For many of us, relaxation means zoning out in front of the TV at the end of a stressful day. But this does little to reduce the damaging effects of stress. To effectively combat stress, we need to activate the body’s natural relaxation response.

You can do this by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, rhythmic exercise, and yoga. Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood.

1. When you exercise or meditate, focus your attention on your breath. Slowly and deeply inhale through your nose, and exhale the same way out of your mouth (breathe in for seven seconds, hold for four seconds, and slowly breathe out for eight…repeat three times).

2. Breathe in a scent like coffee or roses that makes you feel good (I recommend lavender essential oils to help relieve anxiety and stress).

3. Rather than saying to yourself “I need to relax,” just focus your attention on any tense or numb parts of your body, squeeze or stretch it, and that tense area will naturally start to relax.

4. Focus on the present rather than on the past, or what may happen in the future

5. Don’t stress about things that you can’t control, focus on what you can do with the things that you can control.

6. Mind over matter. Redirect your negative/anxious thoughts to positive and confident ones.

7. Visualize in detail a scene that makes you feel peaceful; be there for a while.

8. Listen to music that calms you or lifts you up.

Whether you’re at work, school, or home, you can practice these simple techniques to relax and stay mindful of your personal well-being. At Fusion, it’s incredibly important that we support wellness in our community, so feel free to share your own relaxation tips in the comment section below!

Haley Doeppers is an English/History/Wellness/Life Skills Teacher/Mentor at Fusion Academy Warner Center. She is passionate about guiding her students to be successful learners in an open and caring environment. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of California Santa Barbara, her teaching credential and Master’s degree in Education from Antioch University. Haley spent a year student teaching at an alternative elementary school in K-4th grade classrooms, and traveled all over Southeast Asia for two months exploring diverse cultures and volunteering at a Cambodian orphanage. Haley enjoys going to the beach with her amazing black lab Roxy, and spending quality time with friends and family. She loves going to concerts, traveling, and playing sports. Haley has volunteered at the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center helping rescue and rehabilitate wounded and sick sea lions for the past three years. She is committed to making a positive influence in each of her student’s education.

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