Active Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief with bobi

Active Relaxation Techniques for stress relief

In this modern world, stress is an inevitable part of our lives. From minor annoyances like forgetting passwords or being caught in a traffic jam to major challenges like watching our loved ones in a painful situation, we suffer from stress every day. The majority of us think nestling into a sofa or passing out in front of our devices is a perfect way to relieve stress. But this isn’t true, nor is it effective. As a professional psychologist with over 20 years of experience at hand, I can confidently say that to put a brake on our stressful situations, you need to engage in active skills and strategies. We need to incorporate some proactive strategies into our daily routine that become habits. Active relaxation techniques are very powerful yet effective strategies for stress relief. This approach is not just a quick fix but a whole skill that, once acquired, will build your stamina against daily stressors. In today’s blog post, I’m going to walk you through the concept of active relaxation, why it is important, and its potential to alter your perspective on stress management.

Understanding Active Relaxation and Its Importance

Understanding effective active relaxation techniques requires an appreciation of how we best manage stress, and the scientifically supported ways we can implement these strategies in virtually any situation.

Defining Active Relaxation in the Context of Stress Management

In my years of journey in the field of psychology, I discovered that there are two types of relaxation: passive relaxation and active relaxation. As the name suggests, passive relaxation is all about activities like scrolling social media, watching TV, or sitting for hours on end playing video games. Although these activities do sometime reduce stress, we’re not actively managing our stress responses. The opposite of passive relaxation is active relaxation. Let me define it properly.

The definition of active relaxation is an act of engaging in conscious exercises that involve our body movement and breathing to let go of stress. Such intended exercises work to calm our bodies and promote a sense of profound relaxation by involving both mind and body.

Therefore, dislike passive relaxation, we seek to participate actively to enjoy better mental and physical peace. Detailed knowledge of this difference plays a critical role in empowering us to take hold of our stressors and learn how to relax. While practicing active relaxation, I’m not just responding but tackling stress at once.

The Science Behind Active Relaxation and Stress Relief

When we examine the science behind active relaxation, the advantages of this approach become crystal clear. Numerous pieces of research in psychoneuroimmunology, a domain at the crossroads of neuroscience and psychology, disclose that there’s a direct negative impact of stress on our immune system and inclusive well-being. Therefore, there is an imperative to activate our parasympathetic nervous system via activities like slow breathing or guided imagery to foster a “rest and digest” state. This “rest and digest” state is key for recovery from stress and maintaining our health. When I incorporate these techniques into my life, they reduce my stress in the short term and improve my body’s strength to fight effectively with stress-related situations. It leaves a deep and lasting impact on my health.

Active Relaxation Techniques to Try Today

In the ‘connected world’ of online activity, many people are increasingly struggling to find and enjoy true moments of peace. Unfortunately, unless we actively seek relaxation techniques our stress levels seem to build, often to a point of crisis (or burnout!).

Deliberately using strategies that enhance stress reduction, such as guided imagery and progressive (or ‘paired’) muscle relaxation, are useful options that take little practice to implement.

Guided Imagery for Mind and Body Harmony

The very first powerful and effective technique that I would like to recommend is ‘Guided imagery.’ Guided imagery is a modern form of traditional meditation. In this technique, the person imagines or visualizes a soothing scene or experience intentionally to reduce tension and anxiety. The very first step in this process is to locate a calm place where you can sit and practice the technique without any intrusion. Now, when you find a quiet place, close your eyes and start breathing gently, concentrating on your favorite soothing scene. It can be a calm tropical beach scene at sunset, your favorite childhood spot, or a scene raining in a lush green forest. Well, for me, it’s a beach scene. When you engage in these visualizations, your sensory experience often shifts to a position of calm.

When we integrate this technique into our daily routine, it aligns the mind and body and helps us break free from daily life stressors. Imagine you’re going on a vacation, but you don’t need to leave the room. The regular practice of guided imagery alleviates my anxiety and improves my capacity to concentrate. For me, it works like a keystone for my mental health regime.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Tension Release

Another amazing and life-changing technique that I always suggest to my clients who are stressed is progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a two-step method that involves the body’s muscles. In this technique, we tense and then relax the distinct muscle groups of our whole body systematically. The regular practice of this technique tells you what actual tension and relaxation feel like in your body. It’s better to begin your exercise with the muscles of your feet and then progressively go your way up until the forehead. I recommend that with every muscle group, first tense the muscles with your full force for at least five seconds and then let go of tension suddenly.

Another form of PMR is known as ‘Paired Muscle Relaxation’. In this practice, we are simply pairing our breathing to the tensing and releasing of our muscles. So put simply, when we tense our muscles we breathe in, and as we release our muscle we breathe out.

When we engage in this act of extreme compression accompanied by an intentional release, it shatters the chain of muscular tension containing stress. Our one session with PMR makes us physically relaxed and mentally energized. I found it useful before going to bed, as it fosters quality sleep by treating the physical signs of stress. However, if you’ve suffered from muscle spasms, back issues, or any other serious injuries in the past, it’s better to consult your doctor first.

Incorporating Movement into Relaxation

Active Relaxation Techniques for stress relief

As a psychologist, integrating movement into our relaxation drill transforms the options for stress management. So, I’ve found that yoga, pilates, and walking meditation are perfect marriages of powerful exercises that can lead to effective stress management. These practices play a crucial role in boosting our physical well-being and mental health.

Yoga and Pilates for Stress Management

When I was working to find efficient practices for stress relief, I witnessed the practical benefits of yoga and pilates. Many of us think these exercises are just limited to our fitness and not a good choice for stress or anxiety. However, a combination of controlled breathing, physical poses, and meditation in these practices make them all-inclusive practices, nourishing both mind and body. Besides alleviating stress and anxiety, they can enhance flexibility, balance, strength, and stamina. As a health professional, I ask my clients to begin their day with yoga. Yoga at the start of the day provides a great foundation to be able to manage the inevitable stressors that are awaiting. When we try different asanas (poses) strength, it builds up our physical body. On the other hand, engaging in breathing exercises fostering a sense of control and resilience.

Pilates is considered a perfect evening activity and correlates with yoga exercise. This practice emphasizes core strength and general body positioning. The attention and control that we need to practice pilates boost our physical stability and flexibility. Its benefits transcend the limits of physical enhancement; rather, they improve our mental regimen. When we concentrate on every movement, all our tensions and stress seem to evaporate, promoting a sense of profound relaxation.

Walking Meditation: A Path to Mindfulness

Another holistic technique that proves a secret weapon for my toolkit is walking meditation. For a long time, meditation has been used to manage stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. Similarly, walking meditation is considered a highly effective active relaxation technique. Traditional meditation includes practices like sitting motionless or doing the same actions repetitively, like repeating a few words. However, walking meditation blends movement with mindfulness – a practice to turn your concentration to the present moment. Therefore, walking meditation is an ideal approach for someone like me who finds sitting still really difficult. When you engage in a walking meditation session, make sure you walk slowly but intentionally, enjoying each step in the present moment. Engaging in walking meditation often reattaches people to the nature around theme. For me, it’s a soothing break from the indoor challenges of my daily routine.

Breathing Techniques for Immediate Stress Relief

Breathing exercise works magically in the realm of active relaxation techniques. When a client comes to me and wants to get rid of stress immediately, I always suggest breathing exercises. No other technique can stand in the face of breathing exercises given its instant impact. In my opinion, understanding the power of breathing to control emotions is the most powerful form of therapy currently practiced.

Slow Breathing Exercises to Calm the Mind

Slow breathing is considered extremely effective for stress relief because of its ease of use and quick sense of peace. When you feel like your stress is overwhelming you, start taking slow breaths. Start with a slow inhalation using your nose, which fills up your lungs, followed by slow exhalation also through your nose. This powerful approach to breathing fosters better oxygenation of our blood, and it treats the physical symptoms of stress. Consequently, we experience a sense of relaxation running through our whole body.

The Benefits of Regular Active Relaxation Practice

Active relaxation techniques are skills that, once you learn them, act like your personal defense mechanism against stress. The benefits of regular active relaxation practice can prove life-changing for our mental and physical well-being. For me, they always work wonders by pervading each facet of my life.

Improved Mental Health and Reduced Anxiety

Regular engagement with active relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and slow breathing in our routines, becomes a turning point for our mental health.

My clients consistently identify that these exercises reduced their anxiety levels and helped them sustain a more relaxed and peaceful mindset during stressful conditions. When we devote our time to such healthy physical activities, we experience an incredible enhancement in abilities.

Enhanced Sleep Quality and Energy Levels

The impact of active relaxation techniques transcends just physical and mental boundaries. These practices improve our sleep quality and boost energy levels. Techniques like the 4-7-8 breathing method speed up the process of falling asleep. When you wake up from a quality sleep, you experience a boost in your energy levels for the whole day. You feel more energized and refreshed, all set up to conquer the hurdles of the day with a positive and lively attitude. This repeating cycle of quality sleep and higher energy levels fortifies our dedication to consistent active relaxation.

Active Relaxation and bobi

Active relaxation techniques for stress relief

Over time, I realized that all of these exercises are worth considering for stress management. But after observing many of clients struggle to develop the habit of active relaxation I came up with the perfect relaxation device – bobi.  bobi is an innovative mindful device designed to foster active relaxation and help people manage stress. At the heart of this device is optimal breathing patterns. bobi utilizes the G.E.N.3.6.5 method, which guides its consumers to focus on gentle, even, and nasal breathing to attain a peaceful state. The cornerstone of active relaxation is controlled, slow, breathing, on which principle I built bobi for stress reduction.

How to use bobi for active relaxation

To incorporate bobi into your daily routine, focus on the tactile feedback it provides to imitate optimal breathing patterns. The rule is to start your session by using it three times a day, with every session lasting about five minutes. Regular practice with bobi will pave the way towards preferred breathing rhythms. It particularly aids in mental relief and stress reduction.

Tips for Integrating Active Relaxation into Your Daily Routine

If you want to integrate active relaxation techniques into your daily routine for efficient results, set certain times for exercise. From an expert point of view, consider early morning, midday break, and before bedtime. These are perfect times to concentrate on our breathing rhythm with bobi. Moreover, engaging with other relaxation practices like gentle yoga or mindfulness will supplement bobi usage and increase benefits.


As stress is inevitable, we must develop effective strategies to ensure we do not move towards burnout. In my professional journey of dealing with clients experiencing stress, I came to realize that adopting active relaxation techniques is the most important strategy for people to learn. These exercises arm us with the skills to take control of our stress. Given the reported rates of stress and burnout within the community, this is likely to remain a critical public health consideration over the coming years.

Active relaxation techniques

Frequently Asked Questions

1- What Are the Best Times to Practice Active Relaxation?

The best times for active relaxation practice are early morning and late evening when you can loosen up before bedtime.

2- Can Active Relaxation Techniques Improve Physical Health?

Yes, active relaxation techniques are your go-to tool for enhanced physical health. They treat the physical symptoms of stress, such as alleviating stress, reducing blood pressure, and improving immune brain function.

3- What is an example of active relaxation?

A perfect example of active relaxation is progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). A practice of systematically tensing and relaxing certain muscle groups of the body to promote better mental and physical health.

4- What is the best form of relaxation?

The best form of relaxation differs according to an individual’s inclinations. However, mindfulness meditation is a world-renowned practice for its potential for stress relief, enhanced focus, and better overall emotional strength.

Written by Damien Thomas BA(Psych); GradDipPsych; MPsych(Org), MAPS

Mr. Damien Thomas completed his Master in Organisational Psychology at Macquarie University, Sydney. He has over 20 years’ experience as a psychologist and has specialised in the field of adolescent psychology. Damien also worked within the field of national security, including counter terrorism operations, and war crimes investigations. Through his previous work he has featured in numerous international media publications including: The Australian, The Globe and Mail, New York Times, and BBC (radio).

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