Drug Free Stress, Pain & Insomnia Relief

  • April 4, 2019
  • /   K. Shams, M.D.
  • /   Drug Free,Mental Health
person on beach at dusk in yoga pose

Mind over the matter is REAL… it is not some hokey pokey… when you master the skills to put your mind over the matter, it works all the time. Mastering any skill needs practice, practice and practice. The following instructions can free you from Stress, Pain and Insomnia. Try them. What do you have to lose? 

1. Breathing Exercises

Many people do not think about breathing much throughout the day, the week, or the year. Although it is not often thought of, breathing is necessary for survival and is an essential part of our existence. However, breathing can also be used as a tool to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. That’s right; many breathing exercises can be used to benefit mental and physical health!

It is vital to start with belly breathing or the abdominal breathing technique to effectively begin learning these breathing exercises.

  • Abdominal Breathing Technique

The abdominal breathing technique is the basis of all breathing exercises.

To begin, sit down in a comfortable position, putting one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, and take a deep breath in through the nose. Make sure the diaphragm inflates fully to create a slight stretch in the lungs. The breath should push the hand on the stomach out, while the other hand on the chest does not move.

Try getting six to ten slow, deep breaths per minute for approximately ten minutes every day. There may be immediate benefits such as reduction in heart rate and blood pressure, and after six to eight weeks of regular practice, the advantages may become even more apparent.

The abdominal breathing technique works best before any event with the potential to cause stress. Now that you know how to complete the abdominal breathing technique, keep reading to learn many other breathing techniques that will help relieve stress.

2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise

Progressive muscle relaxation exercises are relaxation techniques that involve progressively tensing and then relaxing muscles or muscle groups.

By tightening a muscle and then releasing, you can feel the difference between tense and relaxed. Actively engaging in progressive muscle relaxation exercises effectively loosens and relaxes the muscles.

Make sure not to do any movements that cause pain. If any of these exercises causes discomfort, ease up or stop to ensure that you do not cause muscle cramping or injury.

Sometimes if you are very tense already, actively tensing your muscles with progressive muscle relaxation exercise will not be helpful. If this is the case, you may want to try passive progressive muscle relaxation exercises instead.

Begin by finding a comfortable position sitting, standing, or lying down. You can change positions any time during the progressive muscle relaxation exercises to make yourself more comfortable as needed.

  • The first progressive muscle relaxation exercise is breathing. Breathe in forcefully and deeply and hold this breath.

Hold it...holds it... and now release. Let all the air go out slowly and release all the tension. Take another deep breath in. Hold it.... and then exhale slowly, allowing the tension to leave your body with the air.

Now breathe even more slowly and gently... breathe in....hold....out...breathe in... hold...out... Continue to breathe slowly and gently. Allow your breathing to relax you. You learn more about breathing exercise later in this handout.

  • The next progressive muscle relaxation exercise focuses on relaxing the muscles of your body.

Start with the large muscles of your legs. Tighten all the muscles of your legs. Tense the muscles further. Hold onto this tension. Feel how tight and tensed the muscles in your legs are right now. Squeeze the muscles harder, tighter... Continue to hold this tension. Feel the muscles wanting to give up this tension. Hold it for a few moments more.... and now relax. Let all the tension go. Feel the muscles in your legs going limp, loose, and relaxed. Notice how relaxed the muscles feel now. Feel the difference between tension and relaxation. Enjoy the pleasant feeling of relaxation in your legs.

Now focus on the muscles in your arms. Tighten your shoulders, upper arms, lower arms, and hands. Squeeze your hands into tight fists. Tense the muscles in your arms and hands as tightly as you can. Squeeze harder.... harder... hold the tension in your arms, shoulders, and hands. Feel the tension in these muscles. Hold it for a few moments more.... and now release.

Let the muscles of your shoulders, arms, and hands relax and go limp. Feel the relaxation as your shoulders lower into a comfortable position and your hands relax at your sides. Allow the muscles in your arms to relax completely.

Focus again on your breathing. Slow, even, regular breaths. Breathe in relaxation.... and breathe out tension.... in relaxation....and out tension.... Continue to breathe slowly and rhythmically.

Now focus on the muscles of your buttocks. Tighten these muscles as much as you can. Hold this tension.... and then release. Relax your muscles.

Tighten the muscles of your back now. Feel your back tightening, pulling your shoulders back and tensing the muscles along your spine. Arch your back slightly as you tighten these muscles. Hold.... and relax. Let all the tension go.

Feel your back comfortably relaxing into a good and healthy posture.

Turn your attention now to the muscles of your chest and stomach. Tighten and tense these muscles. Tighten them further...hold this tension.... and release. Relax the muscles of your trunk.

Finally, tighten the muscles of your face. Scrunch your eyes shut tightly, wrinkle your nose, and tighten your cheeks and chin. Hold this tension in your face.... and relax. Release all the tension. Feel how relaxed your face is.

Notice all the muscles in your body.... notice how relaxed your muscles feel. Allow any last bits of tension to drain away. Enjoy the relaxation you are experiencing. Notice your calm breathing.... your relaxed muscles.... Enjoy the relaxation for a few moments....

When you are ready to return to your usual level of alertness and awareness, slowly begin to re-awaken your body. Wiggle your toes and fingers. Swing your arms gently. Shrug your shoulders. Stretch if you like.

You may now end this progressive muscle relaxation exercise feeling calm and refreshed.

Sleep Hygiene (health):

Sleep Hygiene Tips “The Healthy Habits of Good Sleep” Here are some tips for how you can improve your sleep hygiene:

  1.  Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy. If you are not sleepy at bedtime, then do something else. Read a book, listen to soft music or browse through a magazine. Find something relaxing, but not stimulating, to take your mind off worries about sleep. This will relax your body and distract your mind.
  2. If you are not asleep after 20 minutes, then get out of the bed. Find something else to do that will make you feel relaxed. If you can, do this in another room. Your bedroom should be where you go to sleep. It is not a place to go when you are bored. Once you feel sleepy again, go back to bed.
  3. Begin rituals that help you relax each night before bed. This can include such things as a warm bath, light snack or a few minutes of reading.
  4. Get up at the same time every morning. Do this even on weekends and holidays.
  5. Get a full night’s sleep on a regular basis. Get enough sleep so that you feel well-rested nearly every day.
  6. Avoid taking naps if you can. If you must take a nap, try to keep it short (less than one hour). Never take a nap after 3 p.m.
  7. Keep a regular schedule. Regular times for meals, medications, chores, and other activities help keep the inner body clock running smoothly.
  8. Don’t read, write, eat, watch TV, talk on the phone, or play cards in bed.
  9. Do not have any caffeine after lunch.
  10. Do not have a beer, a glass of wine, or any other alcohol within six hours of your bedtime.
  11. Do not have a cigarette or any other source of nicotine before bedtime.
  12. Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal near bedtime either.
  13. Avoid any tough exercise within six hours of your bedtime. You should exercise on a regular basis, but do it earlier in the day. (Talk to your doctor before you begin an exercise program.)
  14. Avoid sleeping pills, or use them cautiously. Most doctors do not prescribe sleeping pills for periods of more than three weeks. Do not drink alcohol while taking sleeping pills.
  15. Try to get rid of or deal with things that make you worry. If you are unable to do this, then find a time during the day to get all of your worries out of your system. Your bed is a place to rest, not a place to worry. Make your bedroom quiet, dark, and a little bit cool. An easy way to remember this: it should remind you of a cave. While this may not sound romantic, it seems to work for bats. Bats are champion sleepers. They get about 16 hours of sleep each day. Maybe it’s because they sleep in dark, cool caves.

Taking Home:

It is imperative to understand that vital human functions such as breathing, heart rate, sleep, thirst, appetite, urination, elimination, menstruation (in women), temperature, ETC., are all self-regulating.That means they adjust themselves. The more we worry about these functions and the more we attempt to control them by Drugs, the more Dysfunctional they become. What should be done is to aid these functions by proper mental and behavioral ways, to take place and regulate themselves.