Modern life isn’t very relaxing. Work, relationships, and personal obligations can be stressful and leave you feeling overwhelmed. In spite of how difficult it may seem to make time for yourself, it’s important to set aside the time and attend to your mental wellbeing. Knowing how to relax is a skill. It sounds easy but in execution, it can take a while to finally reach a place where you feel completely at peace.
Why it’s important to know how to relax
Relaxation has numerous benefits, including improving both your mental and physical health. Relaxation should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle and morning routine. Our bodies and minds have a limit on their energy.
Relaxing gives you the ability to think with more clarity, which can help you to make better decisions. The more you relax, the better you will be at responding to future situations that can be potentially stressful. Relaxation can also contribute to a healthier body, providing you with more energy and saving you money on doctor visits.
Without proper relaxation routines, we can burn out, become agitated, become more prone to making mistakes, and just feel overall more miserable. Knowing how to relax can buy you back energy, time, and focus. Plus, it just feels great to kick back and unwind from the troubles of daily life.
Speaking of time, it’s important to set out with the intention to make time to relax. Even with a busy schedule, you can fit these easy relaxation tips into your day.
17 Ways on How to Relax
1. Practice meditation and mindfulness
There are some easy meditation techniques that you can try to help you relax. These involve sitting somewhere silent, closing your eyes and calming your mind. The more you practice the techniques, the easier they get.
For some help, you can try our guided meditation for relaxation. Better yet, download the Declutter The Mind app to practice meditation anywhere.
Breathing exercises are some of the easiest relaxation strategies and they’re effective at calming your body and mind when you’re stressed.
To begin these exercises, it’s helpful to find somewhere to sit or lie down. A quiet place is often best. Put one of your hands on your belly and breathe in to a slow count of three. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Continue to breathe at a normal pace, which feels more comfortable and relaxing to you.
You should be able to feel your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale. Repeat this exercise five times. You can continue the exercise until you feel fully relaxed. Remember to breathe at a natural pace. We’re not trying to hyperventilate or breathe too deeply, which can happen when we’re anxious or stressed. Be mindful of the breath.
3. Add lavender to your life
Lavender is one of the most relaxing smells you can find. So, if you’re looking for stress relief and maybe a lower blood pressure too, inject more lavender into your daily routine.
For example, you can buy lavender soap and shampoo to improve your shower experience. Plus, the water can reduce stress too. Plus, there are lavender body mists and perfumes you can wear for stressful events. For example, you might spray some on before a difficult meeting at work.
And if you search some more you can even find pillow sprays in a lavender scent to help with stress reduction before bed. Just a few minutes spraying a few drops or bathing in lavender scents can be a therapeutic experience. Or if you want to keep it simple, light a lavender candle.
Feeling mentally stressed is often associated with feeling physically stressed as well. Releasing physical tension can be an effective means to relieve the tension in both your body and mind.
To do this, you can lie on a soft surface, like your bed, a yoga mat or even a carpet. The process involves tensing different parts of your body, one at a time. When you tense a body part, keep it tense for several seconds before slowly releasing your muscles.
As you do this, try to pay attention to the ways in which your body sensations change. People who practice this relaxation technique often start with their facial or toe muscles, before working through to muscles across the opposite end of their bodies.
Stretching or yoga are also great ways to help you release physical tension. You can also try mindful walking with a guided meditation.
5. Take time to rest
To feel relaxed, it’s key to take time to simply rest. It’s hard to have high blood pressure, when you spend time each day unwinding and resting. You might practice mindfulness, do some deep breathing, use some essential oils to help you unwind, or even watch some television. But if you focus on the present moment, to calm the mind and practice self care ideas you’ll feel relaxed.
Feel free to take a nap after lunch for a quick twenty-minutes and create a night time routine so you can get enough sleep at night. Without proper rest, you’ll experience more chronic illness and you’ll have a noticeable stress response.
6. Journal your thoughts
Writing things down in a mindfulness journal is an accessible, simple, and effective method to help you relax. When you find yourself feeling stressed, taking a few minutes to write short notes about how you feel can help to release mental tension.
There’s no right or wrong way to do this. You don’t need to follow a system or method. That just adds more complexity and stress. Go with the flow and write in the way and about the things that feel easiest to you.
The key here is that you want to use the paper and pen as an outlet for your emotions. It’s a way to collect and organize your thoughts. These are the things causing overthinking that are preventing you from relaxing.
Expressing how you feel is like lifting a giant weight from your shoulders.
7. Drink tea
From green tea to herbal tea, you’ll find a warm beverage helps relax you when you feel stressed. The calming effects in tea are due to antioxidants in certain teas. For example, EGCG is an ingredient in some teas known to have a calming effect in people.
So, if you feel overwhelmed, consider drinking some tea. You could drink it while having a bubble bath or spending time with a friend or pet. Green tea can also help reduce heart disease by 10-20%.
Including it as part of our daily lives can be a positive outcome at reducing stress. So sit comfortably and drink that warm beverage when you’re feeling high stress and anxiety levels.
8. Express your gratitude
One of the things you can do to relieve stress is write down a gratitude list of the things that you’re grateful for.
Experts say that we tend to focus on the negative aspects of life when we’re stressed, as opposed to the positive. Directing your thoughts to the positive parts of your life can help you feel a little more relaxed.
You can start by trying to think about four good things that you experienced over the course of the day, even if they are small things you’d otherwise ignore on any other day.
Gratitude is a great way to provide a little more perspective on our own lives, especially when our mind is lost in thoughts about stress and what is happening in our life, preventing us from truly relaxing.
9. Take a vacation
It doesn’t take a mental health professional to know that taking a vacation can relieve stress, especially work stress. If you need help with knowing how to relax, getting away from all your stressors can be a huge relief. Your blood pressure will drop when you’re relaxing in the sun, investing in your well being, and practicing relaxation exercises like just having fun and doing deep breathing.
Having alone time with a meditation book on a beach can be a great experience too. Plus, by watching your stress levels drop drastically, you might realize that your workplace isn’t what’s best for you, which can spark the search for a new job. So listen to the resort band’s soothing meditation music while watching ocean waves crash with the warm air and de stress.
10. Imagine calmness
An expression that is commonly used is “find your happy place.” You can put that to practice by sitting in a quiet and safe place. Your bedroom is a good option.
The first step is to imagine a place in the world where you feel calm. To make it more effective, you can close eyes and start thinking about different aspects of that place, such as the sight, sounds, smell and even taste.
For example, if you start visualizing being at the beach, you can imagine the calm waves, sounds of children playing, the pervasive smell of the sunscreen, the taste of ice cream and the feeling of rough sand on your feet. The more you immerse yourself in your visualization, the more relaxing the technique will be.
It doesn’t need to be a cliched beach either. It can be the house you grew up in, it can be in the arms of your partner, or it can be somewhere you’d love to visit one day or are looking forward to visiting.
11. Create a wellness vision board
A vision board can help align you with what you want. Creating it can be one of the ways to relax too since it involves looking through magazines to cut out pictures. You can include messages about self compassion, add pictures of tai chi, mindfulness meditation, and someone who will breathe deeply. You can read through wellness advice all day, but having something you created with what you want out of your life will be more positive.
Place your vision board in your office or somewhere you’ll look at it often. Helpful tips like this can really be a game-changer at changing your life and well being. This can be a creative visualization exercise worth trying.
12. Head outdoors
When you are having trouble figuring out how to relax, you might find it helpful to spend some time in nature.
You can do this by taking a step outside and breathing in some fresh air while paying attention to your surroundings. If you have more time, you can even go for a walk.
If you don’t have access to nature, a technique you might try is looking at pictures of nature. Scientists have found that merely looking at pictures of nature or greenery for five or more minutes can be just as effective. Ecopsychology is powerful for stress relief.
Either way, remember that human beings have evolved to be surrounded by nature. Don’t neglect the side of your being that craves being out in the fresh air, near trees, insects, and animals.
13. Watch a funny movie
On your journey to learning how to relax, it’s important to have some fun. Watching a funny movie can help you get a good relaxation response. You can cuddle your furry friend on the couch while watching something funny and enjoy your time together.
If you really want to set a relaxing mood, add a lavender essential oil to a diffuser and create a relaxing cinema experience. Those stress levels will drop low quite quickly. And you can have some popcorn or dark chocolate to relax too.
14. Listen to music
Listening to music can be an effective way to help you relax. If there’s a positive song you particularly like, you can listen to it only when you want to relax. This technique works better if the song is one that you have a sentimental attachment to, such as a song you remember from your childhood.
Some songs are ideal for getting you in a relaxed mood, such as songs with soft vocals. You can save the songs that help you relax in a playlist and play them whenever you are feeling stressed. You can get into this practice a few times a day to ensure that you maintain a calm state of mind.
Alternatively, you can try listening to sounds of nature if there isn’t a particular genre of music that relaxes you.
15. Work with a life coach
A certified life coach can help you develop more relaxation techniques. From breathing exercises to helping you solve your health problems, you can get a lot of support from a life coach or therapist. They might help you think about a problem differently so you can actually solve it.
You can ask for a list of ways to relax that would work for a specific situation. So if you feel stressed and your friends can’t support you, find someone who can give you the tools you need.
16. Get a massage
Progressive muscle relaxation is key for knowing how to relax. Having a masseuse relax each muscle group will allow you to get rid of neck kinks, back pain, and any other tense body parts. Relaxing muscle groups with a professional can often be done through insurance.
You can have hire a masseuse whenever things at work or home get stressful to help you eliminate body tension. You can ask for a sports massage or a relaxing one depending on what you need it for. They’ll have essential oils to create a soothing aroma in your room which will help create a relaxing mood for you.
If it’s not in the budget, you can give yourself a hand massage while massaging pulse points.
17. Remove yourself from a bad environment
Health conditions can arise from being in a bad environment. From toxic people at work to heavy workloads, sometimes you’re just in a negative environment. Changing jobs or cutting people out of your life can allow you to get rid of that stress for good. Music listening and chewing gum are popular ways to relax, but sometimes the problem is much bigger than a bandaid solution. If you want to say goodbye to stress, you need to make difficult decisions. Is the life you have, the life that makes you happy? If no, make the choices to fix it.
Your time to relax
Relaxation doesn’t have to be a tedious process. Relaxation should be relaxing! You likely schedule everything else in already: work, school, dates, chores, etc. Schedule in your relaxation time and start making time for yourself. Got any relaxation tips that you find work really well for yourself? Share them with us!