James Worthington Manage Stress No Comments
On Edge? 7 Tips on How to Relax
Just relax! Easier said than done, right? But relaxing is definitely in your best interests: Research shows that taking just 15 to 20 minutes to relax each day can improve memory, sleep, mood, immune-system function and more.
Want to know how to relax? Try these suggestions:
For 15 to 20 minutes every day, sit in a comfortable position — on the ground with your legs crossed, or in a cosy chair — and close your eyes. Dim the lights. Take deep breaths and repeat a word or mantra (such as “I’m boosting my metabolism!”) over and over. Whenever a stressful thought comes into your head, try to push it out quickly (this gets easier with time).
Yoga means “union” in Sanskrit. The practice of yoga is an ancient form of exercise that can help you connect with your breath, body and mind. It’s not just about stretching — it also helps increase strength and teaches you how to relax.
Practice martial arts
The Chinese martial arts of Qigong and Tai Chi can, like yoga, be thought of as meditation in motion. Depending on the practice you choose, they can involve repetition of motions that vary in level of difficulty as one stands, sits or lies down.
Get a spa treatment such as a massage or pedicure. Or draw yourself a healing bath. If you have trouble disconnecting from your stress in these situations, close your eyes and imagine a place (a beach; a forest) that calms you.
A study published in Psychological Science found that during stressful situations, people who smiled — even if it was forced — had an easier time recovering than those who had neutral expressions. Ready to let go? Rent a funny movie and laugh. (Laughing also releases endorphins.)
Take up a hobby
Knitting, crocheting and painting are thought of as particularly calming because they involve repetitive motions that distract the mind. But doing anything you enjoy — fishing, reading, playing a sport, mountain biking — will serve the same purpose. Hobbies can help you unwind.
Listening to music can be a very powerful way to relax. Music is strongly associated with the brain’s reward system and can bring about a more positive state of mind. In fact, music therapy is used in hospitals to show patients how to relax, helping to calm them and lessen depression. So rock out to your favourite tunes whenever you’re feeling down.