Relaxation techniques

Stress can make it more difficult to take care of your body and to lose weight. It can disrupt your sleep, rob you of energy you need to exercise, and make it hard to tune into needs like hunger or thirst. Spending a few minutes a day on relaxation techniques can help you feel more relaxed, clearing your mind so it’s easier to make healthy decisions.

Check out the relaxation techniques below.  You don't have to use all these methods, but you may try each one to see which works best for you. They may feel strange at first, so try them a few times to get comfortable.

Deep breathing. Deep breathing is one way to relax anytime, anyplace. It’s the basis for most relaxation techniques. The goal is to breathe slowly, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeat this until you feel calm. 

Visualization. Visualization, or guided imagery, can help you retreat to a peaceful space, no matter where you are. Think of a place, real or imagined, where you feel at peace. A beach? The mountains? Your favorite room? Once you create a place, you can go there anytime to help you cope with stressful emotions and find comfort. 

Progressive muscle relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) can help you relax your muscles by teaching you to pay attention to your body. The basic idea is to tense and then release each muscle group, starting at your feet and moving up your body. 

Meditation.  One type of meditation is mindfulness meditation. The goal is to achieve a relaxed awareness of the body, breath, and thoughts in the present moment. Pay attention to all three equally. You are not meant to change anything, but just to observe yourself as you already are.