Effective relaxation in the workplace

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Laura Lillo Pulido

Laura Lillo Pulido

Forensic health psychologist

What can I find in this article...?

What are the benefits of a conscious and deliberate management of relaxation? Why can it be beneficial to know techniques to use it at work? 

One of the Royal Spanish Academy‘s definitions of relaxation refers to a “loss of tension suffered by a material that has been subjected to constant deformation“. Does this make sense to you? Where does the word “relaxation” transport you? You might associate it with vacation, summer, disconnection or rest, and in all cases you would be right. From a psychological perspective, relaxation is a fundamental tool that can help us to reduce physical, muscular and mental tension. 

So… Is there only one way to relax? One “right” way to do it? No! You may have tried different exercises and they may not be the most suitable for you or simply not the best for that particular moment. Making relaxation work will depend on many factors and trial and error will be critical. At this point, it is important to highlight that there are different techniques depending on the context, the experience and the origin of that specific tension. 

Effects of an adequate relaxation

Okay… And now that I know a little more about relaxation… What is it good for? Why would I want to learn to relax in the work context if it is already something I do naturally on my summer vacation?

Relaxation can potentially help you to:

  • Decrease skin conductivity. 
  • Increase body temperature. 
  • “Normalize” heart rate or decrease tachycardia.
  • “Normalize” also the respiratory rhythm.
  • Decrease blood pressure in hypertensive people. 
  • Decrease metabolic activity.
  • To increase the immunological defenses and the vital energy of the organism towards potentially harmful agents.
  • Decrease sensitivity to allergenic substances in the environment. 
  • To increase the general capacity of the organism against stressful stimuli. 
  • Decrease the discomfort caused by anxiety. 
  • Emotional stability. 
  • Improve efficiency and physical and mental performance in our daily activities. 
  • Improve our capacity for self-control in general. 

As a summary, taking into account scientific evidence and the World Health Organization we know that relaxation: improves overall health, increases life expectancy, has positive effects on mood, significantly reduces stress and anxiety levels, improves our social relationships and fights against isolation. 

Relaxation tailored to different situations

As explained in this article from the Official College of Psychologists, relaxation techniques are not paths to the same end but each has its own effects and must be adapted to each individual. That is, relaxation behaviors can be very varied, from sitting in your favorite chair, or reading a book, to the hundreds of relaxation techniques that currently exist and that require different levels of skills to practice them.

Often, the concept of relaxation is associated with the concept of structured activity, expensive, with which I need to isolate myself … But it does not have to be necessary this expensive work, from Mindfulness through other currents can be made practices that we can use in our day to day. In Wemby, we have an article explaining how we can incorporate mindfulness and meditation in our day to day life. Also in this article, they talk about various techniques that can be used at work to relax in just one minute.

What do our experts at Wemby recommend?

Relaxation is not only considered to be intentional and structured behavior aimed at relaxation. It is important to be aware of activities or moments in our routine that can contribute to this end. In this sense, Sandra Iriarte, psychotherapist and trainer at Wemby, classifies the different relaxation techniques as follows: 

Natural relaxation

it is very accessible and has a lot of value but sometimes it is necessary to be more focused or intense. Relaxing activities in our routine: going for a coffee, reading a book, listening to some music; contact with nature, physical exercise (relaxing effect during and after), chromotherapy (different colors that activate or deactivate us), contact with certain people (positive social exchanges), and contact or care with animals. 

Autogenic training

Training us to relax ourselves, this is something structured that demands our will, and involves a temporary brief isolation (I can not be attentive to other things). One of the best known exercises at this point is the body path, which can be adapted according to our objective and the origin of our tension, as explained in this article from Siquia

Jacobson's progressive muscle relaxation

It is also a structured activity that has specific steps to follow to learn it. It can be applied in a general or localized way, if for example I have a headache I can apply it in a short time in that area. If you want to know more about how to apply these tension-distension exercises, we recommend this NeuroClass article.

At this very moment you can begin to help your organization to minimize the impact that mental health problems can have on it. A good prevention strategy is key to alleviate the stresses and problems associated with work overload. Wemby will help you to have the necessary tools and support according to the specific needs of your team. 

About the Author

Hi! I’m Laura Lillo, a forensic and clinical psychologist. I  strongly believe that psychology services should be accessible to all.  I’ve worked in prisons and with kids with risks of social exclusion. This has taught me the importance of constant learning and improvement as a person and as a therapist.

If I’m not cooking, drawing or singing, the most likely scenario is that I’m playing board games. Right now, I’m busy learning and writing content for Wemby, an online psychology platform. During my weekends I’m Game Master in Exit Madrid, a escape rooms company.

Wemby provides online therapy and wellbeing services delivered by experienced psychologists. Our team is here to help you start building your balance and emotional wellbeing today.

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