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"You just need to relax!" Well, how???

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

Have you ever been told by someone to "Just relax!" when dealing with something stressful or aggravating? It's quite common, and my challenge to this statement is, "Well, how?"

When a communicative partner tells you to "Relax" or "Take a chill pill", what does that really mean? Yes, they are expressing concern and trying to help in some way, but is there an actual, effective process to do this?

One of the skills I work on with patients is how to relax yourself through deep breathing exercises. If you're new to therapy, learning "how to breathe" might sound hokey or silly, but how often does one actually think about breathing when they are breathing? Mindfulness, deep breathing, and cognitive behavioral therapy can all contribute to the skill of learning how to regulate your emotions and body reactions.

In this article, I've attached an image a good friend of mine drew up for me. I have used this handout for years and have distributed it to countless patients. A common reaction I've heard is "I've never had this explained to me in this way before, it makes sense!"

Here's the image below. Feel free to save it, share it, and use it!

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