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Stress Management and Relaxation

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Relaxation Techniques
Technique Description Disadvantages Cost/Availability
Massage Someone rubs and soothes your muscles, back, neck, and head Beware Of A masseuse who makes you uncomfortable High cost, appointment usually needed
Meditation Learning to put your mind in a focused but relaxed state Distractions, feeling too pressured to meditate; this is not for everyone Free, portable
Yoga Spiritual deep breathing, stretching, and holding strengthening postures Uncomfortable postures, pain with activity, pushing yourself too far Medium cost; at-home tapes inexpensive; need small space and comfortable clothing although mini-yoga moves can be done anywhere
Deep breathing Using mantras or counting to breathe in good and exhale bad thoughts or simply relax the body and mind rhythmically Holding your breath too long, becoming light-headed Free, portable
Conversation with a friend or understanding family member Discussing what makes you stressed or simply being with someone who makes you feel happy Negative comments, questions Free, can be done by phone anywhere
Visualization Picturing a relaxing scene such as a beach Letting other thoughts in that are not relaxing or stressful Free, portable, effective
Water therapy Floating, swimming, taking a bath Uncomfortable temperatures Inconvenient but can be inexpensive
A nap A catnap is less than 30 minutes Oversleeping can ruin your sleep schedule Free, sometimes inconvenient
Watching a movie/ TV Laughter or escape can be very relaxing Stressful commercials, other people, subject change to stressful topic Inexpensive, relatively easy
Hobbies Cooking, painting, gardening, or whatever makes you feel relaxed Getting too caught up in perfectionism You should make this inexpensive and easy!
Spending time with a pet Studies show petting an animal reduces blood pressure A disagreeable animal Pets are a time and financial commitment


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From The Active Woman's Health and Fitness Handbook by Nadya Swedan. Copyright © 2003 by Nadya Swedan. Used by arrangement with Perigee, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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