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for more stress management techniques, Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief. Relaxation Exercises to Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression. You can’t avoid all stress, but you can counteract its negative effects by learning how to evoke the relaxation response, a state of deep rest that is the polar opposite of the stress response. The stress response floods your body with chemicals that prepare you for “fight or flight.” But while the stress response is helpful in true emergency situations where you must be alert, it wears your body down when constantly activated. The relaxation response brings your system back into balance: deepening your breathing, reducing stress hormones, slowing down your heart rate and blood pressure, and relaxing your muscles.