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Fact Sheet


Putting things in perspective

Relaxation is important. It’s easy to forget to make time for yourself when things get stressful. Sometimes you might get so pre-occupied that days can go by without you doing anything for yourself.

Many forms of relaxation, like walking or sitting quietly, are very simple, easy to do and don’t cost a thing. Others, like yoga or meditation, require some training or discipline. Going fishing or playing sports can be a great way of relaxing too.

Put aside some time in the day and try out some of these relaxation techniques to see which ones work for you.

  • Go for a walk. Take time to notice the things around you;
  • Listen to some music you really like;
  • Go fishing;
  • Sit quietly in a park and look at the things around you;
  • Play your favorite sport;
  • Take a bath;
  • Go to a movie or watch a DVD;
  • Visit a friend;
  • Go for a swim;
  • Do a puzzle;
  • Read a book;
  • Learn yoga or meditation.

Breathing techniques

When you’re anxious or stressed, your breathing can become quick and shallow, which reduces the amount of oxygen going to your organs. Learning how to breathe deeply can help reduce some of the physiological symptoms of anxiety.

To become aware of your breathing, place one hand on your upper chest and one on your stomach. Take a breath and let your stomach swell forward as you breathe in, and fall back gently as you breathe out. Try to get a steady rhythm going, take the same depth of breath each time to breathe. Your hand on your chest should have little or no movement.

When you feel comfortable with this technique, try to slow your breathing rate down by putting a short pause after you have exhaled and before you breathe in again.

Initially, it might feel as if you aren’t getting enough air in, but with regular practice this slower rate will soon start to feel comfortable.

It might help if you imagine that you’re blowing up a big balloon in your stomach when you breathe in and deflating it when you breathe out. This exercise helps you to breathe more oxygen into your stomach rather than restricting the amount of oxygen by breathing into your chest.

For more information

The Mayo Clinic

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