Do you feel overwhelmed? Are your days full of stress and anxiety?
Then it’s important you learn how to relax and de-stress yourself immediately with these simple and effective relaxing techniques.
Why do you need to relax?
Between balancing careers, relationships, social life, and family, modern lifestyles have become extremely complicated and stressful. By learning how to relax, you can calm your mind and body, heal from your daily dose of stress, and create some much-needed time for yourself.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), stress levels among American people have increased significantly in the past 10 years. The economy and workplace stress are the major factors contributing to the rising stress levels.
The American Institute of Stress stated, “Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away from the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.”
Unfortunately, chronic stress can lead to a lot of mental and physical health issues like depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
This is why it has become more important now than ever that you learn how to relax using techniques that can immediately take the edge off from the moment and help you control your emotions.
So, if you are looking for some helpful tips and strategies to relax, then these tips can make you calm down in less than 15 minutes.
There is a good reason why this is on the top of the list. Meditation allows us to observe our thoughts and emotions in a detached, non-judgmental way.
Psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, Ph.D. says, “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress.”
Meditating for as little as 10 minutes every day can significantly reduce your stress and anxiety instantaneously. Studies have discovered that meditation can not only help in reducing stress, regular practice of meditation can also minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Meditation expert and author Light Watkins explain, “Real people living busy lives can meditate successfully on their seven-year-old couch, in bed alone or next to their snoring partner, in the passenger seat of their car, at work, at the kitchen table, in the backseat during a road trip, on a park bench, or in a bus or plane seat.”
All you need is to sit down, close your eyes, and bring your attention to your breath.
2. Breathe deeply.
Therapist Scott Dehorty, LCSW-C says, “Breathing is the number one and most effective technique for reducing anger and anxiety quickly.”
Breathing techniques are incredibly helpful when you are trying to learn how to relax immediately. You can do this anywhere and at any time. All you need is to take 5 minutes off and focus on your breath. Breathe in fresh cool air through your abdomen and breathe out warm air releasing all your tension.
Certified life coach and psychologist Judith Tutin, Ph.D. says, “Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.”
There are different types of breathing exercises like box breathing, the 7/11 breathing technique, alternate nostril breathing, and many others that can help you relieve stress and balance your mind and body.
Emily Fletcher, the founder of Ziva Meditation, said that alternate nostril breathing “helps to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain and has immediate energizing and calming effects.”
3. Practice mindfulness.
If you want to reduce stress, anxiety, and fear immediately, then shift your focus from negative thoughts and bring your attention to the present moment.
By becoming aware of the present moment, you will be able to realize the beauty hidden in the present, instead of thinking about your past or worrying about your future. Mindfulness allows you to live in the now, which is actually all we have.
Psychologist Judith Tutin, Ph.D. explains, “Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness.”
It will allow you to pause, slow down, and enjoy the moment. So whenever you are too stressed, focus on your senses to relax immediately. This is one of the best tips to learn how to relax.
According to a Harvard Health Publishing report, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques and meditation can greatly help in relieving mental stress and anxiety. Moreover, an analysis of studies published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal revealed that mindfulness meditation has proven effective in coping with psychological stress, depression, and even physical pain.
Psychologist Deborah E. Dyer, Ph.D. explains, “Focus on your breath and be keenly aware of where you are. By focusing on your breath and your immediate circumstances, it is a form of focus that pulls you into the present and away from your wandering thoughts, which are likely the primary cause of your stress.”
4. Scan your body.
Scanning your own body mentally can help you understand where you are holding tension, how it affects you, and help you release stress as well.
All you need to do is sit comfortably or lie on your back and just scan your body from your toes to your scalp. As you move through each part of your body, gently notice how it feels physically.
Judith Tutin, Ph.D. adds, “Simply be aware of places you feel tight or loose without trying to change anything.”
By simply scanning your body for 2 minutes you can help it relax. Breathe deeply into your body while scanning and imagine fresh breath flowing to the specific body part you are scanning. Be aware of the sensations and repeat the process for each body part.
Wellness coach and author Elizabeth Scott, MS explains, “Body scan meditation is a good way to release the tension you might not even realize you’re experiencing.”
Studies have found that body scan meditation can help with stress relief, improve sleep, enhance self-awareness, reduce pain, and boost self-compassion.
Elizabeth adds, “By mentally scanning yourself, you bring awareness to every single part of your body, noticing any aches, pains, tension, or general discomfort. The goal is not to relieve the pain completely, but to get to know it and learn from it so you can better manage it.”
5. Listen to music.
If you want to know how to relax, then all you need to do is plug in your earphones and listen to your favorite music. Experts have found that music can have an instant calming effect on our mind and body.
According to a 2017 study, “a minimum of 20 min of music listening” can lower stress levels remarkably. Another 2015 study found that listening to music is highly effective in reducing stress.
The research stated, “Results revealed that mere music listening was effective in reducing subjective stress levels. The most profound effects were found when ‘relaxation’ was stated as the reason for music listening, with subsequent decreases in subjective stress levels and lower cortisol concentrations.”
Moreover, listening to your favorite music can also reduce your anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure.
Cathy Benninger, an assistant professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, suggests, “Create a playlist of songs or nature sounds (the ocean, a bubbling brook, birds chirping), and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece.”
However, you can also listen to more peppy and upbeat tunes to lift your mood and even sign along. These are undoubtedly the most effective science-backed relaxation techniques that will enable you to relieve stress and anxiety instantly.
6. Try hydrotherapy.
Splashing some cold water on your face and pulse points can help you cool your body temperature and make you feel energized. Running cold water or putting ice on your wrists can help you calm down quickly as major arteries run through the wrists.
7. Get some sun.
Step out of your home or office for a while and feel the warm sun on your skin. Vitamin D from the sunshine can lift your mood instantly.
8. Take a quick walk.
Getting some fresh air and moving your body for just 10 minutes can clear your head and make you feel ready for the tasks ahead.
Laugh out loud with your friends and family. Watch your favorite sitcoms or funny videos on YouTube to enjoy a full-on laugh-out session.
10. Chew gum.
Chewing gum can help you keep stress away and enhance your productivity and mood.
11. Practice creative visualization.
Mentally imagine what you want — your goals, objectives, dreams, and think about how you want to feel about it.
12. Massage your hands.
If you want to know how to relax, then simply give yourself a hand massage for 5 minutes, according to research.
13. Eat the right food.
Food and drinks like dark chocolate, honey, and green tea are known to relieve stress and anxiety.
Instead of going for an hour-long yoga session, you can stretch certain body parts while on the go to relieve body tension and relax your muscles.
15. Take some alone time.
Spend some time alone and gather your thoughts and emotions. Spending 5 minutes with yourself can help you calm down a lot.
16. Look outside.
Simply stare outside from the window and look at the sky, clouds, tries, park, or even people walking outside. Take a break from the screen and look at life.
17. Sniff oranges.
The citrusy scent of oranges can help to reduce stress and anxiety and boost your mood, according to studies.
18. Pet a furry friend.
Spending some time with your pet can help to greatly reduce your stress and anxiety levels instantly, studies have found. Now you have more reasons to spend time with your furry friends.
Well, there you have it! Relaxing is easy.
Stress has become an inherent part of our daily lives today. This is why it is crucial that we intentionally make relaxing a daily habit as well.
Now that you know how to relax and destress yourself even in the most difficult moments, make sure to deliberately follow these strategies and practice these tips whenever possible during your normal daily schedule.
These relaxation strategies are quick and easy that can be practiced whenever you want. So go ahead and relax your mind and body. You deserve it.
Theo Harrison is a writer who focuses on relationships, health and wellness, and psychology. For more of his content, visit his author profile on The Mind’s Journal.