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Breathing techniques, Relaxation and Meditation. Library Image: Embrace the Day

There are many relaxation, meditation and breathing techniques, which can help relieve stress. Try them out and select the techniques working best for you.

- The 7/11 breathing technique is simple and very good to relieve stress, depression and anxiety. As soon as you feel the need to calm down, breathe in slowly to the count of seven; then breathe out slowly to the count of eleven. Carry on breathing in this manner until you notice a positive difference in yourself or for at least 10 in and out breaths.

-To relax after a stressful day, tense and then release all the muscle groups in your body, starting at the toes and legs and up to the head and neck.

- Sit or lie comfortably, close your eyes and let your body relax. When you breathe in, focus on something positive and when you breathe out, let go of all negativity.

-You can also use memories to relax. If you are feeling stressed, visualise an image of wonderful scenery you visited on holiday with as many details as you can remember. Imagine the beach, feel the sun or the wind in your hair. Do this for about 15 minutes and then open your eyes.

-The Yoga “Child pose” is also very effective to help you relax. You need to get on all fours. Then gently move your bottom down to rest on your heels and slide your straight arms forwards until your forehead is resting on the ground. Open your shoulders and feel the expanded space in your chest – breathe into that space and hold the pose for as long as it feels comfortable to you.

-Meditate and practice relaxation exercises on a daily basis. Meditation techniques have been proven to have major health and happiness benefits. Visualisation and breathing exercises used in meditation increase concentration and reduce stress. Create a space to meditate: imagine a tranquil sanctuary; a beach; a forest or simply a cosy room.

-Imagine that you are standing under a waterfall. A stream of water gently cascades over your head, running downwards over the outside of your body, taking with it tensions and negativities, which soak into the ground. Repeat a few times. Next, imagine the water entering the crown of your head, and running through your body. Use your imagination to visualise its force cleansing you. The water will drain the negativities and toxins out of your body through the soles of your feet.

-Consider attending a Transcendental Meditation (TM) course. To find out more, please visit Andre Berry's website.

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