Do you ever fell stressed, exhausted and full of tension? There are many factors that can contribute to stress, our work, our home, finances, etc. One thing is for sure, being stressed is bad for our health. Actually stress can be a killer. Chronic stress for example, is linked to six leading causes of death including heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide, according to the American Psychological Association.
It is important to take action to manage stress to ensure your body is functioning as it should and for your overall health and well-being. Here are 20 really simple ways to help you to relax and de-stress. The following tips can also help relieve anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Read the following tips with an open mind and try to incorporate as many of them as possible into your daily routine.
With one hand on your belly and the other on your chest, take a big deep breath in through your nose filling up your diaphragm and then slowly exhale the air out through your mouth. Try to clear your head of any thoughts and and just try to focus on your breathing. Try to do six to ten deep breaths a minute for five to ten minutes. Taking slow deep breaths are a great way of lowering your heart rate, your blood pressure and help you to feel more relaxed.
Find a comfortable place in your home, this can be a chair, the couch or simply sitting on a comfortable cushion. You can play some relaxing music in the background if you wish. Begin your meditation by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Imagine any tension moving down from your head, past your chest, down your legs and out through your feet as you breath and relax. Try to focus on the present moment and let any thoughts go that come into your head. Rather than focusing on clearing your head of any thoughts, focus on just ‘being’. It takes a little practice to let thoughts come and go, but over time it will become easier. A simple five minute meditation can have you feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Use a Journal
I am a big fan of using a journal every day. Start off by writing down three things that your are grateful for. These could be anything from the home you live in, your family, your health, your job, having food on the table, your positive attitude. The list is yours, there are no rules here. Just get into the positive daily habit or recording three things that you are grateful for. Next, write down in your journal your short and long term goals. Finally, write down in your journal anything that might be troubling you. Get into the habit of getting your thoughts out of your head and down on paper.
Listen To Music
Do you have a favorite song playlist? Well, put up the volume and listen to the songs that make you want to sing, dance and forget about anything that might be bothering or stressing you. Music has the power to relax, inspire and make us feel happy. I find that listening to some music for just a few minutes is a great way to lift my spirit and have me feeling great. Try it!
We all know that exercise is not only good for improving us physically but there are mental benefits too. The feel good chemicals that are released by the brain such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine will help to lift your mood. A brisk walk or run are great ways to get the heart pumping and your muscles working. After just a few minutes of exercise you should feel any stress drift away. I like to go for a fast walk, listen to my favorite music and soak up the scenery around me to help me totally relax.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
Drink Green Tea
There are many health benefits of drinking green tea. If you want an energy boost and a healthy pick me up without any after slump, green tea is the answer. Green tea contains l-theanine which offers many brain benefits, it is widely appreciated for its ability to bring about a state of focused relaxation and calm attentiveness. Some people like to drink green tea in the evening to help them relax and sleep better.
Call a Friend
We all have that close friend that instantly makes us feel better when we speak with them. If something is bothering you, a good idea is to share what is on your mind with a good friend. A good chat with a friend is always a great way to put a smile on our face and give us a much welcomed mood boost.
Take a Nap
Sometimes the best way to unwind and relax is simply to lay down in bed and have a quick nap. As you drift away to sleep, imagine all of your worries drifting away also. After you have your nap you should be feeling fresh and relaxed again.
Try to get into the positive morning habit of stretching all of your muscles. Begin by stretching all of the large muscle groups such as your legs, chest and back, then gently stretch your shoulders, arms and neck muscles. A few light stretches are a great way to release any tension and stiffness from your muscles.
By simply inhaling some lemon, lavender or jasmine will instantly help you to feel calmer, think more clearly and relieve any tension. Lighting a scented candle in your home is an easy way to clear the air and have you feeling better in no time.
A good laugh is a great cure for when you might be feeling stressed or under the weather. Did you know that there is actually scientific evidence to back this up. Laughter actually enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and also increases endorphins that are released by your brain. Having a good laugh can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress. Watch a movie that always makes you laugh out loud or meet your friends that always put a smile on your face.
Get yourself into a comfortable position on the couch or a chair. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and recall a time when you were in a relaxed, tranquil environment. With your eyes closed, bring back the scene as vividly as possible (feel free to embellish the scene with more color and light. The memory is just a point of reference from where to begin.) Imagine the sounds, the sensations – perhaps a light breeze, or the warm feeling of the sun at the beach. Imagine all your senses immersed in the peace of the moment, relaxing in tranquility and harmony. When you feel complete, think about the rest of your day unfolding in total peace in harmony. Slowly open your eyes and notice how relaxed and wonderful you feel.
A wonderful way to relax and unwind is just by simply sitting outside (weather permitting of course). Feel the sun against your face, the wind in your hair and listen to the birds singing in the distance. This break outdoors from your typical surroundings is a great way to chill out and feel great again. Sometimes when I go for a walk in the local park, I will take a few minutes and sit on a bench and take everything in around me. The sights, the sounds, the fresh air always help me relax and de-stress.
Another great way to relax and de-stress to to read. This could be some motivational quotes, your favorite self help book or a great novel. The choice is yours. Occasionally, I like to pick a book that I haven’t read in a long time and start reading it again. A great book is a great book, no matter how many times you read it.
Switch Off Your Phone
Our phones can be a constant source of distraction. Emails, messages, phone calls, notifications, news feeds, sports scores etc etc. Try to get into the healthy habit of not using your phone or having it beside you 24/7. Better still, get into the productive habit of either not using it for the first hour of the day or switching it off in the evening an hour before you go to bed.
Clean The House
Some people find that cleaning can be very therapeutic. I like washing the dishes for example. I don’t know why, but I just seem to feel more relaxed as I wash the plates and cups. Some people enjoy vacuuming, while others like to iron clothes. Giving your home a regular spring clean can be a great way to freshen up where you live and tidy up all of your ‘stuff’ which can be contributing to your stress.
Have A Cup Of Coffee
Millions of people make coffee their morning beverage of choice to help kick start each day. There are many health benefits of drinking coffee. The chlorogenic, ferulic and caffeic acid contained in coffee can help reduce the inflammation of nerve cells that takes place in the brain of people with depression. Also, the caffeine in coffee causes an increase in your brain’s production of dopamine, leading to an increased feeling of well-being and a more positive mood. The next time that you are feeling stressed, make yourself a nice cup of coffee and enjoy all of its benefits.
Take A Shower
Having a nice hot shower is a great way to wash away any tension from your body after a stressful day. The warm water has a wonderful calming effect on the mind and soul. Having a nice hot shower to help your muscles relax followed by a cool splash of cold water is another great way to feel invigorated and energized. For an extra bonus, try singing your favorite song while you are having a shower for some extra feel good therapy.
Use a Singing Bowl
I use a singing bowl every morning for a just few minutes as a part of my morning routine. The sound of the singing bowl followed by the gentle vibration that it makes have a wonderful calming and meditative effect. Using a singing bowl is also a great way to aid your immune system and also improve your blood circulation. I also find that using a singing bowl helps me to relax, de-stress and re-focus.
Enjoy Your Time Alone
Sometimes all we need to do to help to relax and clear or mind is to simply switch off our phones, disconnect from the computer and spend some quality time alone with our thoughts. Get into the habit of liking who you are and enjoying your own company.
I hope that you find some of the suggestions above useful. I find a mixture of the above tips help me in different times. The important thing to remember here is to find what works best for you that will help you to relax and de-stress and do it.