How can these help?

If you think about your emotions as living in your mind and your sensations being in your body, then mindfulness and relaxation techniques might not seem to make much sense.

For interactive techniques where you have to write out your thoughts and analyse them, you might think "how does that help with my loneliness/exhaustion/anger?"

You can find out more under each of the headings below.

Relaxation techniques

When you feel a strong emotion, like worry, you might have noticed that there are some physical sensations that come along with it, like a racing heartbeat, shallow breathing, perhaps a headache from tensing your jaw.

It can be helpful to notice how this feels, as it can help you to react to your emotion before it becomes overwhelming. Recognising that your heart is beating a little faster could warn you that you're starting to worry about something.

This is when understanding that you can have an impact on your emotions by actively changing your physical sensations might help.

Relaxation techniques have been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which can lead to a decrease in somatic and subjective experiences of stress when practised regularly. However, not every technique works for every person in every situation. It may take a little time, but trying a few and finding the relaxation technique(s) that work for you is genuinely worth the effort.

Somatic = relating to the body

Subjective = relating to your feelings

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Interactive techniques

These are different from the relaxation techniques as they guide you through different thinking processes, such as problem solving or challenging negative beliefs.

This type of exercise is often used during Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) to help you accept and change your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

These techniques won’t be helpful for everyone and every situation, and that’s OK. If you find one is not helping you with your feelings, don’t be disheartened. There will be something that will help, it’s just a case of trying different techniques until you find the one(s) that work for you.

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