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Relaxation techniques against inner restlessness

Various rela­xa­ti­on tech­ni­ques are effec­ti­ve against fears, ten­si­on, ner­vous­ness and inner rest­less­ness. Learn the signs and tech­ni­ques to relax yours­elf in this artic­le and find the right one for your uni­que situation.

Lack of balance between tension and relaxation

Fears, ner­vous­ness and stress in ever­y­day life are bur­dens on the body. If they per­sist, the­re is often no lon­ger a sta­te of dor­man­cy for a long time. The result is con­stant irri­ta­bi­li­ty, a bad mood and a lack of atten­ti­on to others. The­se sym­ptoms should be trea­ted at an ear­ly stage befo­re they “chro­ni­fy”, ie beco­me per­ma­nent. Espe­ci­al­ly if they dis­turb sleep.

Can­cer can also make you rest­less and inse­cu­re. Beco­ming awa­re of living with a life-threa­tening ill­ness is not easy. It can express its­elf, for exam­p­le, through nau­sea, heart pal­pi­ta­ti­ons, short­ness of breath on the body and thus con­tri­bu­te to ten­si­on. In addi­ti­on to many phy­si­cal com­plaints, the dia­gno­sis also weighs on the soul. Inner rest­less­ness, ner­vous­ness and fear are side effects that many peo­p­le with can­cer expe­ri­ence. And it’s not always the fear of can­cer its­elf that stirs things up. Pati­ents may also be stres­sed by the accom­pany­ing exami­na­ti­ons, the­ra­pies or dis­cus­sions with the doc­tors. Wai­ting for a result or that the tre­at­ment is final­ly over. And then the­re is ever­y­day life that needs to be mastered.

Relaxation is a neural process

The para­sym­pa­the­tic ner­vous sys­tem, i.e. the part of the auto­no­mic ner­vous sys­tem that can­not be direct­ly influen­ced at will, is respon­si­ble for the deve­lo­p­ment and rege­ne­ra­ti­on of the tis­sue. It can be acti­va­ted through rela­xa­ti­on tech­ni­ques as it pro­mo­tes the body’s func­tions at rest. The ant­ago­nist is the sym­pa­the­tic. This part of the auto­no­mic ner­vous sys­tem sends per­for­mance-enhan­cing impul­ses, crea­tes exci­te­ment, action, the body and soul are alar­med. The aim is to achie­ve a regu­la­ted balan­ce bet­ween the sta­tes of rela­xa­ti­on and ten­si­on. But which method suits whom, ever­yo­ne has to find out for themselves.

Various relaxation methods help against inner restlessness

  • Phy­si­cal acti­vi­ty is good against ner­vous­ness, inner rest­less­ness and stress. Whe­ther jog­ging, swim­ming or cycling, regu­lar exer­cise has a balan­cing effect.
  • Pro­gres­si­ve mus­cle rela­xa­ti­on helps to stay ten­si­on free by con­scious­ly ten­sing and then rela­xing all the mus­cles in the body. When we are stres­sed, we often invol­un­t­a­ri­ly ten­se mus­cles unneces­s­a­ri­ly. This leads to ten­si­on and often to pain. It is recom­men­ded to fol­low ins­truc­tions, for exam­p­le from the AOK (link) or Tech­ni­ker Kran­ken­kas­se (link).
  • Auto­ge­nic trai­ning is a form of self-hyp­no­sis that cau­ses the phy­si­cal, vege­ta­ti­ve func­tions (e.g. blood cir­cu­la­ti­on, pul­se rate, breathing) to switch to a sta­te of rest. The aim is to be able to relax holi­sti­cal­ly. Cer­tain phra­ses are repea­ted to bring the enti­re body into a sta­te of rela­xa­ti­on. For exam­p­le, a sen­tence reads “My breathing is calm.” Or “My leg is very hea­vy.” The­re are also audio-visu­al ins­truc­tions for auto­ge­nic trai­ning (link).
  • Ima­gi­na­ti­on tech­ni­ques: The various methods work with inner images (thought or fan­ta­sy jour­neys). Posi­ti­ve emo­ti­ons are streng­the­ned, ten­si­on and rest­less­ness rece­de into the back­ground. The­re are pro­fes­sio­nal ins­truc­tions for this in apps (Mind­space or 7Mind), for example.

Sometimes medication helps too

If you have been fee­ling rest­less for a long time and no rela­xa­ti­on tech­ni­ques help, talk to your doc­tor. May­be medi­ca­ti­on will help. Howe­ver, to avo­id side effects, your indi­vi­du­al situa­ti­on should be dis­cus­sed. If, for exam­p­le, you are unable to sleep at night due to inner rest­less­ness, a sleep-indu­cing drug can be useful. If the focus is more on fears or worries, a cal­ming or anxio­ly­tic drug is more suitable.


Have you been fee­ling rest­less and ner­vous late­ly, or are you under­go­ing can­cer tre­at­ment? Then this is a com­mon side effect that you should take serious­ly from the first sign. Becau­se the­re are many dif­fe­rent rela­xa­ti­on methods and medi­ca­ti­ons that can help bring your ner­vous sys­tem into balance.


S3-Leit­li­nie/­Na­tio­na­le Ver­sor­gungs­Leit­li­nie: Uni­po­la­re Depres­si­on Lang­fas­sung. 2. Auf­la­ge 2015, Ver­si­on 3, März 2016, AWMF-Regis­ter-Nr.: nvl-005

Rup­p­recht R, Kell­ner M (Hrsg.): Angst­stö­run­gen. Kli­nik, For­schung, The­ra­pie. Stutt­gart W. Kohl­ham­mer Ver­lag, 2012

Apo­the­ken-Umschau, Rubrik “Gesund Leben”

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