Some years ago I realised just how important relaxing was in certain situations. I was extremely shy and introverted and wanted to become more sociable and at ease when talking to new people. Blushing was one of the problems I faced and it was ruining my life at the time. Not only was it so uncomfortable but was putting unimaginable fear into what should be easy daily situations. I did some research and learnt that in social situations the body reacts extremely quickly and the only way to get everything back to normal was to practise a relaxation technique in order to feel more confident. I will explain in more detail how this works and how learning how to perform these relaxation techniques will help you.
First of all let me ask you which situations you find most threatening? Are they social encounters? Relaxation is most effective when you are trying to overcome fear. This happens because you worry about what will happen when you face your challenge, whatever that may be. So if you fear public speaking or meeting new people in a social setting or if overwhelming shyness is destroying your life, then I will show you how relaxation is the answer you are looking for.
I want to make clear that relaxation is a great way to deal with any stressful situation. By relaxing you not only train the body to react differently to stimuli and events going on around you, you also change the way you think about situations or tasks that used to fill you with fear. As you face these situations and cope better using these relaxation techniques then your fear will get less and eventually disappear completely.
These are the relaxation skills you need to practice so that you can use them in threatening or stressful situations –
- control your breathing – you should breath from the stomach not from the chest. using on your breathing helps you to relax and stop the body’s panic reaction.
- relax your muscles – start with your face muscles and then neck, shoulders, back, arm, chest, buttocks, leg muscles and tell each muscle to relax one by one. When you have relaxed your muscles you are sending a message to your brain to stop any panic reaction that your body produces. This will calm you down and help you to think more clearly.
- relax mentally – when you breath in think calm and when you breath out think release negative thoughts. You may also hold a positive and inspiring image in your mind to further help you relax.
Instructions – How to Relax in Stressful Situations
Let’s take a closer look first at how to control your breathing.
While you are alone spend some time first practising this technique so that when you need it, it will happen naturally. At first you may need to remind yourself what to do but after a while you’ll do it without thinking.
Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. In stressful situations your breathing will be from the chest and in relaxed situations from the stomach. So now practise breathing so that you see the hand on your stomach moving up and down and the hand on your chest should be still. Notice the calming effect that slow steady breathing through your stomach has on you. Breathing through your chest causes panting and a panic reaction in challenging situations so you want to avoid that.
Relaxation and breathing are closely connected so check throughout the day how you are breathing, through the chest or the stomach. You can easily check by noticing which hand is moving up and down. Correct this and you’ll soon get used to this technique.
Practice breathing from the stomach so that your lower hand starts moving and the one on your chest doesn’t, breath normally for 10 seconds or so then try to slow your breathing by counting 1-2 then 1-2-3 then 1-2-3-4 for each breath out and in. This way each breath in and out will be one second longer and your breathing will be slowing down. Make sure that as well as slowing down you try to breathe smoothly.
After you have corrected your breathing you can relax your muscles one by one by telling them to relax. Relax face muscles, then relax eye muscles, relax forehead, jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, fingers, back, chest, stomach, buttocks, thighs, legs, backs of legs and feet. If you are very tense then repeat this step again. Each time your muscles relax you will reach a higher state of calm and relaxation. Your body will be replacing any panic, stress or anxiety with peace and calm. You can now begin to smile and feel more in control and your confidence will get a massive boost as a result. Whatever response you needed in the stressful situation you are facing you can give in a much more positive way. The reaction you’ll get from others will be much more helpful too.
Now your body is relaxed it is time to relax your mind. Think of a calm scene such as a warm beach and imagine relaxing there in a comfortable chair looking at the waves as they wash onto the sand. As you breathe out think breathe out stress, breathe in calm.
Enjoy being rested for at least ten minutes if you can and as an added extra imagine yourself confronting a problem situation and see yourself handle it confidently.
Of course when you are in a stressful situation you do not have time to go through this entire relaxation technique but if you practice often you can calm yourself in seconds by running through some of these quickly and even automatically. Good luck!
These relaxation skills can be used whenever you feel shy or nervous with excellent results, so try them next time you need to!
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Remember that relaxation can help you overcome many other stressful situations and shyness is only one example. Social anxiety is a big problem and it takes many forms, relaxation is a tool you can use to retrain your body and mind. Hope this page helps you to become less stressed and more in control. Good luck!