Relaxation & Mindfulness

Lots of magazines, blogs and health sites talk about the benefits of relaxation and mindfulness techniques and they do so with good reason because these techniques can help increase your sense of calm and reduce worry and anxiety. The core idea is to help you to be more connected to the present moment. The present moment is important because you can’t be worrying about the past or the future if you can just pause in the moment. These techniques help deal with the physical symptoms of anxiety as they 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.

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 you focus 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 if you like.


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

  • 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  
Created on 28/08/2013 | Updated on 10/12/2015
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