5 relaxation techniques to manage stress and anxiety

Relaxation techniques  have many beneficial effects on our physical, mental and emotional health . They help reduce levels of body and psychological tension, modulate pain and manage general discomfort … So it can be a good resource, especially when we are in stressful situations. For example, in difficult situations, such as being  diagnosed with a disease such as cancer , relaxation can help you sleep better, calm anxiety and “nerves” before a test or checkup,  manage discomfort in the face of treatments, changes in body image … It can also help control some side effects of cancer treatments, especially the feeling of nausea, vomiting and pain. Next, we propose  some exercises that will serve as a guide to learn to relax in stressful situations  – whatever their origin.

Guidelines to follow in relaxation techniques

1. Find a comfortable place

You can be alone or accompanied and a couple of minutes are enough. The light should be dim as it will facilitate concentration.

2. Take care of the postures

The most advisable posture to start with is lying with your arms and legs stretched (but not rigid) and your head resting on a pillow. It can also be done sitting, with the knees slightly bent, the feet resting on the floor and the hands resting on the knees or on an armrest. If necessary, you can remove or loosen your belt, bra, stockings, socks … Dispense with any garment or ornament (rings, bracelets, glasses …) that may oppress or discomfort you.

3. Concentrate on exercise

At first, it may be difficult to identify the sensations or to know if you are doing the exercises well … Don’t be in a hurry, relaxation will come. Follow the instructions and don’t worry too much about whether you’re doing it right or not.

4. Practice the exercises frequently

The first thing you should know is that the way to learn to relax is by practicing. We advise you to start doing the exercise that interests you the most and, later, try the rest of the exercises. The important thing is that you know the possible ways to relax you have , and put into practice the one with which you feel most comfortable. The important thing is that you practice every day and get to master one or more ways to calm yourself down. This will make it easier for you to relax when you want.

How to manage stress? Types of relaxation techniques

1. Progressive muscle relaxation

It is a technique that will allow you to get to know your body and identify the sensations of tension and relaxation. You will learn to perceive relaxation by observing the contrast between the sensations you experience when contracting and then voluntarily relaxing the different muscle groups. An example of this is the isometric exercises that contract the muscle without generating movement. They consist of holding the tension of the muscle group that is working for a few seconds and then releasing to relax the area . A very important aspect to keep in mind when practicing this technique is that you should not force the tension until it becomes uncomfortable or painful. It is only about contracting the muscles to make it more evident. This technique is not indicated in people who present certain physical problems such as recent surgery, muscle contractures, fractures of a bone, etc. If this is your case, consult your doctor or another relaxation exercise.

2. Deep or diaphragmatic breathing

With this technique you will learn to maintain a rhythmic and deep breathing pattern. Breathing is one of the keys to relaxation . You should try to breathe always with the abdomen, in a fluid way. For deep breathing, sing these directions:
  1. Take a slow breath in through your nose.
  2. Take it to the bottom of your lungs (to do this, take a deep breath, voluntarily lifting your abdomen).
  3. Hold the air for a few seconds.
  4. Then slowly expel it through your mouth with your lips slightly pursed (as if you were blowing out a candle).
Use deep breathing to increase your control in crisis situations. However, this technique is not indicated in people who present certain problems with lung involvement . If this is your case, use another relaxation exercise.

3. Attention to breathing

In complicated situations, the mind jumps from one thought to another quickly (imagine a monkey jumping from branch to branch). With this exercise we get the mind to “stop” and focus on what we want, not so much on the nerves that we may be feeling at that moment. For it:
  1. Try to catch and release the air through the nose (unless there is some circumstance that prevents it).
  2. Subsequently, focus on your normal breathing . For example, imagine the air path of breathing entering your body (from the nostrils to the lungs), the temperature of the air entering and leaving the body …
The bottom line of this exercise is to identify when we are distracted and to refocus on breathing when some distraction appears.

4. Guided Imagination and Passive Relaxation

This combination of techniques requires a greater capacity for concentration and receptivity, but will allow you to achieve greater relaxation in less time. Practicing it you will be able to relax the muscular tensions using a mental order. How? The use of suggestions (suggested sensations) allows intense sensations of tranquility, relaxation and peace to be generated. To do this, mentally repeat those sensations that generate well-being. Concentrate on visualizing them clearly, trying to live them as if they were a real situation. In this way, you will enter into a state of deep relaxation.

5. Relaxation by evocation

Each person experiences calm in one way and through different paths. This exercise facilitates the experience of deep relaxation through the evocation of a previous experience of calm. To do this, we must close our eyes and remember a situation in which we have experienced a state of pleasant relaxation. When we remember that situation and that state, we can remember every sensation (visual, auditory, olfactory …) that we have felt at that time. This exercise is very useful to achieve a state of deep relaxation when we want.


The information provided by this means cannot, in any way, replace a direct health care service, nor should it be used for the purpose of establishing a diagnosis, or choosing a treatment in particular cases.
In this service no recommendation will be made, explicitly or implicitly, about drugs, techniques, products, etc … that will be cited for informational purposes only.
The use of this service is carried out under the exclusive responsibility of the users