Types Of Relaxation Techniques
However, a whole range of relaxation practices can help you power down and de-stress.
There’s no one shoe that fits all, Smith says. He points to five or six approaches based on scientific observation and experience that really do work for stress reduction. There are other therapies, too, that you might find helpful. You can do one at a time or you can practice some together.
Meet Friends And Laugh
Make a habit of seeing friends and loved ones at least once a week. If your schedule makes this impossible, squeeze in a call every so often for a chat – and a giggle.
Socialising and taking part in activities is the perfect stress reliever as interaction can naturally help you unwind.
“Talking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems,” says Professor Cooper.
“Many studies show that laughter boosts our energy, decreases stress hormones, improves immunity and diminishes pain” adds Dr Marilyn Glenville, nutritionist, and author of The Nutritional Health Handbook for Women .
“Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals that make us happier and relaxed.”
Know What Actually Relaxes You
It might sound obvious, but tons of people arent very discerning or creative about how they spend their downtime. People often think theyre resting when theyre really not, clinical psychologist Ryan Howes, Ph.D., tells SELF.
For example, maybe you tend to count scrolling through Twitter for a couple of hours as relaxation. That might be restful to some people, but for many, its more stressful than anything. Or maybe you force yourself to do things that youve heard are supposed to be relaxinglike meditating, napping, or taking a bubble bathwhen you actually find them super boring or unhelpful. Relaxation isnt one-size-fits-all.
To start to figure out what rest means to you, you might want to reframe how you think about it in the first place. Relaxation is not one activityits the outcome of any activity, says Caraballo. And which activities lead to relaxation will depend on you. Explore hobbies, different types of physical activity, various means of socializing, self-care practices, and more. Then pay attention. Ask yourself, How do I feel after doing this? Do I feel grounded? Do I feel stable? Do I feel at ease? If so, maybe thats something that can be on your list as a way to rest from the world, says Caraballo. And if not, maybe you need to try something else.
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Accepting That You Deserve To Unwind Is The First Step
“The biggest barrier most people face when it comes to relaxing is their mindset about what ‘relaxation’ really is,” says Lisa Kaplin, psychologist and women’s empowerment coach.
Making time to chill out can be especially challenging for women, according to Kaplin, “because they often have so many things on their plates, including the emotional labor of running a home. A woman will sit down to relax and her mind will be spinning about all of the things that need to be done. If she believes she canât relax until all of that is complete, she never will.”
In case you need a reminder: The world won’t end if you do press pause once in a while,and your body has ways of letting you know it’s actually a need, not a luxury. Kaplin says the true key is developing “a mindset of, ‘I can relax whenever and however I choose.‘ Then comes “getting present in the moment and choosing oneâs form of relaxation.”
Colors To Calm Your Nerves
Many articles and studies reveal that different colors have different impacts on your brain. Colors like red, generate alertness in your brain whereas colors like green, pink and white promote calmness, peace, and tranquility.
For relaxing your mind and relieving the stress you can try taking the help of these colors in different ways. Try indulging more with nature, to include the green. Wear colors like white and pink or paint any random art with these colors and it will automatically change your vibes from stressed to happy.
You can also change the furniture or the décor around you into calming and soothing colors and it will turn your home into a better place to be.
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Enjoy Pockets Of Relaxation Throughout Your Week
Speaking of restricting yourself, its easy to fall into an all-or-nothing mentality around rest. Maybe you push yourself too hard during the week and only rest on weekends. Or maybe you tell yourself you dont have the time or bandwidth or resources to rest properly so you dont do it at all. When we do that, not only do we run the risk of burning out and rendering rest less effective overall, but we also wind up turning to activities that arent restful so much as numbing.
Take, for example, watching TV or playing video games. Theyre both awesome relaxing activities I love, but sometimes I wind up feeling guilty instead of really enjoying them. Why? Because I avoid them during periods I need to be productive, then get sucked in for hours when I finally have a chance to plug in.
According to Caraballo, that sort of restrictive behavior actually works against our rest. When you dont have smaller moments more regularly, you can fall into binges, he says. And given that for many, binges of all sorts can come with guilt, shame, and other emotions that impact our ability to really relax, its a lot more effective to build relaxation into your schedule regularly. So try sprinkling some of the activities you usually save for the weekend throughout the week instead and see how that works for you.
Benefits Of Relaxing Your Mind
The main benefit of relaxing your mind is that it relieves stress. By calming your mind, youll feel less overwhelmed by your emotions, which can make you feel like youre losing control.
By calming your mind, you also avoid many of the health consequences of stress, such as high blood pressure, depression, and fatigue. A peaceful mind will improve your mood by reducing anger and frustration, and also improve your confidence in handling lifes problems.
Overall, youll feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
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Reframe Strategy #: Look For Evidence
Your second strategy to reframe your mentality around relaxing when stressed and busy is this: proactively look for evidence that supports relaxation. Heres how:
- Identify the activities that have helped to relax your mind in the past.
- On a piece of paper, write down the type of relaxation activity and time spent relaxing.
- Analyze the effect of these activities on your mental and physical health, your cognitive abilities, your mood, and your productivity levels.
I recommend keeping a journal to track all of your relaxation benefits going forward .
As you start to make more connections between renewal activities and your performance and productivity levels, your beliefs around relaxation will change .
NOTE: you can also go through this exercise using someone who you admire thats successful and takes time to relax.
Why We Have Trouble Relaxing Our Mind
I often hear people say, I cant stop my mind from racing. They are usually busy people whose lives are filled with commitments and activities. They have demanding jobs and families to take care of. Sometimes, they are young people with goals and ambitions.
Theres nothing wrong with these scenarios. They are normal courses in our lives. The challenge is to find a balance between our commitments to others and our personal needs, and one of those needs is relaxation.
A busy life tends to overstimulate our mind. Basically, anything that touches any of our five senses will trigger a chain of thoughts. So, all our activities are continuously stimulating our mind. And if were really busy, then we can experience sensory overload, which leads to a racing mind and stress.
Learn Skills For Managing Your Emotions And Negative Self
A lot of potent emotions can get in the way of rest, from anxiety to guilt. Even if youre physically doing an activity that usually relaxes you, if your mind isnt on board, its not going to be as impactful. You have to tackle the mental side of things, and a lot of the time that looks like brushing up on coping skills and therapeutic tools that can help put you in a mindset to relax.
If you have a hard time disengaging from strong emotions like anger and frustration or general sadness or distress , try these emotional regulation skills. If you tend to beat yourself up for resting because you feel guilty or undeserving, try this RAIN meditation for self-compassion. If you cant unwind due to anxious thought spirals and existential dread, try these tips for reframing anxious thoughts or these grounding exercises. Then keep these skills in mind as possible ways to tackle the next few tips too.
How To Relax Your Mind From Stress In 3 Steps
Learning to relax your mind is a skill, but it is a skill that absolutely can be learned.
Let the list below be your guide.
Of course, as I always recommend, you know your life best and will know which of these steps to try first and which steps resonate with you the most.
Trust your body and who you know you are. The rest will fall into place.
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How Can I Relax Fast
If youre feeling very stressed or panicked and need to calm down quickly, we recommend progressive muscle relaxation. Its proven to lower your heart rate, helping you to feel more at peace.
To do progressive muscle relaxation, begin by tensing the muscles in your forehead and then releasing them. Do this with each muscle group all the way down to your toes.
If you prefer to do something different, you can also try breathing exercises to calm down quickly. Even taking a couple of long, deep breaths is enough to slow your heart rate and help you feel more relaxed in the present moment.
You can also try a quick meditation to regain your sense of calm. We recommend this five-minute session to help you chill out.
An Unexpected Cure For How To Relax Your Mind
The cure is within you. It all comes down to how you think.
Whats getting in your way of being able to relax when stressed are your thoughts. What you tell yourself about productivity, mind-wandering and what relaxation even is. Its time to change those stories to reframe them.
The good news is that you have help
Rest and relaxation improves both your physical and mental health. You improve physically by:
- Reducing stress-related hormones
- Increasing blood flow to your muscles and
- Lowering blood pressure.
These physical health benefits have an impact on your cognitive abilities. When relaxation becomes a habit, stress levels become naturally lower , which makes you feel better emotionally and mentally. Regularly scheduled rest and relaxation:
- Increases your ability to focus and be present,
- Helps you sleep better,
- Enables you to think more creatively,
- Increases your energy levels, and
- Increases productivity.
Think about what this all means theres a productive purpose for downtime. Relaxing your mind wont just increase performance. Its what enables you to perform at peak levels.
This is obviously a mindset shift. One that you need to embrace if you want to learn how to relax your mind .
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Reframing How You Think About Relaxing When Stressed
Ive given you the science behind why relaxing your mind is a good thing. Unfortunately, thats not always enough for complete buy-in.
Its too easy to fall into bad habits especially when subject to a tight deadline or you have too many things on your plate. Which is why I want you to begin by reframing your thinking around this issue.
Use the following 3 strategies to reframe your thoughts around what it means to relax your mind so that you dont fall back into bad habits:
How Can I Relax My Stressed Mind
While we cannot eradicate all stress from our lives, we can learn to manage it better. This starts with having some stress-reducing techniques at-the-ready for when you feel your mind reeling and ruminating with negative thoughts and emotions.
Here are four relaxation suggestions that are sure to relax the mind.
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How To Relax Your Mind From Stress
I just took a break. I needed it.
I escaped to the isolation and otherworldly landscapes of Southern Utah for a few days.
Because I needed to relax my mind from the stress I’ve been feeling.
I’ve been doing too much at work and in life in general.
Before the break, my anxious mind filled with worry about not publishing one of my three weekly issues–for the first time ever.
But the break was more than worth it in a number of ways.
I solidified a few insights to share with you.
And I learned something big about myself and the need to relax my mind from stress.
Connect With Your Breath
Youre probably already breathing unless youre holding your breath. We tend do that when were in a tizzy. Whether youre holding in your air, taking shallow sips of it, or hyperventilating, you might be adding to the stress response in your body.
The good news is that taking slow, full breaths can calm you. Try a quick breathing exercise to get back to a more relaxed state.
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A Stressed Mind Vs A Calm Mind
Stress was never meant to be a 24/7 experience. As Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky explains, youre really only supposed to feel stressed in the five minutes right before you die. When you are being chased in the savanna by a wild animal, your stress response is supposed to save your lifeit mobilizes your attention, muscles, and immune system to get you quickly out of danger. When animals escape, they come right out of fight-or-flight mode and into rest-and-digest mode, where the parasympathetic nervous system is working to replenish their resources.
That stress response is supposed to be short-lived because it wears down your body, your health, and your energy. It also impacts things like your emotional intelligence and your decision making. When youre tightly wound up, you are more likely to react to situations than to respond with reason.
Being able to attend more means that you notice more things about other people and youre able to communicate with them in more powerful ways. High stress and anxiety make us self-focused, for an evolutionary reason: When our ancestors were stressed, it was because they were in a survival situation. It was good to be focused on yourself so you could save your life.
When youre calm, you also manage your energy because youre not burning yourself up constantly, spending your days with your sympathetic nervous system in overdrive. Calm helps you focus on what you need to do and get it done much more quickly.
Be Intentional About Your Rest Time
Intentionality is kind of the golden rule of rest. In order for relaxation to be effective, you have to commit to it. Six hours of half-assed relaxing is not as good as two hours of focused, intentional relaxing, says Howes. The truth is, we half-ass our rest all the time. We get distracted by email or social media. We turn our hobbies into side hustles and drain them of joy. We spend our rest time thinking about our to-do lists. We leave ourselves open to distractions or wander aimlessly between activities because we dont actually know what we want. Instead, try getting in the habit of telling yourself, Okay, its time to relax, and really knowing what that means.
Caraballo suggests asking yourself what you hope to get out of your relaxation time each time you do it. To rest or to escape are starting points, but it helps to get specific. Do you need to distract yourself from problems at work? Do you need to feel refreshed and ready to dive back into life? Do you need to calm your anxiety? Do you need to feel soothed and comforted?
From there, you can figure out how to support your needsboth by choosing the right activity and by figuring out which boundaries to put into place in order to make it happen. Speaking of
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Ways To Relax Your Mind
Posted by Erica Jabali
From work deadlines to keeping up with your kids, there are plenty of everyday reasons to be stressed out. Add on all of the unknowns and unexpected changes happening in the world and it makes perfect sense why people are more anxious than ever. What should you do if youre feeling like your mind is racing, every muscle is tense, and you can barely sleep? Here are 30 creative ways to help you relax your mind, so you can restore balance, reduce stress and live more fully in the present.
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