on, or focus on a specific sound, engaging your senses can help you practice mindfulness.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation:

This practice entails voluntarily tensing and relaxing your muscles. Since people tend to hold tension in different parts of their body when stressed, this can be helpful to feel a release.

Deep Breathing: Deep breathing triggers the part of the parasympathetic nervous system that indicates to the brain that you are safe, and do not need to engage in fight or flight. One deep breathing exercise that Simmons suggests is box breathing. During this exercise, you inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four, and hold for another four and repeat as needed. The name and exercise refer to the fact that a box has four sides.

If the more traditional relaxation techniques don’t work for you, there are any number of recreational activities that may do the trick:

Physical activity: Going for a walk, riding a bike, or doing yoga are known to release endorphins in our brain that make us feel good, which can lead to feelings of calm and relaxation. Other ways to get physical activity might include swimming, gardening, bowling, dancing, or playing tag.

Tactical stimulation: “Many kids and adults alike enjoy playing with Legos, Play-Doh, putty, fidget spinners, and other similar toys,” Simmons adds. These items provide what is known as tactical stimulation, which can help the mind be present, rather than thinking about what may be causing stress.

Art: Drawing, painting, and listening to music can also promote relaxation and decreased stress levels.

It’s important to experiment with different relaxation techniques so that whenever you need them, you’ll know which ones are most effective for you. However, relaxation techniques don’t have to be reserved for high-stress moments. Simmons recommends using your favorite technique daily for 20 to 30 minutes, even if you’re feeling calm.

Relaxation looks different for all of us, and is so beneficial to our overall wellbeing. If you, or someone you know, has difficulty managing stress, Centerstone can help. Call us at 877-HOPE123 (1-877-467-3123) or visit our counseling services page.

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