4

minutes read

5 Relaxation methods at a glance

Content

In increasingly stressful times, actively relaxing is becoming more and more important. But everyone has their own ways of winding down. Above all, however, various relaxation methods help to free yourself from the hectic pace of everyday life. In this article, we will introduce you to 5 different relaxation techniques.

Autogenic training

The relaxation method was developed in the 1930s by Johannes Heinrich Schultz (1884-1970). It is a form of self-relaxation in which the body and psyche are brought into a deep state of relaxation through the power of one’s own thoughts and repetitive autosuggestions (=commands to oneself). Basically, autogenic training is about using one’s own thoughts to influence physical processes. With the help of repetitive autosuggestions such as “my right arm is very heavy” to have a calming effect on the parasympathetic nervous system and thus on the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic functions include hormone secretion, digestion, blood circulation, pulse and heartbeat. For example, a calm pulse, slowed breathing and muscular relaxation occur during exercise. Brain activity has been shown to be altered. As the name suggests, this relaxation method is about regular training. The greatest effects occur primarily after some time of practice, whereby it becomes increasingly quicker and easier to get into the deeply relaxed state. You can find various audio instructions on the Internet or on streaming portals.

Meditation

Everyone has heard of it, has someone in their circle of acquaintances or has tried it themselves. Meditating means as much as thinking or pondering. The goal is a deep focus, an inner peace in which the mind is awake and clear, but directed inward and centered. Through meditation, you learn to let your thoughts come and go freely, without holding on to them or judging them. Three types of mental strength are emphasized: concentration, mindfulness, and compassion. Meditation and its effects have been the subject of growing field of research for over 15 years, producing more and more findings. For example, some studies have used imaging techniques to show that regular meditation changes the way the brain works and its structure. If you have no experience yet, a meditation course for a longer period of time is a good idea. In this course, you will be introduced to the subject, learn the basics and establish a routine through regular appointments, increasing your chances of staying on track and feeling successful. There are certified courses where the health insurance companies cover part or all of the costs.

If you don’t want to take a class, audio instructions or apps can provide a framework for your regular meditation practice. You can find several guided meditations in the Teamfit app; give it a try.

Progressive muscle relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation (also known as progressive muscle relaxation = PMR) was named after its inventor, Edmund Jacobsen, an American physician and physiologist. He noticed in 1929 that an emotional state has a physiological influence on the body. Fear, stress and anxiety, for example, lead to tension, breathing becomes faster and so does the pulse. However, this effect works reciprocally, so signals from the body can affect the brain and throttle the activity of the central nervous system. Jacobsen took advantage of this body-to-brain effect and developed PMR. The aim is to bring the brain into a state of relaxation by alternately tensing and relaxing the muscles. Progressive here means that this happens progressively over all muscle groups of the body, including the face. While lying down, the muscles are gradually tensed strongly in a steady rhythm and this tension is held for a short time, after which it is dropped again and relaxation is felt. PMR is a relaxation method suitable for beginners because it is easy to learn in just a few hours. In addition, everyone can participate because you don’t have to do anything except tense and release your muscles. The effect is immediately noticeable, so it does not require weeks of training.

Bodyscan

The Bodyscan is a kind of meditation and serves as a deep relaxation technique for stress reduction. It is about consciously perceiving and feeling one’s own body. For this purpose, attention is successively directed to the different parts or regions of the body, from the crown to the sole. Initially, one can proceed with audio instructions and later perform body scans on one’s own. While lying down, for example, the focus is on the places where one’s own body rests on and touches the surface and how differently intense these individual areas feel. All of this happens, however, without evaluating or wanting to change any of it. One thus becomes a silent observer of oneself and is completely with oneself and the present moment. Emerging, distracting, or worrying thoughts are perceived and then pushed aside in order to direct the focus back to the body’s perception.

Visualization Techniques

Visualization techniques are generally understood to be fantasy & dream journeys. So you travel mentally to a place and imagine it vividly. If possible, all senses should be involved. At the sea, you can hear the sound of the waves, smell the salt in the air, feel the wind on your skin and so on. The more senses involved, the more intense the imagination. Like in a dream, you relive the situation and experience the story in your mind. Audio instructions are suitable for this, which you can find on the Internet and on streaming portals.

The effects of dream and fantasy journeys have also been proven in studies and are used in psychotherapy. The stress-relieving effect can reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. They can also help against sleep disorders and inner peace, as the positive ideas and stimuli have a beneficial effect on the mental state. Furthermore, visualization techniques are used in competitive sports to initiate motivational processes of athletes and to go through movement sequences in the inner eye. This also helps in the execution of movements in real life, as these are gone through and trained several times in the mind.

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner