Ten Techniques for Relaxation

visualization relaxation

The following ten techniques for relaxation are mind-body techniques that have an ability to relax the body, quiet and calm the mind.

Why ten techniques for relaxation? Because when you develop skills in a variety of relaxation techniques you can become more relaxed in your everyday life. Choose the technique that works best for you.

Know your body's stress signals and don't ignore them. Respect your body. The more stress in your life, the more important it is to relax. Develop an arsenal of relaxation techniques that work for you.

Bellow you will find ten techniques for relaxation:

1. Visualization

Find a comfortable position, sitting or lying down. Close your eyes and let your attention turn inward.

Imagine - it is a beautiful sunny day. You are in a meadow. The sun's golden rays are warming your back. You pick up a dandelion and close your eyes, resting for just a moment. You take a slow deep breath and blow the dandelion seeds. As the seeds fly into the air, so does your tension. Now you take another breath and blow again, feeling more of your tension leave your body. With the next breath, you blow the remaining seeds, feeling a deep sense of relaxation. You are peaceful. You are calm. You are serene.

Breathe slowly for a minute longer, enjoying the peace and calm in every fiber of your body.

2. Full Breath Technique for Relaxation

This quick relaxation can be done sitting, standing, or lying down.

  1. Exhale deeply, letting all the air out from your lungs and from your abdomen.
  2. Inhale slowly, expanding the abdomen.
  3. Continue inhaling as you expand the middle chest.
  4. Continue inhaling as you expand the upper chest.
  5. Hold for a few seconds.
  6. Exhale in reverse order, slowly and smoothly. Continue for as long as it feels comfortable.

3. Easy 5-4-3-2-1 Technique

Great technique for when you are feeling overwhelmed, out of control, and need something to calm you down on the spot. It can be done sitting or standing.

Here is how it's done:

  • Look around and name 5 things that you see. Then, name 5 things that you hear.
  • When you are done start over and name 4 things that you see and after that 4 things that you hear.
  • Then, 3 things that you see and 3 things that you hear.
  • Continue with 2 things that you see and 2 things that you hear.
  • For the last round, name 1 thing that you see and then 1 thing that you hear.

4. The Blue Dot Technique for Relaxation

Find something that you look at frequently throughout the day. For example, your watch, a telephone, your computer keyboard, or anything else that you look at many times a day. Place a blue dot on the object of your choice.

The blue dot is your reminder to relax. When you see it you will perform this routine: Take a slow deep breath...think "relax"...exhale...and repeat twice...

Now, every time you look at the object (e.g. every time you look at your watch, make a phone call, or type on your keyboard), you will be reminded to relax.

5. Muscle Relaxation Technique

Find a quiet, comfortable place and lie down. Turn your attention to your breathing. Allow your breathing to slow down and deepen. Now, turn your attention to your toes, focus on consciously relaxing your toes. Next, move your attention to the muscles of your feet, focus on consciously relaxing your feet. Continue repeating this procedure all the way up through your body: calves, knees, thighs, buttocks, hips, abdomen, back, chest, hands, arms, shoulders, upper back, neck, face, scalp.

When you are done, turn your attention back to your breath and when your are ready, slowly open your eyes and orient yourself to your surroundings.

6. Nature Journaling Relaxation Technique

Go outside and take a pen and paper with you. Become present in the nature. Begin by noticing what season it is. What is the landscape like? What are the colors of the nature at the moment? Pick up a leaf, a flower, or a blade of grass. Describe it in detail. Write down the description. What is the color of it? What is the shape? What is the texture? Does it have any smell? If so, what is the smell like? Describe it in as much detail as you can.

When you are done, sit quietly and enjoy your connection with the natural world. Nature has a very calming and relaxing effect.

7. "I am Relaxed" Technique for Relaxation

  • Set aside 5 or 10 minutes of an uninterrupted time.
  • Find a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down.
  • Close your eyes and bring attention to your breath.
  • With each inhale say to yourself "I am"
  • With each exhale say to yourself "Relaxed".
  • Continue with this relaxation technique for the time you have set aside.
  • When the time is up, wiggle your toes, your fingers, and slowly bring attention back to the room.

8. Sensory Relaxation Technique

1. Find a material - a smooth river stone, a piece of silk or velvet, or anything that appeals to you. Close your eyes. Explore the texture of this material.

Take your time. Slowly and deliberately explore the texture and the feeling of the material against your fingers and your skin.

Breathe deeply. Be present. If you have any thoughts, just let them pass and come back to the sensations of the material against your fingers and your skin.

2. Pick a word that feels good to you - peace, serenity, love, calm, relax... Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply. Imagine what it would feel like to experience this word inside of you. Take your time exploring. What do you feel in your belly? In your chest? In your fingers and toes? Do you feel warmth?

Explore how your body feels. Take your time. Breathe deeply and slowly.

When you feel ready, open your eyes and come back to the present moment.

9. Stretching Relaxation

This technique is based on the principle that it is impossible to be tense and anxious when you are completely relaxed. Researchers found that the deepest relaxation in the muscles follows a short period of increased voluntary muscle tension.

This muscle tension can be achieved through gentle stretching exercises. Stretching for relaxation is done in four steps:
  1. Awareness of tension - by concentrating on an area of your body you learn to recognize tension
  2. Gently stretching to promote tension
  3. Releasing the stretch - letting go of tension
  4. Awareness of relaxation - as you concentrate on the particular area of your body, you learn to recognize the feeling of relaxation

10. Conscious Rest

Every week give yourself a time for unplanned and unscheduled activities. Do whatever you like to do without worrying about being productive or what other people would say. Give yourself a conscious break from the constant striving to be on schedule, to be productive, to be something... Just be - without any agenda. You mind and body will get a well deserved break.

This can be a fun relaxation, or just a really laid back time for yourself - whatever you make it to be - it's all just for you!


For more than these ten techniques for relaxation, explore the following techniques:

Diaphragmatic Breathing
Progressive Relaxation
Visualization Techniques
Muscle Relaxation Technique


Do you have a favorite of these ten techniques for relaxation? Let us know through this form.




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Words of Wisdom

The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.
~Sydney J. Harris

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
~Chinese Proverb

There cannot be a stressful crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
~Henry Kissinger

Humor, a great stress reliever!
Laugh, be happy and have less stress!
~Catherine Pulsifer

Stress is like spice - in the right proportion it enhances the flavor of a dish. Too little produces a bland, dull meal; too much may choke you.
~Donald Tubesing



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