Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Techniques Part 1

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As we indicated in the Simple Physical Relaxation Techniques blog, it is important that you take control and find some relaxation techniques that best assist you to relax and to control your stress levels and increase your emotional resilience. Once you have mastered the 4 exercises that you found or will find in our Physical Relaxation Techniques blog it is time to combine any one of these with some simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Exercises and find the one that works for you:-

RELEASING YOUR TROUBLES AND WORRIES

 Create a Picture in Your Mind

Think of a view or a place or an object that you find simple, quiet and inspiring or use one of the following.

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Study every minute detail in your mind.

If you are sitting on the sand on the beach, feel the aetting sun warming your face, feel the breeze on your skin, smell the ocean air, taste the salty tang on the breeze, hear the waves washing right up to you and as you hear each and every wave, release all of your stress and throw it onto the waves to wash out into the ocean …… take a bad feeling and do the same with this feeling and just release it to the waves, repeat with a troubled thought, or a person who riles you or who has upset you … do it with everything that has angered, troubled, annoyed, worried or upset you until you are totally relaxed and free from all troubles and worries.

When using the sunset …. Do the same as you imaging the colour changing and fading until you are free from all troubles and worries and looking at a beautiful starry night.

When using the rainbow … do the same as you climb higher onto the rainbow ……. with each step leave another thing behind you. Climb right to the top of the rainbow and view the world free from all troubles and worries and as you begin to make your way down the rainbow know that you remain free from all of you troubles and worries as you step into a field of beautiful flowers and lush grass.

When using the garden …. Smell the flowers, hear the bees, watch the sun glint on dragon fly wings, and as you go through the gate leave all of your troubles behind you and imagine yourself walking along a golden path into beautiful warm, fern forest. Wind the path back to the garden but notice that when you walk back into the garden your troubles and worries have all gone and you a free to enjoy the garden with a feeling of peace and serenity.

RELEASING PAIN AND DISCOMFORT

Body Scan Meditation

To practice the Body Scan Meditation, get into a comfortable position, by lying on a yoga mat on the floor or on a bed. You can use a pillow under your head. You can also sit in a chair on in the Yoga position. Use the Controlled Breathing or the Progressive Relaxation exercise from our Simple Physical Relaxation Technique blog and gently bring your awareness to the present.

1. Concentrate on a specific body part, e.g. your right arm. As you breathe deeply, scan that part of your body for sensations – heat, pain or burning. Notice the sensations but try not to get lost in thought and feel the heat, pain or burning. Repeat in your mind – “ALL HEAT, PAIN, or BURNING IS GONE”…………. Repeat three times

Gradually let your focus move to different body parts—each leg, your hips, stomach, chest, hands, arms, and head. And do the same.

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2. Practice the Body Scan Meditation and do not worry if you become aware of your mind’s tendency to drift to other thoughts. When you notice this happening, just let the thought go and gently bring your attention back to your body. If you have any pain or discomfort, just notice it, accept it, and release it using the mantra and continue scanning

The more you do this exercise the greater control you will achieve over your pain or discomfort.

Also read our blog “Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Psoriasis, Stressed about Psoriasis – Identify Your Stressors and Yours Stress Responses, Simple Physical Relaxation Techniques for Psoriasis Patients, Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Techniques Part 2 – For Psoriasis Patients, Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation

 

 

REFERENCES

  •  National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NCP); Manage Stress Workbook; http://www.prevention.va.gov/mpt/2013/docs/managestressworkbook_dec2013.pdf
  • Relaxation Techniques for Health: What You Need To Know; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; https://nccih.nih.gov/sites/nccam.nih.gov/files/Get_The_Facts_Relaxation_Techniques_02-06-2015.pdf
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation; http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/ACF3944.pdf
  • Manzoni G.M. et al.; Relaxation training for anxiety: a ten-years systematic review with meta-analysis ; BMC Psychiatry 2008, 8:41 doi:10.1186/1471-244X-8-41
  • Franklin C.L. et al.: Relaxation Enhancement Therapist Manual; http://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn16/docs/Franklin_Relaxation_Therapist_Manual.pdf

Simple Physical Relaxation Techniques

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It is important that you and you alone take control – find the solution that best helps you and ensure that you keep doing it – remember it comes down to your adherence to not only your treatment plan but also in your efforts to control your stress and increase your emotional resilience.

The next step is to test some simple Physical Relaxation Techniques and find the one that works for you:-

Use the following to help you release muscle tension.

YOGA STRETCH

 1.         Stand relaxed with your arms hanging at your sides and place your feet comfortably apart.

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2.       Tilt your head back and count slowly to five.

3.       Roll your head forward and count slowly to five.

4.       Exhale as you curl your body forward and bend at the waist; arms dangling down and slowly count to five.

5.       Inhale slowly through your mouth as you slowly straighten up whilst raising your arms overhead – stretching as far as you can. Then            drop your arms slowly to sides as you exhale though your mouth.

Repeat several times.

CONTROLLED BREATHING

1.        Use a yoga mat or a folded blanket – lie down with your back flat on the floor and place a book or large magazine on your                          stomach.

2.        Bend your knees (you can close your eyes if this makes your more relaxed).

3.        Inhales and push your stomach upwards (but not you upper chest) as far as you can and slowly count to five, then exhale slowly.                You may also use the affirmative “I am relaxed” as you exhale.

Repeat several times.

Use the following after a physical reaction to a stressful situation to allow the physical changes of your stress reaction to subside and return to a non-stress state.

RELAXATION RESPONSE

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1.        Sit (or lie) in a comfortable position in a quiet environment with eyes closed.

2.        Start with your feet and mentally relax each muscle group moving up to the head—calf, thigh, waist, stomach, arms, chest, neck,              face, and forehead.

3.        Breathe in through your nose gently pushing your stomach out (but not your upper chest).

4.        Breathe out through your mouth and let your stomach relax.

Repeat this exercise for 10-20 minutes.

When finished, open your eyes but remain seated or lying for several more minutes.

PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION

1.        Lie flat on a yoga mat or a folded blanket – with your eyes closed and knees bent.

2.        Beginning with your right foot, press foot firmly to the floor and count slowly to five, then relax for the count of five; repeat with the              left foot.

3.        Straighten legs out and press back of lower right leg firmly to the floor and count slowly to five, then relax for the count of five;                    repeat with left leg.

4.        Press each of the following areas firmly to the floor and count slowly to five, and then relax for the count of five. (one at a time):

             a.      Back of thighs and buttocks

             b.       Lower back and shoulder blades

             c.       Arms

             d.      Back of head

REMEMBER: – to breathe normally as you press and relax. Repeat several times.

There are many other forms of Relaxations Techniques including, exercise, meditation, yoga, Tai Chi etc. On the internet there are many sites that offer other tips for relaxation exercises and meditation techniques…

Walking is an excellent form of exercise that will cost you nothing.

And of course other activities e.g. gyms and swimming pools will require membership fees to be paid.

Also read our blog “Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Psoriasis, Stressed about Psoriasis – Identify Your Stressors and Yours Stress Responses, Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Techniques Part1, and Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation – Part 2

 

REFERENCES

 

  • National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NCP); Manage Stress Workbook; http://www.prevention.va.gov/mpt/2013/docs/managestressworkbook_dec2013.pdf
  • Relaxation Techniques for Health: What You Need To Know; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; https://nccih.nih.gov/sites/nccam.nih.gov/files/Get_The_Facts_Relaxation_Techniques_02-06-2015.pdf
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation; http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/ACF3944.pdf
  • Manzoni G.M. et al.; Relaxation training for anxiety: a ten-years systematic review with meta-analysis ; BMC Psychiatry 2008, 8:41 doi:10.1186/1471-244X-8-41
  • Franklin C.L. et al.: Relaxation Enhancement Therapist Manual; http://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn16/docs/Franklin_Relaxation_Therapist_Manual.pdf

 

Stressed about Your Skin Condition – Identify Your Stressors and Your Stress Responses

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Whether you suffer from Psoriasis, Eczema / Dermatitis etc. stress is a recognized trigger that initiates and exacerbates fale ups. Being able to recognize what your Stress Triggers (Stressors) may assist you in modifying your responses and be part of the learning curve in managing your condition.

Identifying your Stressors

Use the list below to identify your stressors. For each item on the list, note whether or not it is important to you and whether or not you have control over it.

Changing Jobs/Promotion      Family Conflicts                      General Health   

Lack of Confidence                  Isolation                                     Money Worries

Pain/Fatigue                              Planning for Retirement         Public Speaking

Traffic to/from Work               Travel/Vacation/Holidays       Upcoming Wedding

Social Events                           World Events: War, Natural Disasters, Economy

Other:_______________        Other:_______________

 

  IMPORTANT NOT IMPORTANT
 

 

 

You are in Control

 

 

 

     
 

 

 

You do not have Control

 

 

 

   

 

 How Does Your Body Respond to Your Stressor?

Take note of what your body is telling you. Your body may constantly show a set pattern of response to stress and, as such, if you become aware of these responses you can then take the next step in trying to control these responses. These are classified as the following:

1) Physical

2) Behavioral

3) Emotional

4) Cognitive and

5) Spiritual

 

Physical symptoms include:- Shallow or rapid breathing, rapid heat beat, headaches, nausea or indigestion, hot flushes or sweaty palms, back pain, tight shoulders and/or neck or other unusual random aches and pains, insomnia and/or excessive fatigue, Psoriasis flare up.

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Behavioral symptoms include:- Excessive smoking, abuse of alcohol and/or compulsive eating.  Compulsive chewing of gum or inner cheek or grinding one’s teeth, especially at night. Aggressiveness, bossiness and/or being over critical of others;

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Emotional symptoms include:- Excessive impulse to laugh or cry, unhappiness for no reason and being easily upset. General boredom or nervousness and edginess. Extreme loneliness and/or overwhelming feelings of being powerless to change things. Over reacting and/or intense anger.

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Cognitive symptoms include:- Mental confusion/concentration – trouble thinking clearly or being able to do simple mental tasks e.g. adding numbers up or simply being able to read a book, forgetfulness, memory loss and loss of sense of humor.

Spiritual symptoms might include:- Loss of faith – doubt, martyrdom and just a general loss of direction in one’s life, being vulnerable to cult groups.

 

Identify Your Stressor Responses

When you know how your body responds to stressors, you can focus your attention on finding the best stress management technique for each one. Tick the box corresponding to your Body Responses as to when you feel stressed and identify what the stressor was.

SYMPTOMS STRESSOR SYMPTOMS STRESSOR
Chest Pain

 

  Fatigue  
Chest Tightness

 

  Lack of Energy  
Heart Palpitations

 

  Difficulty Sleeping  
Headache/Migraines

 

  Depression/Anxiety  
Neck & Shoulder Pain

 

  Sadness  
Teeth Grinding

 

  Crying  
Backache

 

  Irritability/Anger  
Muscle Crams/Spasms

 

  Frustration  
General Muscle Tension   Forgetfulness

 

 
Pain

 

  Worrying  
Upset Stomach/Nausea

 

  Restlessness  
Diarrhea / Constipation

 

  Lack of Motivation  
Increased Smoking

 

  Blaming Others  
Increased Alcohol Consumption   Loneliness  
Excessive eating for the sake of eating, not when hungry   Skin Flare-up (State the Condition) ________________

e.g. psoriasis

 

 

Now Rate the Severity of Your Stress Response

 

0       1        2        3       4        5       6       7        8        9       10

l____l____l____l____l____l____l____l____l____l____l

 

Not                        A little                   Somewhat                Very                        Extremely

troubled                troubled                 troubled                 troubled                    troubled

Date/Time Stress Level

(0-10)

What Did I Do? What Did I Think?
E.G.   9.30pm 10 Argument with Partner Yelled and stormed out I hated myself, I hated him/her, I hated life, I hated the way I felt
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     

 

Also read our blog “Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Psoriasis”, Simple Physical Relaxation Techniques for Psoriasis Patients, Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Techniques Part 1 – For Psoriasis Patients, Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Techniques Part 2 – For Psoriasis Patients”

 

 

 

References

 

  1. Bamber, Petrina Nicole, “Quality of life for patients with psoriasis : more than skin deep” (2009). Master’s and Doctoral Projects. Paper 272. http://utdr.utoledo.edu/graduate-projects/272
  2. National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NCP); Manage Stress Workbook; http://www.prevention.va.gov/mpt/2013/docs/managestressworkbook_dec2013.pdf
  3. Franklin C.L. et al.: Relaxation Enhancement Therapist Manual; http://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn16/docs/Franklin_Relaxation_Therapist_Manual.pdf

What is the Koebner Phenomenon?

The Koebner phenomenon was first described by Heinrich Koebner (1838-1904), one of the outstanding dermatologists of the 19th century. His initial observations and studies resulted from having seen patients who had developed psoriasis at sites of excoriations, horse bites, and tattoos and he first published his findings in 1876. However, the definition has been extended to include lesions developed after trauma in people with no pre-existing dermatosis. Several other skin diseases e.g. lichen planus, vitiligo and Darier disease, can also present with Koebner phenomenon. Koebner phenomenon occurs in about 25% of people with psoriasis after various traumatic injuries, but this may be much higher as patients may not recognize the original traumatic episode (e.g. insect bite) and therefore the Koebner effect may go unreported. 1

Koebner response may follow:
(1)     mechanical or thermal trauma – due to animal bites, burns, electrodessication, excoriation, freezing, friction, gunshot wounds,            insect bites, lacerations, nail manicuring, poor fitting shoes, pressure, shaving, surgical grafts, surgical incision, tape stripping,                  thumb sucking, x-rays, sunburn, tattoos (injury). 2

Bellybutton PsoriasisTattoo psoriasisPsoriasis after surgery

         Psoriasis after Belly Ring Piercing                                          Psoriasis after a Tattoo                                       After removal of Benign Growth

 

(2)  dermatoses – skin conditions e.g. carbuncles/furuncles (boils and/or cysts), dermatitis, dermatitis herpetiformis, dermatophytosis,          diaper dermatitis secondary to Candida infection, eczema, epidermal inclusion cyst, folliculitis, herpes simplex, herpes zoster,                   lichen planus, lymphangitis, measles, miliaria, perianal neuro   dermatitis, pityriasis rosea, psoriasis, scabies, seborrheic dermatitis,              varicella, vitiligo. 2

Psoriasis after Herpes Zoster

                  Psoriasis after herpes Zoster     

    

(3)     allergic or irritant reactions – following Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccination (tuberculosis), tuberculin skin test, hair                   spray, hair tints, influenza   vaccination, photosensitivity, positive patch testing, scratch skin test, tattoos (allergic reaction to ink),                 urticaria 2 , and

(4)     therapy – such as Grenz ray therapy – “ultrasoft” or “soft” radiation, roentgen radiation therapy, iodine application, ultraviolet light            (PUVA). 2

Psoriatic lesions usually form within 10-20 days of the wounding event (but may range from 3 days to 2 years). However, it usually coincides with the duration of the wound healing phase. This strongly suggests that skin in predisposed individuals may continue to develop normally right up until the substantial triggering skin trauma. 3,4

 

REFERENCES

  • Arias-Santiago A. et al.; The Koebner phenomenon: psoriasis in tattoos; CMAJ, April 16, 2013, 185(7)
  • Thappa DM. The isomorphic phenomenon of Koebner. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2004;70:187-9
  • Matovi? L. et al.; The Koebner phenomenon, a prognostic sign of PUVA therapy effectiveness in patients with     psoriasis vulgaris–yes or no?; Med Pregl. 1999 Nov-Dec;52(11-12):437-40.
  • Chee Ren Ivan Lam et al.; Wound Repair Studies Reveal New Insights to Psoriasis; http://www.intechopen.com/