Relaxation is literally the antidote to stress. While some feel that relaxation is just a fancy or mainstream-friendly term for meditation, it goes deeper than that. Dr Herbert Benson‘s research describes the relaxation response as being something elicited by meditation, not the meditation itself. It seems to be the biochemical opposite of stress, a hypothalamic response which is consistent with a state of decreased sympathetic-nervous-system activity.
While most articles seem to fixate on one technique for prompting the relaxation response, there is no one single method that works for everyone. Some options include meditation, prayer, yoga, tai chi, physical activity, knitting, and playing a musical instrument; anything that breaks the train of everyday thought. There are even “mini-sessions” that can be done to relax in a hurry.