Relaxation – Remembering to breathe


Relaxation has been around for thousands of years in all different forms. It plays an essential part in us leading a well balanced lifestyle.

Modern day relaxation is often broken down into 4 main types – breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, mind based relaxation, and being present in the moment. Other forms may include hypnosis and transcendental meditation.

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

Chinese Proverb

Why practice relaxation?

Intentional and incidental relaxation can increase ones awareness of tension in the body and mind. It can help with understanding the contrast between the two states and getting your mind and your body to cooperate.

darius bashar calm breathing

Benefits of mindful relaxation

The short term benefits of rest, relaxation and mindfulness are:

  • Slow heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Slow breathing rate 
  • Reduce muscle tension and chronic pain 
  • Increase blood flow to major muscle 
  • Reduce anger and frustration

The longer term benefits, on the other hand are many:

  • Improved digestion (leading to better gut health) 
  • Maintain healthy blood sugar levels 
  • Better hormone regulation 
  • Improve concentration and overall mood  
  • Sleep quality 
  • Reduce fatigue 
  • Boost confidence 
  • Improve your ability to tackle problems.

Strategies to help you relax

Understand what calms you. Include other activities that can allow your body and mind to release from your day to day tensions.
Set your space – you can use any space that is private and quiet with enough room to lie comfortably on your back (you may need a mat of towel). Try and remove any distractions, including technology. If you are using audio aids you should switch your device to flight mode.

Give Calm Breathing a Try

Take a slow breath in through your nose followed by a slow breath out through the mouth. The time for each cycle should be based upon your own comfort zone. We recommend starting with 3 seconds and building up to 6 seconds as you progress, deep breathing.

This piece was written in conjunction with Kathy Matheson, a well versed private psychologist. You can find Kathy at Karepsych.