Monday 14 May 2018
Robyn Volkers â€“ Maggie's
Relaxation and breathing exercises can help you to feel more in control and manage difficult emotions.
Some exercises need more practice than others but finding out what works for you can help maintain health and wellbeing during or after cancer treatment.
Relaxation can help reduce anxiety, pain, stress and muscle tension.
It has also been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve sleep, digestion and focus and to boost the immune system.
Guided imagery (Visualisation)
Guided imagery, also known as visualisation, is when you use your imagination to create images that help you to relax or relieve symptoms like pain.
Progressive muscle relaxation
When you're stressed or anxious you automatically tense your muscles.
Progressive muscle relaxation helps you to be aware of the muscle tension by tensing specific muscles and then releasing them. This helps you be more in control of the muscle response to stress and helps your body feel more relaxed.
Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing)
Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term for â€˜taking in the forest atmosphere during a leisurely walkâ€™. It is also called forest bathing.
Research has shown a number of benefits of forest bathing, including reducing the stress hormone cortisol and blood pressure, boosting the immune system, improving mental clarity, and helping with anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Yoga, tai chi, and qigong
Yoga, tai chi and qigong are all forms of gentle exercise that combine breathing with movement and have been shown to help with relaxation.
Find your nearest ¾ÞÈéÎÞÂë to see what yoga, tai chi or qigong classes they offer
Mindfulness is the art of being aware of, and acknowledging, your thoughts and feelings.
Whilst mindfulness meditation may help you to feel more relaxed that isn't its main purpose. Mindfulness encourages you to focus on and acknowledge what you are experiencing in the present moment, rather than concerns about the past or the future and is usually combined with breathing exercises.
Other forms of relaxation
Relaxation can take many forms and what suits you may be different to others and your energy levels may vary.
Popular forms of relaxation include music, walking, running, reading â€“ whatever gives you the space to be able to relax.
Watch and listen to some relaxation and breathing exercises from our Cancer Support Specialists in your own time.
Being aware of your breathing and learning to change breathing patterns can help change how you feel and how you react to situations.
When you are stressed, your breathing gets faster and becomes shallower as you take on more oxygen. This makes your heart beat faster and causes anxiety levels to rise.
Breathing exercises slow your breathing down which sends a message to your nervous system that everything is ok. This reduces the stress response and calms both mind and body.
Breathing exercises can be adapted to suit the situation that's causing you stress.
They can even be a useful tool if you feel suddenly overwhelmed, as they donâ€™t need any equipment, and there are versions you can do without other people noticing.
Our Cancer Support Specialists have put together some breathing exercises for you to try in your own time.
Downloading an app to your mobile phone can help you use relaxation and breathing techniques wherever you are. Here are a few suggestions:
We offer a range of relaxation exercises and courses at ¾ÞÈéÎÞÂë find your nearest centre to see whatâ€™s on or just come in.
Try some of the audio exercises on this page â€“ try different ones to see which works best for you.
The libraries in our centres have a range of books and CD's. Browse through them to find the techniques to suit you.
Last review: Nov 2021 | Next review: Nov 2022
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