8 Aug 2021

6 Science-Backed Techniques to Manage Stress

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Staying in an abusive relationship for a long time can cause detrimental effects on physiological and psychological health. Victims have a hard time living a normal functional life due to the changes and dysfunctionalities registered in the brain, nervous system, and overall body due to stress from various forms of abuse. Here are some coping strategies that can be used for survival.

Coping skills

Coping skills can prove effective in dealing with stress if the skills adopted are suited to the needs of the individual. In simple terms, it can be described as ways in which a person tries to deal with the stress experienced by him or her.

There are four types of coping skills adopted by people as per their preferences:- Avoidant, Emotional Focused, Proactive, and Problem Focused.

Avoidant: Avoiding stressful situations.

Emotion Focussed: Managing emotional reaction towards the events causing stress.

Proactive: Directly confronting stressful events. This coping style helps develop a better idea about the stress-creating situation.

Problem Focussed: Identification of the source of the problem to understand how to deal, modify or eliminate it.

Stress Management Techniques

There are several physical and mental effects of stress on an individual going through abuse of adversities of life various techniques suggested by professionals and scriptures that can be used for dealing with stress.

The various stress management techniques are relaxation techniques, meditation, mindfulness, cognitive restructuring, and so on.

1. Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques can be used to reduce muscle tension caused due to stress. Muscles tense as a reflex action to guard oneself against injury and harm and relax back when the event passes. When someone has spent considerable time in abusive relationships or adverse life situations, these muscles do not relax independently. Tense muscles cause dysfunction in different body organs, leading to various physiological ailments affecting the overall quality of life.

Relaxation exercises should be carried out in free time, in isolated space, undistracted, and while being conscious of any potential problems like backache, fractures, or other injuries.


STEP 1. Relaxing Hands

Clench each fist separately (right & left), feel the tension in the fist and forearm respectively for 5 seconds Release the fist, relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds

STEP 2. Relaxing Arms

Bend each arm separately (right &left) up at the elbow and tense the biceps, keeping the hand relaxed, feel the tension for 5 seconds. Release the arm, relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds
Straighten the arm separately (right &left) and tense the triceps leaving the lower arms supported by the chair with the hands relaxed, feel tensing for 5 seconds. Relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds

STEP 3. Relaxing Facial Muscles

Wrinkle your forehead; try to make your eyebrows touch your hairline which produces tension, feel the tension for 5 seconds. Release the eyes brows relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds.
Close your eyes and screw the muscles around the eyes for 5 seconds. Release, relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds.
Tense the jaw by biting the teeth together, feel the tension in the jaw muscles for 5 seconds. Release, relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds
Press the tongue hard and flat against the roof of the mouth with lips closed notice tension in the throat and feel it for 5 seconds. Release, relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds.

STEP 4. Relaxing Neck & shoulder

Push the head back as far as it will go (against a chair), feel the tension for 5 seconds. Bring the head to its position, relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds.
Bring the head down and press the chin down onto the chest for 5 seconds. Bring the head to its position, relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds.
Tense shoulder by tightening and shrinking shoulders ( Shrug your shoulders up to your ears ), feel the tension for 5 seconds. Release, relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds.

STEP 5. Relaxing Chest

Take a deep breath, completely filling the lungs, hold the breath for few seconds and passively exhale. Relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds.

STEP 6. Relaxing Stomach

Pull in the stomach and tense the stomach muscle for 5 seconds. Release the stomach, relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds

STEP 7. Relaxing Back

Arch your back away from the chair feel tension for 5 seconds. Relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds.

STEP 8. Relaxing Thighs & Buttocks

Tens both thigh muscles and buttocks by squeezing muscles together and feel tensing for 5 seconds. Release the muscles, relax and feel relaxation for 10seconds.

STEP 9. Relaxing Lower Legs

Point toes towards your head, producing tension in calf muscles, feel tensing for 5 seconds. Relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds.
Point the toes away from the head, feel the tension for 5 seconds. Relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds

STEP 10. Relaxing Toes

Relax and feel relaxation for 10 seconds.

STEP 11. After Exercises

Relax whole body completely
Keep your eyes closed and let yourself remain in the relaxed position
Open your eyes and enjoy renewed energy, feel relaxed and refreshed.
Sit up, stretch, and stand up slowly, and do not make any jerky movements.
References: 1. Keith Hawton, Paul M Salkovskis, Joan Kirk, David M Clark (1989) Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Psychiatric Problems. A Practical Guide, Oxford University Press, India, pp. 472.

2. Mediation

Meditation is the English word for "Dhyana" which means quieting the mind from outer disturbances and focusing on relaxation for attaining awareness and spiritual growth. Meditation also relaxes the body and hence reduces the negative impact of stress.

There are different types of meditations like Transcendental meditation, Vipassana meditation, Guided meditation, Mindfulness meditation, Metta meditation, and chakra Meditation.

Transcendental meditation

This is chanting of mantra or maha-mantra repeatedly for fix number of times usually 108 times on a chanting bead. This is primarily done as a spiritual practice but it also has immense positive effects on physical and mental health. This should be done in a quiet place while focussing fully on the words chanted without any mental or physical distractions. Duration can vary from 15 minutes to 2 hours depending upon the manta.

Vipassana meditation

It involves focussing on different bodily sensations to create a connection between body and mind which helps in self-observation and hence transformation.

Guided meditation

In this method, a guide helps to visualize relaxing and comforting images and scenarios with closed eyes in a quiet place while sitting or lying in a comfortable position.

Mindfulness meditation

This is done by sitting comfortably in a quiet place and honestly focusing on one's thoughts and emotions without being judgemental.

Metta meditation

This is done by sitting at a quiet place in a comfortable position, doing several deep breaths, and then directing love and kindness towards others by repeatedly saying words that express love, kindness, and gratitude towards other people in one's life.

Chakra Meditation.

This involves bringing equilibrium in the seven chakras of our body.

3. Yoga

Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. As per Yogic scriptures, the practise of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, Man & Nature.

( Source: https://www.mea.gov.in/search-result.htm?25096/Yoga:_su_origen,_historia_y_desarrollo)
Yoga consists of Asanas (bodily postures), breathing exercises, and meditation.
The three main types of Yoga are Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Jnana Yoga. Yoga works on the level of one’s body, mind, emotion, and energy. This has given rise to four broad classifications of Yoga: karma yoga, where we utilize the body; bhakti yoga, where we utilize the emotions; gyana yoga, where we utilize the mind and intellect; and kriya yoga, where we utilize the energy.

( Source: https://www.mea.gov.in/search-result.htm?25096/Yoga:_su_origen,_historia_y_desarrollo)

1. BHAKTI YOGA: Yoga related to devotion.
2. KARMA YOGA: Yoga is related to one's actions.
3. JNANA Yoga: Yoga related to knowledge.

Yoga Asanas
Some important types of yoga asanas beneficial for stress management are:-

Padmasana or Lotus Pose






Note: All poses must be done under the strict supervision of specialist Yoga Instructors only, as any deviation from the desired pose may cause potential harm.

Pranayama: Pranayama is the yogic practice of focusing on the breath. Prana means "vital life force", and Yama means to gain control. In yoga, breath is associated with the prana, thus, pranayama is a means to elevate the Prana Shakti or life energies. In texts like the Bhagawad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and later in Hatha Yoga texts, it meant the complete suspension of breathing.
Pranayama is mentioned in verse 4.29 of the Bhagawad Gita( Source: Wikipedia)

Pranayam helps reduce stress and is good for the body also.

The process :
Put right thumb on the right nostril and deeply inhale through the left nostril.
Close your left nostril with your right index finger and hold your breath for few seconds.
Exhale through your right nostril.
Repeat the process with the left nostril.

5. Mindfulness
This method involves sitting at a secluded place away from distractions and paying attention to our thoughts and emotions. Practising this exercise regularly gradually makes us a mindful person, one who is aware of his thoughts and emotions all day log during daily activities and not just during the mindfulness session. Becoming mindful can do wonders to the various areas of our lives and relationships

6. Biofeedback
Biofeedback is a technique used to learn to control one's bodily functions. The process involves connecting a person to electrical sensors that display information about his body. Therapists use various biofeedback methods depending on your health problems and goals. Biofeedback types include Brain waves, Breathing, Heart rate, Muscle contraction, Sweat gland activity, and Temperature.
(Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/biofeedback/about/pac-20384664
Knowing and understanding the biofeedback can help the person in manipulating and controlling them.

The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and, are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please seek the advice of a qualified mental health professional with any questions you have regarding a medical health condition.
All types of practices are safe and give the best results when done under a professional's supervision.

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