Has anyone ever told you to “relax or take it easy” when living through a stressful experience, and you thought to yourself, “I wish I could, but can’t relax!”
Relaxation actually isn’t a skill we are born with. And for most us, relaxation doesn’t come naturally. It’s practically impossible not to get caught up in worry during our fast-paced, high-pressure days, whether from work commitments, money problems, or feel like we can’t spend enough quality time with our family and friends, doing our favorite activities.
Even if you are lucky enough to go on vacation, have you ever noticed that it could take several days to unwind? Learning how to relax is a process that takes time and repetition to master. We can’t just do it once a month and expect it to work miracles! To learn how to relax, takes practice. Fortunately, there are quite a number of easily accessible relaxation strategies and techniques to help us effectively relax the body and mind regularly.
One of the ways to tell that you are stressed is when you can’t focus on things. When your mind is not focused, even simple things can seem complicated. Your mind might be suck in a negative feedback loop trying to figure out the same issue over-and-over. You spend all this time thinking about a problem, failing to come up with any sort of resolution.
How can you relax your mind and body?
Fortunately, there are many ways to relax. Some relaxation techniques are designed to relax your mind and some to relax your body. The advantage of many relaxation methods is that they work on both the mind and the body.
Can’t Relax? What does the science say?
It happens to all of us. We are heading home or closing up the home office for the day. Finally, it’s our time to relax and restore our mind and body. But somehow, relaxation is not in the cards for us. You may ask yourself: “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I relax?”
According to science, even stressing about trying to relax is stressing us out. You work too hard at work, and you work too hard at relaxing. Non-stop pressure in our daily lives interferes with the body’s relaxation mechanisms. Trying to relax can become just another stressful activity.
To relax, we must think about learning to relax in a new way. If you want to learn to relax, you cannot allow yourself to feel guilty about taking a break.
Can I learn to relax?
First off, relaxation is a skill. It is something we all have to learn. And relaxation is critical to learn because it is necessary for your health and wellbeing.
If you want to learn to relax, start by setting yourself the task of learning how to relax. Practice calming activities to calm your spirit, lower your heart rate, and rest your mind and body. This is not a simple job, and it requires learning and practice.
Learning something that has a reputation for destressing is a great way to learn to relax. Learn to paint, play an instrument, or to sew, cook, something to motivate you to do a relaxing activity.
What are the best relaxation techniques?
A stressful experience, or one that we believe to be stressful, triggers the release of hormones that quicken our breath, make our hearts race, and our muscles tense. These are normal physiological responses, known as the “fight or flight” response. Fight or flight evolved to help our ancestors stay alert and to respond to threats such as predators or a threatening cave dweller.
This surge of hormones takes a toll on our mind and body. The same hormones can also put us at risk for health issues such as depression, heart disease, and depression.
There are many scientifically proven relaxation approaches that counter the stress response with what’s called the “relaxation response.” The relaxation response, or when the autonomic nervous system functioning returns to normal, is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response. It happens when the body is no longer senses danger. In relaxation mode, our bodies stop releasing stress hormones, our breathing deepens, our heart rate slows, and we start to feel a sense of calm.
Certain relaxation techniques, like relaxation meditation and deep breathing, are available to us anytime and anywhere we feel the need to relax. Other relaxing activities, like walking outdoors, attending a yoga class, or Tai Chi, taking a relaxing bath, listening to music, or even getting a full body massage, may take some planning.
The goal is to integrate relaxation activities and skills that introduce calm and wellbeing into your life. Try a few relaxation techniques below and see which one works best for you.
How to start relaxing my mind?
The first step you should take is to scrutinize your lifestyle. What’s stopping you from relaxing? We all get stressed, but many of us can’t calm down. We are always on high alert. It’s impossible to relax your mind when something’s constantly bothering you.
Give yourself a break. Walk away. Get out of your chair. Leave your task, and take a moment to stop focusing on the problem. Trying to push through the problem is only going to make it worse. It might even make you frustrated.
Is it easier to relax my mind if I try to refocus?
You could take as little as a few minutes of a break from the issue you are trying to resolve. It really depends on the problem you are dealing with and your situation. The key is to really take time and step away from the problem. After your break, you come back with renewed vigor and stamina, and you’ll be ready to face the problem.
Relax your mind through a change of scenery.
Get up from your desk. Walk away from your work area. Take a walk outside, if you can get into nature. It is the perfect way to relax your mind.
Change of scenery is critical if you want to relax. When you change the scenery, you can focus your attention from voluntary, where you are concentrating on one particular thing, to involuntary, where you give yourself a chance to witness your surroundings.
How can I relax right now?
Listening to relaxing music is a great way to relax your mind. Music listening is easy to do, which makes it a convenient way to relax. Create a playlist that relaxes you. Choose music that is not too intense. Try to relax the rest of your body while listening. If you can sit down, close your eyes, silence your phone, breathe deeply, and relax your muscles. Allow yourself to get lost in the feeling of your music. Stop thinking about your troubles. Let your mind go; just listen to the music.
Can I still relax even if I can’t get away?
If you are unable to get away from your work environment, there are still things you can do to effectively relax your mind. Most importantly, remember to breathe deeply. Focusing on your breathing has a calming effect. Breathing will get you grounded, and it will recenter you, allowing you to get back in touch with your inner self.
How does progressive muscle relaxation help you relax?
You can also try a progressive muscle relaxation exercise. Where you effectively relax different groups of muscles, starting from your head and moving all the way down to your feet. Progressive muscle relaxation is to help you relax the mind and get your mind out of a single focus.
Does drawing relax the mind?
You can take out a pen or pencil and a piece of paper and let your mind go free. Don’t worry about creating high art. Our goal is to engage in a relaxing activity. Let whatever is coming out of your hand happen. Just drawn on the paper without any concern about the final product. You don’t have to draw anything in specific. The goal of drawing is to refocus your mind and have fun.
Relax by taking a break.
Take time away from your everyday routines. Read a magazine or a book even if it is only for ten minutes. Take a relaxing bath, watch a funny show, take your dog for a walk, or do some gardening to relax. Prepare a delicious meal, sorry, but microwaving something frozen doesn’t count.
Breathe your way to relaxation.
Learning to breathe more deeply can help you relax. Focusing on your breathing can help you feel a lot calmer and improve your mood. Start by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Relax your shoulders, let them down, and position your hands on your stomach. Feel your hand rise as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out. Count as you breathe. Start by counting to three as you breathe in and three as you breathe out.
Relax with music.
Listen to a relaxing playlist to calm yourself down. Dance or even sing along, put on your headphones, and close your eyes. Immerse yourself in the music. Focus on different instruments. Do you hear the drumbeat? Focus on the music as you let stress drift away.
Picture yourself relaxed.
Imagine yourself in a relaxing place. Think of somewhere relaxing and peaceful. You might choose the location of your favorite vacation getaway or a place you want to visit one day. Close your eyes and think about the details of the place. What are your favorite elements of the place? Think about the details of what makes this place so special for you. What kind of colors, scents, and shapes do you see? Are you feeling warm or cold? Can you hear any sounds? Let your mind drift and allow your body to relax.
Calm yourself with active relaxation.
Relaxation doesn’t require you to sit still. Gentle exercises like yoga, or even gardening, can help you to relax too. Find a gentle yoga, pilates, or Tai Chi class. If you want to relax on your own, go for a walk outdoors. You can go for a long walk, but even a short walk around the block can help you feel relaxed.
Get creative and calm down.
Getting in touch with your artistic side can be quite relaxing. Creative activities such as drawing, making crafts, painting, playing a musical instrument, baking, or sewing can help you feel more calm and relaxed. The best way to relax by getting creative is never to worry about the finished product. Instead, try to focus on the activity, enjoying yourself.
Use a guided relaxation exercise.
Guided relaxation exercises are widely available. You can search online, ask your friends, or look for an app to download. Look for a local meditation or relaxation class. If you want, you could read up on it and start your own group with friends and family.
Relax in nature.
Spending time in nature is a great way to calm down and relax. To take part in outdoor activities is beneficial for your physical and mental wellbeing. You could take a walk at a local park or hike in the countryside. Take time to notice the birds, flowers, and trees on the way. You could also work in your own garden.
How to stop people from stressing you out?
Are there people in your life who really get on your nerves? You are not alone. Dealing with difficult people is stressful. The toll of the stress can be detrimental to our mental health. The best approach is to eliminate people who stress you out. Unfortunately, that is not always possible.
The following should help you deal with people who stress you out:
- Avoid touchy subjects such as politics or religion. If the other person tries to draw you into a controversial conversation, either change the direction of the conversation or leave.
- Accept the fact that you can’t change other people, but you can adjust how you behave around them.
- If all else fails, ignore the person. It is still better than allowing the other person to stress you out.