Relax. You deserve it, it’s good for you, and it takes less time than you think.
You don’t need a spa weekend or a retreat. Each of these stress-relieving tips can help you feel more relaxed.
A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. Daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress.
It’s simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting a positive mantra such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” Place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds.
Take a 5-minute break and focus instead on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.
Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness. Notice how the air feels on your face when you’re walking and how your feet feel hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food.
When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.
Your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to others. Share what’s going on. You can get a fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong.
Tune In to Your Body:
Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress affects it each day. Lie on your back, or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels.
Simply be aware of places you feel tight or loose without trying to change anything. For 1 to 2 minutes, imagine each deep breath flowing to that body part. Repeat this process as you move your focus up your body, paying close attention to sensations you feel in each body part.
Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and relax your face, neck, upper chest, and back muscles. Remove the wrap, and use a tennis ball or foam roller to massage away tension.
Laugh Out Loud:
A good belly laugh doesn’t just lighten the load mentally. It lowers cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, and boosts brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood. Lighten up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom or video, reading the comics, or chatting with someone who makes you smile.
Crank Up the Tunes:
Research shows that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. Create a playlist of songs or nature sounds and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece. You also can blow off steam by rocking out to more upbeat tunes or singing at the top of your lungs!
All forms of exercise, including yoga and walking, can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain release feel-good chemicals and by giving your body a chance to practice dealing with stress.
So just relax! After all, you deserve it.