Stress is part of our lives, from heavy traffic and spilled milk to significant life changes. We can’t totally avoid stress because it comes before rewards, victories, and all other enjoyable things in life. The best thing we can do is learn a healthy response to stressful situations.
Without effective stress management, a person’s risk of various health problems is high especially with the elderly. Stress can even exacerbate arthritis by releasing more cytokines, triggering an inflammation-inducing series of immune reactions.
Thankfully, you can perform easy relaxation therapies at home or almost anywhere.
1. Breathing Exercises
This is the most uncomplicated technique to fight stressful situations because you just have to concentrate on your breathing.
Find a quiet place where you can sit or lie down. Take a deep breath and hold it for 4 seconds through your nose. Hold your breath for 6-7 seconds, and then exhale for 8-9 seconds. Focus on how the air feels in your nose, mouth, and chest.
This technique helps increase the oxygen level in your brain, allowing it to process information better.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness is an ancient practice that encourages us to be truly aware of what’s currently happening in ourselves and the environment. It enables us to re-direct our attention to what really matters, rather than worry, fear, or be angry at the past or the future.
“Meditation helps me accomplish a lot of things because it brings me clarity and relaxation. After I meditate, my emotions are more tamed because my thoughts are now more organized. Sitting in silence helps me filter the problems that I can solve and those that are beyond my control.”
“Meditation helps me accomplish a lot of things because it brings me clarity and relaxation. After I meditate, my emotions are more tamed because my thoughts are now more organized. Sitting in silence helps me filter the problems that I can solve and those that are beyond my control.”, shares Novalease CEO Wheaton Madden.
3. Yoga and Tai Chi
Numerous studies have proven that these low-intensity exercises positively affect the mind and body, such as lowering blood pressure, improving sleep quality, and relieving pain.
Yoga involves deep breathing, concentration, stretching, and strengthening postures. You will hold postures and poses.
Tai chi, on the other hand, is more of a dance. It focuses on graceful, continuous movement accompanied by deep breathing.
Both practices are suitable for all fitness levels.
It is advised to consult a licensed yoga or tai chi instructor who can determine the best form for you.
4. Guided Imagery
In this technique, you think of experiences, scenes, or places to help you relax. It’s like going on a vacation. Just close your eyes and think of anything that makes you happy. It can be a pristine beach, a mountain view, a cozy café, etc.
Try to imagine how these places will engage your senses. How would the ocean breeze feel against your skin? What’s the scent of your favorite coffee?
There are lots of audio and videos online designed for guided imagery.
Aside from relaxation techniques, it’s also a good idea to use devices designed to alleviate discomfort. For those with arthritis, the Uccello Kettle features an assistive technology that increases your independence. Learn more about the Uccello Kettle here.