How to Relax

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/18/2024

Ever felt unable to relax even when you want to most? You are not alone.

Stress is an uninvited guest in our lives, often overstaying its welcome.

Discover practical relaxation techniques you can use daily—on your commute, at work, or even while watching TV.

From learning how relaxation boosts athletic performance and releases body tension, controlling breath for calmness, and understanding eye muscle relaxation's impact on overall well-being, to maintaining these techniques throughout your day.

The Importance of Relaxation in Everyday Life

Relaxation is a crucial factor that tends to be disregarded. We live in a frantic, hectic society where the requirement to succeed can lead to high tension levels. But did you know that regular relaxation helps reduce stress and boosts your overall well-being?

One significant benefit of relaxing more is improved sleep quality. A study by The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research found that people who regularly practiced relaxation techniques had significantly better sleep quality than those who didn't.

In addition to enhanced sleep, relaxation also improves concentration and focus. Feeling overwhelmed with an abundance of information, particularly during times of strain, is a common occurrence.

However, taking time out each day for some form of relaxation practice can help clear the mind and improve cognitive function.

Better Sleep Quality

Suppose you've ever tossed and turned at night, unable to get decent rest because your mind was racing with thoughts from the day or worries about tomorrow. In that case, it’s likely stress playing its part in your ability to relax enough for deep restorative sleep.

A practical technique like progressive muscle relaxation - which involves tensing and releasing different muscle groups - has been proven effective at promoting good-quality slumber

Boosted Concentration & Focus

The brain needs downtime, too. Just like our bodies need rest after exertion, our minds require moments of stillness to recharge and maintain peak performance.

This article from Harvard Health explains how relaxation techniques can help us to be more focused and productive in our daily tasks.

Relaxation Techniques for Improved Athletic Performance

Athletes understand the significance of physical strength and stamina, yet how about taking it easy? Believe it or not, knowing how to relax can be just as critical to your performance. It's all part of a balanced training routine.

Incorporating Relaxation into Training Routines

Practical athletic training isn't just about pushing harder—it's also about learning when to let go. Integrating relaxation techniques into workouts helps athletes recover faster and perform better.

Stretching, for example, is a simple method that promotes flexibility and relaxation. Regular practice can reduce muscle tension after intense exercises and speed up recovery.

The Role of Relaxation in Speed and Reaction Time

It may seem counterintuitive, but relaxing muscles between actions can improve reaction times. Why? Because tense muscles are slow to respond.

An athlete who knows how to relax their muscles quickly has an edge: they'll react more swiftly than one whose muscles remain tense while waiting for the next move. 

Identifying and Releasing Tension in the Body

Your body is like a sponge that soaks daily stress, leading to physical tension. Knowing where this tension hides can help you release it.

Recognizing Tension in the Upper Body

The upper body tends to be a hotspot for holding onto stress. Typical areas of tightness may be noticed in the forehead, scalp, eyes, chest area, jawline, neck, and shoulder muscles.

A furrowed brow or clenched jaw are clear signs of tension. If you have constant headaches or feel like there's an invisible vice around your head - that's often down to scalp muscle strain.

Similarly, chest tightness could indicate stress-related muscular issues rather than heart problems.

Techniques for Releasing Tension in the Lower Body

Tensions aren't exclusive to our upper bodies; they also creep into our lower half, primarily within our back and legs.

To ease these tensions, stretch out your hamstrings: sit on the floor with one leg extended and gently lean forward. This simple move can alleviate lower back pain related to tense muscles.

Another technique is progressive muscle relaxation, which involves tensing and releasing different muscle groups from the toes upwards. It helps identify how relaxed muscles should feel, making it easier to spot when they're becoming tense again.

Breathing Techniques for Relaxation

Controlling your breath can be a powerful tool to achieve relaxation. One such technique is equalized breathing. It involves taking slow, deep breaths equal in length on the inhale and exhale.

The Role of Equalized Breathing in Relaxation

Equalized breathing helps you shift from the stress-inducing fight-or-flight response of your nervous system to its calming rest-and-digest mode. 

This form of conscious respiration promotes calmness and allows you to handle stressful situations better. This practice has not only psychological benefits but also physical ones. 

Deep, balanced breaths can lower heart rate and blood pressure while reducing levels of stress hormones. So, it's not just about feeling relaxed; it's about creating an internal environment where relaxation thrives.

To start practicing this beneficial exercise, sit comfortably or lie flat on your back. Inhale through the nose for four seconds, then exhale slowly out of the mouth for another four seconds.

The Impact of Eye Muscle Relaxation on Overall Well-being

Did you know simple eye exercises can help reduce stress and promote relaxation? Let's delve into this lesser-known facet of wellness. Stress often causes us to tense up, including in our eye muscles. 

This tension can lead to symptoms like eyestrain, blurry sight, and headaches. Try some gentle exercises to start your journey towards relaxation through your eyes. 

For instance, slowly rolling your eyeballs clockwise and then anticlockwise, closing your eyes gently for a few seconds before opening them wide, and focusing on distant objects intermittently when working long hours at a computer screen.

All these activities give those strained muscles much-needed breaks throughout the day.

A Look at Science

Evidence supports this focus on eye muscle relaxation, too. Eye-relaxing techniques significantly improved subjective feelings of well-being among participants with no known ocular diseases.

This surprising connection between our peepers' comfort level and overall mood highlights an easy-to-overlook way to enhance daily life quality—particularly given today's screen-intensive lifestyles.

Beyond Stress Relief

Moving beyond stress relief, eye muscle relaxation also plays a role in improving concentration and focus. When your eyes are relaxed, it helps you to stay more alert and attentive.

So next time you feel bogged down by stress or fatigue, remember: a few simple exercises could help your eyes—and through them, yourself—relax.

Applying Relaxation Techniques in Daily Life

Relaxation isn't just for your off hours. Even during a hectic day, you can locate times to take it easy and reduce tension. Let's explore ways to relax and de-stress at work and home.

Relaxation Techniques for Work Stress

We all know that work can be stressful, but it doesn't have to overwhelm us. Start by taking short daily breaks to do simple breathing exercises or stretches.

These quick pauses not only help reduce stress levels but also improve productivity. Avoid multitasking as much as possible because it increases tension rather than getting more done. 

Relaxation Techniques for Home Life

The end of a long day should mean time to relax, but sometimes, we carry our work-related stress home.

To fix this issue, create boundaries between your professional and personal life, perhaps through a calming activity like reading or gardening before starting household chores.

Consider practicing mindful eating; savoring each bite helps shift focus from daily worries to something enjoyable, ultimately leading to better mental health.


Relaxing and reducing stress doesn't have to be a mystery anymore. You've learned the significance of relaxation in everyday life. Enhancing sleep, boosting attention, and improving overall health are all connected to calming down.

Now you know how to release stress from your body—from the upper body tension hotspots like the forehead or shoulders—to techniques for relaxing muscles in the lower back and legs.

With these daily practical techniques, you're ready to keep stress under control—whether at work or home. So start today: Live relaxed; live better!


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