When it comes to relaxation strategies, the easier the better! If you can find five minutes in your day to yourself, you can easily slip in some time to learn to relax. Here are some easy ways to help relax.
When learning to relax, breathe
Breathing exercises are one of the easiest relaxation strategies and can calm your stressed-out body and mind. Best of all, they can be done anywhere.
Sit or lie down in a quiet place, such as on your bed or a floor in your home. Put one hand on your belly.
Slowly inhale for three counts and slowly exhale for three counts. As you breathe in and out, feel your belly rise and fall. Repeat this five times, or as long as you need to feel relaxed.
Release physical tension
Releasing physical tension is an important part of learning to relax. When we feel mentally stressed, we often feel physically stressed as well. Releasing any physical tension helps to relieve stress in the body and mind.
Lie on a soft surface, such as your bed, a carpet, or a yoga mat. Tense one part of your body at a time, then slowly release the muscles. Notice how your body sensations change. Lots of people start either with the muscles in their face or those in their toes. They will then work their way through the muscles across their bodies to the opposite end.
Starting a diary helps with learning to relax
Getting things off your mind, by writing them down, can help you relax. When you feel stressed, take a few minutes to write down some short notes. Write about how you’re feeling or how your day is going.
This can be in a notebook or a notes app on your smartphone. Focus on expressing yourself to help release some stress.
Making a list of what you are grateful for can help some people feel relaxed. Experts say that when we’re stressed, we tend to focus on the negative rather than the positive. Doing the opposite can help when learning to relax.
Thinking about the positive parts of your life and writing them down may help you chill out. Try to think of three good things that happened to you today and write them down, even if they’re small things like getting to work on time or eating a delicious lunch. Shop for a gratitude book
Connect with nature
Spending just a few minutes in nature can help us relax. When you’re feeling stressed, take a step outside and go for a short walk. You don’t necessarily need to be in nature to feel its stress-reducing effects.
Scientists have found that just looking at images of green nature for five minutes on a computer screen can help to calm us down. So, even people living and working in big cities far from nature can still experience its calming effects.
It isn’t just adults that get stressed either. Learning to relax is important for kids and teenagers, too.
If you feel your child needs to relax, help him or her through these exercises. Get involved in these easy relaxation exercises with your child. This can help encourage self-regulation and relaxing behavior in your child.
Relaxation ultimately comes from practicing the ability to be present in each moment. That doesn’t mean you can’t feel stress or think about what’s coming up. But having thoughts about the future is very different than experiencing stress that cannot help us in the moment. If you’re serious about learning how to relax, I strongly recommend you check out our section on mindfulness meditation.