Relaxation & Mindfulness

Relaxation and mindfulness techniques can help increase your sense of calm and reduce worrying or anxious thoughts and feelings. They can help you to be more connected to the present moment, slow heart and breathing rates, reduce blood pressure and decrease muscle tension.

There are different ways you might like to try including:

Progressive muscle relaxation

This is about focusing on the difference between tension and relaxation in your body.

This awareness helps you to recognise and respond to the first signs of tension in your muscles and then in your mind.

These are two ways to do it:

  • Methodically tense and then relax different muscle groups in your body, for instance your left leg muscles, then your right leg, then your left shoulder and so on.
  • Focus on the sensations in each part of your body so you become aware of where the tension is: the neck, shoulders and head are common stress points, then consciously release those muscles.

Deep breathing

Deep breathing helps focus you on the present moment by concentrating on the ‘in and out’ of your breath.

In Eastern philosophies, mastery of the breath is the key to controlling the body’s energy.

  • Focus on the air going in and out of your nostrils
  • With every inhalation of air, you draw energy into your body
  • With every exhalation of air, you let go of tension in your body

Deep breathing can be done anytime anywhere and can be combined with aromatherapy and music.


Mindfulness is about focusing on the present, so you worry less about the past and the future and your body and mind become calmer. Try a simple and quick mindfulness exercise:

  • Breathe slowly
  • Become aware of your surroundings with curiosity and interest
  • Focus on your surroundings and notice and accept what you can:
    • see
    • hear
    • smell
    • feel
    • taste  

Yoga, stretching and meditation classes can help with both relaxation and deep breathing.

Created on 30/08/2013 | Updated on 10/12/2015
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