Relaxation strategies are some of the most important things you can do for yourself. Relaxation will help you manage both the pain itself and the consequences of living with pain. These consequences include tense muscles, anger, stress, depression, and fatigue. For this reason, relaxation is often the best place to start.
There are many different relaxation strategies. The key is to try many or all of the strategies, to find the one that suits your personal style and preferences. Once you find your strategy, stick with it faithfully.
Unfortunately, relaxation seems to be something that people resist doing. Others may try once and give up before they see the benefits. Perhaps this is because spending time relaxing seems selfish or foolish or because learning to relax is actually hard work. In any case, you are strongly encouraged to give relaxation a fair try. One of these strategies will work for you. Start with one that appeals to you and practice it daily for at least two weeks. If you feel that you are not making progress or that it is not working for you, move on to try another one of the strategies. Give each strategy a fair trial before moving on. Once you find the one that works for you, stick with it.
Some words of caution before you begin: Some people actually become more anxious as they try to relax. If you find yourself becoming anxious while doing any of these techniques, stop and consult a psychologist.
Deep abdominal breathing
Progressive muscle relaxation
General information on relaxation
Audio guides for relaxation exercises
Visual guidance for relaxation (biofeedback)
- If you need some concrete feedback about your level of relaxation, try the Institute of Heart Math's biofeedback software for your computer. Check the website store.heartmath.org.