Before applying various stress release techniques to your life, it is important to understand the body’s response to stress. When the body goes into a state of stress, it releases chemicals that prepare the body for one of two possible responses, which are either flight or fight. The flight response prepares the body to escape from the stressor or cause of stress, and the fight response mobilises the body to actively confront the stressor. These stress responses can be life-savers and are, in healthy doses, important and natural. However, an overload of stress reactions in the body can cause emotional turmoil, mental illness and physical deterioration.
Stress in daily life is unavoidable, but steps can be taken to avoid dangerous overloads of stress hormones in the body. The aim of stress relief tactics is to slow the heart rate down, decrease the pace of breathing, relax the muscles, increase the flow of blood to the brain, and to stabilise the blood pressure.
Stress relief techniques, such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, meditation, exercise, and visualisation, have multiple benefits for both mental and physical health. For example, these techniques can lead to increased focus and energy, reduced the risk of illness, relief from pain and muscle tension, improved mental acuity and problem-solving abilities and increased levels of motivation.
People experience different results from practising stress relief techniques in groups or by themselves. For some, solo relaxation methods, such as doing breathing exercises alone at home, are more effective and alone time is an important component of having a successfully stress-relieving session. For others, social interaction can form a component of a successful stress-relieving session, which makes group meditation or yoga sessions a good option.