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Can I learn how to relax?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Learning how to relax can help you to manage stress and maybe even improve your physical health and blood pressure readings. Relaxation can offer a real potential to reduce physical strain and emotional, negative thoughts--and increase your ability to self-manage stress. Each of these has a positive effect on your heart and your hypertension.

Achieving relaxation uses a mental approach to activity in general rather than any one specific activity.  For each of us, many different activities or routines may be relaxing, depending on our particular mental attitude. And what may be relaxing for one person can be frustrating or tension-producing for another. For example, some of us may find it calming and soothing to lie quietly and listen to a certain type of music; others may gain more relaxation from reading an enjoyable book. Remember that true relaxation involves more than just being still or physical activity. You may not be relaxed just sitting in front of the TV. Some even have a high level of tension in their bodies and minds during sleep.  An example would be those who toss and turn at night or who grind their teeth while asleep.

Relaxation is a skill that all people have the potential to develop. Some of us are naturally better at relaxing than others, but we can all learn to relax effectively. Much like learning to play the piano or tennis, becoming good at relaxation involves time, patience, and practice.  Learning to relax deeply and effectively is a skill that develops gradually and cannot be rushed or hurried.
 

Sherrie Pierce, DNP
Nursing Specialist

A good way to make relaxing a routine and important part of your day is to start a self-care log. Add something to your log daily. It can be something as simple as five minutes of deep breathing, a walk around your neighborhood, lunch with a friend, reading, etc. As you log these activities you will become more aware of the importance of taking time for your self and the value of self-care.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.