Carla S. - December 15, 2020
How To Relax
Many people today are more stressed than ever, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Luckily, there are steps to take that can help your mind become more relaxed through fun and engaging activities.
This guide will explore ways on how to relax and how to relax your mind and body.
How To Relax Your Mind
The most common advice on how to relax starts with meditation. It’s easy to get into, although it takes some time to master.
The goal of meditation is to be in the present moment and quiet your mind. Listen to your surroundings, focus on your breath. If you’re breathing too fast, consider inhaling and exhaling at a slower pace, with larger breaths in between.
Popular apps like Headspace has promoted meditation and helps people keep track of their progress.
Writing down what’s on your mind and how you feel, why you’re feeling this way, how you can solve the problem, or just letting it all out on paper can be stress-relieving.
Invest in a journal, where you can also customize and personalize it to bring it more to life.
From there, write every day until your mind is more relaxed. You can use your journal to plan your days, write about how the events unfolded, and what you can change.
By journaling, you will feel more in control and train your mind how to relax and feel as though you’ve got everything under control.
While meditation involves breathing techniques, breathing exercises themselves focus on the act.
Taking deep breaths slowly reduces tension and relieves stress. It signals to your mind to relax and remain calm.
When you’re anxious, you tend to breathe faster, your heart rate increases, your blood pressure increases. By taking deep breaths, you tell your body, slow down, which then relaxes your mind.
Popular breathing exercises include:
- Belly Breathing
- 4-7-8 Breathing
- Roll breathing
Morning is the best time to try a breathing exercise. They also come in handy for the end of the day after a stressful day at work.
Listen to Music
Music can instantly change your mood and spirit. Calming music, or even sounds such as nature sounds, can ease your mind.
Listening to music as a form of relaxation has become so popular, there are specific playlists on streaming services, such as Spotify, to help calm the mind.
While you can listen to songs that you usually listen to, try a new genre, or different sounds. For instance, there’s the sound of rain, bird whistles, ocean waves, and other outdoor sounds that may relax you.
Different frequencies such as 432hz are popular as meditation music but aim to relax the mind and soul and are suitable anytime.
Walk Outdoors in Nature
Fresh air at the park or beach can be soothing and takes your mind off anything that’s bothering you.
Take a stroll alone, with a friend, or with your pet to relax.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, hiking, exploring, or bird-watching are options.
You can always visit a nature center, exhibition, or even a zoo during the weekend if you can’t roam a park during the week.
Many people’s solution on how to relax involves aromatherapy, which is fun and soothing at the same time.
Aromatherapy involves a device called a diffuser and essential oils, such as lavender, that fills the room with a relaxing aura due to its scent. The diffuser also changes colors as the steam from the essential oil releases, which puts the mind at ease.
If you’re at a home office or at work where it may be stressful, having a diffuser in the room may relieve the tension.
Identify What’s Bothering You and Express Yourself
Getting down to the root of the problem that is causing you not to relax is essential, as it can give you instant relief if the problem isn’t as bad as it may seem.
You can do this by getting your thoughts out on a journal, a blog, or talk to a friend or family member.
Talking it out with someone can take the weight of what’s bothering you off of your shoulders. If you are physically stressed, having someone help you and identify what you can do may help you relax.
Helping others can be rewarding and relieve stress while bringing joy to you and others.
Volunteer at a local animal shelter, homeless shelter, or anything around your area that interests you.
The easiest way to find places to volunteer is online through social media or official websites.
Create a Scrapbook or Visual Board
Before the internet, scrapbooks were common as a way to cherish photos or a person’s upbringing.
Creating a scrapbook also brings the opportunity to be more involved in arts and crafts, which can be a relaxing experience.
Visual boards are rising in popularity with those who practice affirmations. You can put what you want to accomplish, places to visit, and future endeavors on the board to stay focused.
Many websites online or social media websites such as Pinterest can be a virtual scrapbook or visual board and carry it everywhere with you on your mobile device.
In many therapy sessions, guided imagery is an activity where you envision yourself in a different setting.
It is an excellent exercise for those who suffer from anxiety or trauma. Anyone else who wants to relax may find it useful.
There are several ways to practice guided imagery:
Listen to the audio recording: The recording may involve imagining yourself in a different place, with the audio guiding you through the imaginary world. You can also record your voice and repeat anything you want, such as affirmations.
Yoga studio: Guided imagery and guided meditation tend to fall in the same category and may work the same way.
Therapy: To de-stress, relax, or overcome hardships, therapists use guided imagery to help their clients through adversity by leading them along with the guided imagery session.
Mostly, all you will need is your imagination. With guided imagery, deep relaxation occurs with repetition and confidence, especially if you experience constant stress in your daily life.
How To Relax Your Body
Your body and mind are connected. Here are ways on how to relax your body, which then may relax your mind.
Yoga is a form of exercise that uses the entire body, with lots of stretching and stress-relieving moves. There are tons of free workouts available online, such as on Youtube, to get started.
Hatha yoga tends to be great for beginners, and Vinyasa yoga for those who have a bit more experience.
The various poses for 30 minutes can be a power-packed workout, even though it looks easy while watching an instructor.
Yoga is excellent for both mornings to start the day and at night to relax right before bed.
Going for a run, walk, or bike ride gets the blood flowing, which eventually relaxes your body.
Hitting weights at the gym or aerobics are great to release tension and work a sweat.
In particular, aerobics changes your body, metabolism, heart, and spirit. It provides stimulation to counter anxiety and reduce stress.
Napping isn’t just for kids. Taking a 20-minute or 30-minute nap can jumpstart your day if you haven’t felt relaxed.
However, those who work from home have this luxury, compared to those who commute to their workplace.
Take a Break
Today many people work nonstop, without taking a break.
Taking a short break in-between studying or any activity can relax your mind, especially if you’re struggling.
Listen to music, rest your eyes, eat a snack, socialize, or watch Youtube videos to de-stress.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
When we’re anxious or stressed, we tend to be tense, which also affects our muscles. A method that teaches you how to relax is called Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
Those who do not have any problems with pulled muscles, broken bones, or other issues should not do this exercise.
Set aside 15 minutes, get comfortable, and apply the following steps:
1. Apply muscle tension to a muscle group you may feel becomes tense when you’re not at your best.
2. Breathe deeply in and out as you tense the muscle, but not too hard, as you should not be feeling any pain.
3. Relax the muscle and exhale, slowly feeling the muscle become limp
Sometimes the body may not know what it’s like to feel relaxed muscles, and Progressive Muscle Relaxation allows just that.
Muscle groups you can do this with are:
Neck and shoulders
Lower foot and leg
Get a Massage
You can get a professional massage and have a spa day to yourself, or have a friend or family member give you a massage.
The muscles are not relaxed when you aren’t relaxed, and relieving your muscles from any discomfort can reduce stress.
Form a Bedtime Ritual
Today we look at screens before we go to bed, which may disrupt our sleeping patterns. For instance, the blue light from the computer or phone affects our sleep, even with features to remove the blue-light.
If you go to bed stressed, it may disrupt your ability to get a healthy eight hours.
To fix this, form a bedtime ritual by:
- Turning off all electronic devices 1 to 2 hours before sleep, without looking at your phone or computer; put them on silent mode or do not have them in the room
- Soaking in a tub or taking a nice, warm shower
- Reading a book or journal to de-stress
- Dimming the lights an hour before bedtime
- Wearing comfortable clothes and unwind 2 hours before sleep
- Getting ready for the next day by picking out your clothes, writing down errands, and - anything on your to-do list to relieve any anxious thoughts
- Eating 2 to 3 hours before sleep
The objective is to set your room, and the overall mood, into a sleep mode. Your body will know when it’s time to sleep when you follow a routine every night.
Change Your Diet
Eating a more healthy diet is a great way to teach your mind and body how to relax.
Much of what we eat today isn’t healthy for us, let alone stress-relievers. Many foods may disrupt hormones and cause imbalances in our bodies, creating tension.
Foods to avoid are:
Caffeine: Too much caffeine during the day can cause anxiety and racing thoughts
Refined sugar: Excessive sugar isn’t good for overall health, as it may lead to other diseases and ailments
Alcohol: Overly drinking can stress the body out, also leading to dehydration and deterioration of general health
Foods that may help lead the way on how to relax:
Soothing teas: Chamomile tea is a great stress-relieving tea that increases dopamine and serotonin production
Eating good carbohydrates: Carbs can be complicated, but complex carbs such as whole grains and sweet potatoes can help your body more instead of a cookie high in sugar
Fruits and vegetables: Dark leafy greens and low glycemic fruits to avoid sugar spikes; high potassium foods; Vitamin C may reduce stress
Vitamin B12: A vitamin many people do not get in their diet enough is Vitamin B12, which helps the nervous system. Getting more Vitamin B12 can mean less stress and more nutrients. Foods high in Vitamin B12 are fish, eggs, milk, poultry, and beef
Good fats: Avocados, nuts, and seeds, fatty fish with Omega-3 may boost your mood, ease tension, and reduce inflammation
Water: Getting enough water a day is essential, as it regulates the body, and ultimately our mind
Overall, how to relax is achievable by taking the right steps.
If you feel your mind can’t seem to quiet down, consider journaling, mediation, exercising, or going for a walk outdoors.
Also, how to relax your mind involves taking care of the body, giving it the right nutrients, enough sleep, and taking care of yourself.