Progressive Muscle Relaxation Training
How to Ease Depression with Relaxation Techniques
Living with depression can be an immense struggle. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or hopeless, relaxation techniques could help you find some relief.Try doing breathing exercises, meditation, and positive thinking practices. Physical activities, like stretching, yoga, and aerobic exercise, can also help ease symptoms of depression. Remember that self-care is key to reducing stress and coping with depression. Eat a healthy diet, do your best to get enough sleep, and do something daily that nourishes your mind and body.
Short Video: How to Ease Depression with Relaxation Techniques
The best way to ease depression with relaxation techniques is to meditate. Meditate for thirty minutes a day in a quiet place. Search for guided-meditation videos online if you need help. Practice controlling your breathing by inhaling for five seconds and then exhaling slowly. It may be hard at first, but you'll get there!Keep reading to learn how other techniques, like exercise and yoga, can help with your depression!
Calming Your Mind
Try controlled breathing exercises.Get into a comfortable position, then breathe in deeply through your nose and fill your belly with air. Count slowly to five as you breathe in, then gently exhale through your mouth as you count to five again.
- Do your breathing exercises for three to five minutes whenever you feel overwhelmed or experience other symptoms.
- Instead of counting as you breathe, you can also think or say a soothing word, like "relax."
Meditate for 20 to 30 minutes a day.Wear loose, comfortable clothes, and set aside some time when you’ll be free of distractions. Sit upright with your chest out and shoulders back. Keep your feet flat on the floor if you’re sitting in a chair, or cross your legs if you’re on the floor. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and envision your breath flowing in and out of you.
- Focus completely on your breath as you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Imagine each breath fills you with light, and draws wandering, chaotic thoughts to a single point.
- If you notice your attention wandering from your breath, just refocus again. Don’t judge or criticize yourself, simply return your attention to your breath.
- You can also look for guided meditations on YouTube and other services.
Practice positive self talk.When a negative thought comes to mind, acknowledge it instead of trying to push it aside. Say it out loud or write it down, then say, “This is a negative, exaggerated thought.” Challenge it with a realistic thought to take away its power.
- For example, if you starting thinking to yourself, “I’m worthless,” acknowledge the thought and say, “No - that’s an exaggerated, black and white thought. My family needs me, my friends treasure me, and my boss values my work.”
- Do your best to take the power away from negative thoughts before they start to spiral. Try not to see things as black and white or absolute and unchangeable.
Celebrate every small success.Throughout the day, stop to acknowledge small victories. Depression can make it tough just to get out of bed, so even something seemingly minor like getting dressed could be something to celebrate.
- Try starting your day by making the bed. It might seem trivial, but it’s a way to start off each day with an accomplishment.
- Praise yourself for things like cleaning, going outside, cooking a healthy meal, and exercising.
Visualize calming situations.Sit somewhere comfortable without distractions, close your eyes, and breathe slowly. Calm your mind by focusing on peaceful images. Think of a place that you find relaxing, like a childhood refuge, a mountain retreat, or an exotic beach location.
- Open your imagination to the sensations that you would feel in this place: the sounds, smells, colors, textures, and temperature. Visualize the place with as many sensory details as you can. Spend 10 to 15 minutes in this restful place before opening your eyes.
- Visualization can help you relax, minimize stress, and improve the quality of your sleep.
Visualize solutions to your conflict.You can also visualize positive resolutions if a specific conflict prompted your symptoms. Identify your conflict and bring its image to mind. If you stand before it and feel very small, inhale deeply, and imagine yourself growing taller and taller. Imagine that from this new height you have the power to see new ways to solve the problem.
- For example, if you’re feeling powerless, overwhelmed, and hopeless because of a fight with your significant other, envision yourself becoming larger than the conflict. Say to yourself, “I have the power to resolve this conflict.” Then, try to break down the situation into its facts, and visualize a conversation with your partner that could resolve the conflict.
Listen to calming music.Listening to music can ease stress, depression, and anxiety. Play your favorite soothing tracks when you’re at home, going for a walk, or driving your car. Instead of watching television, try turning on the stereo.
- The type of music that relaxes you will depend on your personal preference.
- Singing can also be a great way to relax or release tension.
Trying Physical Techniques
Stretch your muscles to raise your spirits.Take 10 to 15 minutes to stretch when you wake up and before you go to bed. Develop a routine and stretch your legs, back, and arms. Stretching regularly can energize your body, increase blood flow to your muscles, and help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Since it might be hard to get motivated enough to exercise, stretching can be a good way to get moving if you’re depressed.
Try progressive muscle relaxation.Set aside about 15 minutes of time free of distractions. Find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes, and take several slow, deep breaths. Inhale and tense one muscle group, such as your toes, then hold the tension for about five seconds.
- Let the tension go and relax the muscles as you exhale slowly. Notice the muscles go limp as the tension disappears. Repeat the process and work through the muscles in your legs, torso, arms, shoulders, neck, and head.
Try to get daily aerobic exercise.From walking the dog to taking judo classes, aerobic exercise isn’t just good for your heart. It can reduce stress hormones and stimulate mood-elevating chemicals in your brain. Focusing on movement while you exercise also allows you to take a break from depression and any conflicts surrounding it.
- Having an exercise buddy can help keep you accountable on those days when you just want to stay in bed. Try to enlist a friend to help!
Start doing yoga.Yoga involves meditation, physical exercise, and controlled breathing, so it can help ease both your mind and body. If you’re a beginner, look for classes at your local YMCA or yoga studio. You can also search for yoga videos on YouTube and health and fitness websites.
Taking Care of Yourself
Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.Depression and difficulty sleeping often go hand in hand.If you have trouble getting the recommended amount of sleep, try to work on developing healthy sleeping habits:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- Expose yourself to bright light just after waking.
- Avoid eating a heavy meal within two or three hours of bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, especially in the evening.
Eat a balanced diet.Foods that contain lots of sugar, fat, and salt can mess with your brain’s reward system, which can worsen depression. Do your best to limit foods that can worsen depression, and maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Make sure you eat the recommended daily servings of proteins, fruits and veggies, and grains. You can find your daily requirements, recipe suggestions, and other nutrition resources on MyPlate: .
Avoid consuming alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs.Like junk food, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and other drugs can mess up your reward system and worsen depression. Do your best to reduce your consumption of any of these substances. If possible, try to quit.
- Drugs and alcohol can also interact with prescription medications. It’s important to be honest with your doctor and discuss potential drug interactions with them.
Do something you enjoy every day.Allowing yourself to experience a simple pleasure is a key part of self care. Make a mental list of things you love to do and schedule time every day for your me-time.
- Examples might include enjoying a good cup of coffee on the patio, getting a massage, taking a hot bath, painting or drawing, and snuggling up with a blanket and good book.
Don’t overbook yourself.When you make too many commitments, you set yourself up to fail. Stress can lead to feeling overwhelmed and depressed, so try to avoid packing your schedule. Break big projects up into smaller tasks that you can complete over several days, and don’t be afraid to say no to commitments you can’t keep.
- Avoid procrastinating so things don’t pile up on you.
- Remember to give yourself time for breaks. Never feel bad if you need time to restore and recharge.
Try keeping a journal.Journaling can help you release tension, put order to chaotic feelings, track your progress over time, and find motivation to handle future struggles. Set aside 15 or 20 minutes to jot down that day’s events, your feelings, conflicts, and worries. Every two or three weeks, read back your entries to remind yourself how you’ve overcome problems.
Do your best to stay social.Depression often leads to isolation, which in turn feeds depression and creates a vicious cycle. When you feel like isolating yourself, do your best to motivate yourself to reach out to someone. Give a friend or family member a call and ask them if they can hang out or have a chat.
- Other ways to stay social might be a local support group, religious services, or a group hobby or exercise class.
QuestionWhat is heartfulness? Is it different from mindfulness?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI think you're asking the difference between mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation? If not, sorry. Mindfulness is about being aware of you, your body, and your thoughts, and trying to clear them and be present. Loving-kindness meditation is meditating on sending out good feelings towards others, usually progressively to larger and larger groups.Thanks!
QuestionAt which point does a depressed person give up and how long will it last?Top AnswererEveryone has a different breaking point. For some, giving up is the only way to overcome a depression, because it helps them to accept the fact that they are depressed, which is one of the first steps in treating it. Others may be so daunted by the idea of giving up, that it motivates them towards healing a depression. Ask for help, take your time, remember that it is very normal to be depressed.Thanks!
- If you are thinking about hurting yourself or others, call the US suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.
- If you have symptoms of clinical depression for more than two weeks, contact your doctor about other steps you can take.
Video: Ujjayi Breathing + Letting Go of Pain or Anxiety (Meditation)
5 Tips To Avoid Cancer From A Doc Whos Devoted His Life To Preventing The Disease
Sensitive Blood Test May Help Rule Out Heart Attack
Empower and inspire women of today to lead healthier and happier lives
Harvard Scholars Argue in Favor of Bed-Sharing with Your Baby
Popular Asian Hairstyles for Men
Do These 5 Moves for Perfectly Toned Arms at Your Wedding
Apple-Glazed Baby Carrots
Is Low-Carb Bread Better For You Than Regular Bread
4 Types of Spousal Support or Alimony Explained