Overcoming Stress And Depression
Using Relaxation Techniques

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Overcoming Stress And Depression Using Relaxation Techniques

A modest body of controlled clinical research supports the use of relaxation for dealing with stress and depression, especially when used in combination with an antidepressant program. [1]


Evidence for effectiveness

For example, a study by G.E. Murphy and team on 37 patients with relatively mild major depression found that daily sessions of deep relaxation (taught by experts) brought recovery to 73% of the subjects in 16 weeks. [1]

This outcome was more than double the recovery rate for subjects in the study placed on tricyclic antidepressants drugs, and comparable to the recovery rate for subjects placed on cognitive-behavioral therapy. [1]

Another study by Wayne Bowers, from the University of Iowa, found that the combination of daily relaxation and antidepressant drugs was significantly more effective for 30 hospitalized depressives, as compared to antidepressant medication alone. The effectiveness of the combination was also comparable to the effectiveness of combining drug and cognitive therapy. [1]

Relaxation for dealing with stress and depression does not only mean physical relaxation. The mind also needs to relax.

Below are some relaxation techniques that you may find useful in helping you dealing with stress and depression.


Biofeedback Training

Biofeedback training involves learning to regulate automatic bodily functions (i.e. functions usually outside of our conscious control) to reduce physical and psychological stress. It is often used in combination with other relaxation and stress reduction techniques.


How it works

With biofeedback training, portable electronic devices are connected to the body to detect changes in selected physiological responses (i.e. feedback), such as sweating, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, muscle tension and brain wave activity. Through emitting visual (e.g. flash) or audio (e.g. beep) signals, the user is alerted to these changes.

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