10 Tips on How to Relax Your Mind
Are you feeling more stressed out lately? You’re not alone. A Harvard study says that over 50% of Americans surveyed reported feeling more stressed out than usual in 2020. Experiencing stress can be hard not only on your mental health but also on your physical well-being.
Luckily, there are many ways that you can help yourself cope with stress and relax your mind.
Starting a meditation practice is one effective way to create some space between you and the thoughts that stress you out. You will need a quiet area where you can sit comfortably without being disturbed. If that’s hard to find for long periods, don’t fret - doing as little as one minute of meditation can have results.
To practice meditating, take a comfortable seat in a quiet place. Set a time limit, and you may want to close your eyes. To begin, notice your breath, following it as it moves in and out. When a thought pops up (as it inevitably will), redirect yourself with kindness back to your breath. Don’t judge the content of your thoughts or your mind for wandering. Simply return to your breath as often as you need to until it’s time to stop.
Try to practice every day, remembering that it takes most people about two months of regular repetition before something becomes a habit - and even then, distractions will always come up. And if calming meditation still eludes you, or your breath isn’t a good focus, there are also other ways to meditate.
Have you ever heard of a runner’s high? It turns out, going for a run keeps both your mind and body in good shape. Getting exercise reduces the body’s stress hormones like cortisol and stimulates the production of “happy hormones” like endorphins, causing the “high” you might feel after a run.
If you’re not a runner, there are many other ways to reap the benefits of exercise. Studies show that getting as little as five minutes of aerobic exercise can have anti-anxiety effects. It’s important to pick an activity you love. Going on a walk, dancing, bicycling, swimming, gardening, yoga, and other activities can all reduce your stress.
Keeping a gratitude journal can be an excellent way to shift focus onto things that bring you joy. Over time, it can help train your mind to be more optimistic.
To start a practice of gratitude journaling, write down three things at the end of each day that you’re grateful for. They don’t have to be big blessings - they can be as small as having had a good cup of coffee or anything else that went right during the day.
Try to write as regularly as possible. At particularly difficult times, you can also look back through the log you’ve kept to remind yourself of all the good things in life.
If you’re feeling blue, try some comedy. Laughing with friends, watching a funny movie or show, or reading something silly can help improve your mood as well as your immune system. Laughter can even reduce inflammation and boost “good” cholesterol levels. And if you really can’t find anything funny, you can always try laughter yoga, a group exercise designed to maximize playfulness.
CBD, or the non-psychoactive compound found in hemp plants, has been shown by studies to help people manage stress, feel calmer, and sleep better. CBD oil is thought to naturally interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, stimulating serotonin production and interacting with your body’s mood receptors to promote calmness. The World Health Organization notes that CBD doesn’t cause a high and is not addictive. Flora CBD offers a natural, easy way to incorporate CBD into your routine, helping you manage stress and feel calmer.
Giving yourself a quick massage can relieve tension and help you unwind. A five-minute self-massage technique is to knead the back of your neck and shoulders, focusing on any areas that feel particularly tense. You can also try stimulating pressure points on the ear, rubbing in small circles on the lobe to reset and relax.
Taking deep breaths sends signals to slow your heart rate. Belly breathing is a technique you can use to relax by breathing deeply into your stomach.
Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position, with one hand on your belly, one hand on your chest. With every inhale, feel the hand on your belly rise, keeping your chest hand still. With every exhale, let your belly hand fall, or use it to help push air out gently. Repeat 3 to 10 times, slowly, to de-stress.
This kind of deep meditation can help you learn how to calm nerves by harnessing your imagination. Visualization asks you to picture either a happy place or a positive outcome to a situation and focus on it. You can then spend time in this peaceful or successful image during meditation or use it to help you set goals.
Take a Hot Bath
If you asked someone to define the word relax, they might say that it looks like a long, steamy bath. Ancient cultures and modern medicine have both advocated for taking warm baths to help relax. Your skin releases endorphins when submerged in soothing warm water. Taking a hot bath can also improve your breathing and alleviate pain.
Talk About It
Sharing what’s on your mind with trusted friends or family can help you manage stress. And if you feel like you’re dealing with overwhelming worry, remember you can also reach out to a mental health professional.