Relaxation – the magic bullet for wellbeing and good sleep

Mind-body medicine

Moments of rest and relaxation should be a part of everyday life – just like sufficient exercise. It is important to allow your mind and body to take conscious breaks, particularly when your daily routine is hectic. When did you last allow yourself some me time?
Deliberate, regular relaxing moments can increase your wellbeing and your quality of life. In addition, people are better able to handle conflict situations when they are not stressed, and are also more likely to take daily challenges and problems in their stride. In this blog article, we will show you what relaxation methods exist and what they can do.

Have you heard of mind-body medicine?

Generally speaking, mind-body medicine (MBM) is about strengthening your own mental and physical resources, so you can better handle any challenges or pressures (e.g., stress). The concept foregrounds the interplay of body, mind and soul, and aims to help you influence your own health. The method is based on what is called a “salutogenetic approach” – this means nothing other than a focus on developing and maintaining our own health, by enhancing our own health resources and leading a healthy lifestyle. The methods include mindfulness and physical activity. Practising this method leads not only to improved quality of life and increased stress-management skills, but may also contribute to reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms.

We will now introduce you to two rest-and-relaxation exercises from MBM that may contribute to a boost in your wellbeing:

Body scan

A body scan is one of the mindfulness-based techniques. It involves deliberately turning your attention to your own body. After a short period of orientation, you begin to “scan” your body. You lie down, close your eyes and attempt to focus consciously on every individual part of your body and to be aware of any sensations. How long you spend on each individual body part is entirely up to you. However, it is important to choose your own pace and to give yourself enough time. Initially, it may help to be guided by a tutorial – there are plenty of them to choose from on YouTube, for example. We have selected one video so that you can try it out straight away: Body Scan Video.

Breathing techniques

We can also help ourselves to relax by using our breath. Although we usually breathe automatically and unconsciously, thoughts and sensations can affect the automatic nature of breathing. Stress, lack of exercise or poor posture can negatively affect how we breathe, or even change it. The consequences are headaches, increased fatigue and tension. Different techniques may help us to be consciously aware of our breathing and thus restore our presence of mind.

Here are some different breathing exercises for relaxation.

If you would like to learn more about breathing, and want to know exactly how different breathing techniques can affect our bodies, then the best thing to do is watch the following video and find some inspiration!

Take a Deep Breath: breathing to reduce stress and calm your vegetative nervous system.

Relaxation exercises and sleep

Sleep is frequently not restful because of stress. Constant pressure often makes it difficult for us to power our bodies down and sleep restfully. That’s why it is not surprising that relaxation exercises may contribute to healthier, more restful sleep. Two methods in particular have proven their worth: autogenic training and progressive muscle relaxation. They can make it easier to both go to sleep and to remain asleep all night. These two methods are described in more detail here.

Curious to learn more? You can find more information worth reading on our “Rest and relaxation” subject page.

 

References:
Schori, D. (2022, 10 March). Die besten Entspannungsübungen gegen Stress. Helsana. https://www.helsana.ch/de/blog/psyche/entspannung/methoden-zur-entspannung.html
Holzinger, B., & Klösch, G. (2018). Entspannungstechniken und deren Anwendbarkeit bei Schlafstörungen. In Schlafstörungen (pp. 189-196). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-54668-0_23
Rudaz, M., Ledermann, T., & Witt, C. M. (2017). Mind-body medicine and the treatment of chronic illnesses. Swiss Sports & Exercise Medicine, 2(65), 26-30. https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-148692

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