Relaxation techniques to cope with stress and anxiety.

People with persistent pain may experience increased physical tension and stress.  Pain is a stressor or source of stress.  Other commonly experienced stressors include lack of sleep, financial concerns, and family responsibilities.

Relaxation will help relieve pain, tense muscles, anger, stress, anxiety and improve sleep.

There are many different relaxation strategies to choose from.  It’s important to try different methods and find one that suits you.

Deep breathing

A simple technique that is highly effective.  As you breathe deeply, a message gets sent to your brain to calm down and relax. Find simple breathing exercises.

Guided imagery

Guided imagery helps you use your imagination to direct your thoughts toward a relaxing or peaceful scene (eg. lying on a tropical beach).  You can do guided imagery with audio recordings, an instructor or a script. Learn more about guided imagery techniques.

Mindfulness meditation

Meditation can help you relax and relieve stress.  The goal is to focus your attention on the things that are happening right now in the present moment.

Learning meditation is like learning to play an instrument.  It takes coaching and practice.  You can learn through books, CDs or in-person classes.

Progressive muscle relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation involves a series of exercise in which you tense your muscles as you breathe in and relax them as you breathe out.  You work on specific muscle groups in a certain order. Find a step-by-step guide on how to do progressive muscle relaxation.