Stress is everywhere. From that presentation you’ve got to give at work next Tuesday to the ordeal of battling through the rush hour traffic to pick the kids up from the school, the modern world just seems to be one manic experience followed by another. All of which can make relaxing seem nigh on impossible. People probably tell you to relax all the time, but that’s easier said than done when there is a coffee stain on your new white rug, and the air conditioning unit has just broken down on the hottest day of the year.
It doesn’t have to be this way, you know? Have a look at these ten quick and easy tips for helping you to relax.
Meditation is growing in popularity across the United States with 14.2 percent of Americans having practiced meditation at least once in 2017 – that’s a huge 35 million of us. It isn’t hard to see the appeal. Research suggests that meditating for as little as five minutes a day can help to alter the brain’s neural pathways, making a person more resilient to stress. It’s a simple enough technique to try out. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor, close your eyes and focus on a positive thought about your life.
Give yourself a relaxing decompress
You don’t need to book into one of the best spas in America to get the full decompression treatment – you can carry it out from the comfort of your own home. Start by placing a warm heat wrap or towel around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes, using the sensation to relax your face, beck, chest, and back. Once you’ve done that, use a foam roller to massage away the tension in your body. Failing that, a tennis ball will do – just place it between a wall and the area of your body you want to treat and lean into the ball, applying gentle pressure for 15 to 20 seconds.
Talk to others
When we bottle things up, stress only gets worse. By keeping worries and problems to ourselves, we can end up overburdening ourselves and making things 100 times worse. That is why it’s good to talk. Whether it is a friend, a family member, even a colleague, share what is going on in your life. Who knows, they may also be able to offer some timely advice. Unburdening yourself is a great way to relax.
Carry out breathing exercises
We all need to breathe to stay alive, but the act of pulling oxygen into our body slowly and deeply can also prove to be hugely relaxing as it slows our heart rate, lowers blood pressure and can help quell errant stress response. Sit up straight, eyes closed and with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose and feel the oxygen work its way up to your brain. You then reverse the process, releasing the carbon dioxide that has been created as part of the breathing cycle out through your mouth.
You might be wondering how on earth exercise can you help relax – and we’ll be the first to admit that, on the face of it, a trip to a gym or a 5k run doesn’t exactly sound relaxing. Yet, exercise releases endorphins into the body which lift mood and ease depression and anxiety. It’s called runners high, and as a result, it can make you more relaxed. Not to mention the fact that physical activity will tire you out and when we are more tired, we get a better night’s sleep, and there is no better way to relax then while lying in bed.
Take a break
It’s the complete opposite of exercising, but taking a break can also help you to relax. Much of the stress of life comes from rushing around and trying to meet deadlines, so if you take yourself out of the hurly-burly, then you’ll be able to switch off and relax. Take five minutes to yourself and concentrate on just one element of the world around you. It might be watching an ant go about his daily work while you sit in the sun outside the office or how the air feels on your face. Focus on that one moment and let all your troubles go away for a more relaxed state of mind.
Use a natural oil
Sometimes, relaxation is only a tub of natural oil away. There are plenty of different plant-based substances which can be rubbed onto your temples or wrists or inhaled directly to help relax the body. Cinnamon, lavender, cedarwood, CBD oil like this product and eucalyptus can all help bring on a feeling of tranquility. It’s why you never see a stressed out koala.
You’ve probably heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine,” and when it comes to relaxation, that is true. A proper, uncontrollable laughing fit lowers the levels of cortisol in the body which reduces stress and, like exercise, encourages the release of endorphins. An improved mood and less stress is a guaranteed path to relaxation, so find something to laugh about whether it be an evening at a comedy club or watching your favorite sitcom on Netflix.
Listen to music
This has been known ever since the human race first started banging stuff together to create noise, but listening to music can help you relax. It does so by lowering blood pressure and heart rate and bringing down anxiety. Music will make us feel good; there is also something to be said for listening to sounds from the natural world such as bird song, which will focus the mind on melodies and patterns.
Eat dark chocolate
We’ve saved the best until last as it turns out that eating chocolate can help you relax by calming the nervous system. Dark chocolate is particularly good for this as it stabilizes metabolism and regulates the level of cortisol in the body. So, next time you feel like you need to relax then go and buy yourself a chocolate bar!