It is important to make relaxation a part of your day. Relaxation helps reduce stress and has many health benefits, including better heart health, stronger immune system, better cognitive skills, better brain health (stress can kill brain cells), and easier time maintaining weight. And that’s just a short list. The bottom line is that you need to learn how to relax in order to stay healthy both physically and mentally.
When you go on vacation, it’s easy to relax. You buy a drink, sit by the pool, and let your day go by without any chaos. But, at home, it is much harder to relax, especially after a busy day at work or with the family.
A day filled with deadlines, meetings, appointments, and chaos can be stressful, and it can make it hard to relax when everything is checked off the to-do list and all you have to do is chill out. Feeling as though you should be doing something is common, and if you don’t fight the feeling by relaxing, then you are going to get up and get busy again. Following are some simple techniques to help you chill out and get into a state of relaxation quickly.
1. Take A Pause To Switch Gears
Before you head home, or head downstairs, or head to the spot where you want to relax, take a moment to switch gears. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that you are now entering into a new part of your day, close your eyes and allow yourself to appreciate that the stress and chaos are behind you and now all you have to do is relax and enjoy yourself.
This simple technique of switching gears can have a powerful effect. Often we move from one part of our day to another and the momentum and stress from the last task blends into the new one. If you take a few moments to feel like you are really moving from one part of your day to another, you will literally feel like you’ve switched from high gear to low gear and have an easier time chilling out.
2. Leave The ‘Stuff’ Behind
After you make a point of switching gears, it’s important to leave all the stressful stuff behind. If you work at home, you know this well. It is tempting to get back on your computer and start looking around at stats, articles, and comments, and before you know it, it’s bedtime and you haven’t relaxed at all!
Take the actions you need to take to leave stuff behind. Don’t look at or take action on work after hours. Don’t focus on cleaning up the house between certain hours. Maybe even turn off your phone alerts. Make a certain period of your day for relaxation only, and then take measures to make sure that you don’t ‘quickly’ check on something or move back into a state that isn’t relaxing at all.
You will find that any article on how to relax will including meditation. Why? Because it works! When you calm down your thoughts, and focus on your breath, you instantly relax. The more you do it, the faster you can bring yourself to a relaxing state, so it is worth making a regular part of your routine as you move into the relaxation part of your day.
If meditation makes you fidgety because you are too up close and personal with your thoughts, then try a guided meditation. That is where you listen to someone talk and guide you into a state of relaxation. It helps keep your thoughts focused on something other than the fact that you are trying to relax (which isn’t very relaxing at all), and because of that, it helps you get into a relaxed state quicker.
4. Pick Up A Relaxing Hobby
Hobbies require brain power, but they can be very relaxing at the same time. Reading, painting, crafting, quilting, or gardening are all habits that help you chill out and relax while you do them. Even adult coloring books are becoming popular as a way to relax and zone out for a while. And, the great thing is that all these hobbies become addictive. You will start to look forward to coming home to your book or finish a painting that you started. Not sure what hobby you should take up? Try taking the quiz at http://www.allthetests.com/quiz30/quiz/1333141222/What-Hobby-Should-You-Have to discover what hobbies might best suit you.
This is a great way to relax quickly without having to do anything but lay down and listen. I often find that I fall asleep during hypnosis sessions if I lay down, so you may want to sit up if you are not going for the totally relaxed state!
You can actually buy hypnosis sessions specifically for relaxation, which will teach you how to find cues and triggers to move yourself into a relaxing state. In other words, you will develop some techniques to come home, snap your fingers (or some other trigger), and feel more relaxed instantly. It is amazing at what our brains can do, and when you associate something, such as a noise, sight, or smell, with relaxation, then your body will instantly respond to the trigger.
6. Create Your Own Trigger
If you don’t want to try hypnosis, then create your own trigger for relaxation. Find something that relaxes you and use it to help you move yourself into a more relaxed mood. This should be a sight, sound, smell, or even something that you can touch. Some examples include, the sound of chimes, the sight and smell of candles, and the sight of a fire or other background.
In my area, the TV has recently added channels that display relaxing sights, such as the ocean or a campfire or a beach. But, if your TV doesn’t have that yet, then simply find an image on your computer, or an image in a painting, and place it where you can see it as soon as you come home and start to unwind. If you need to use your computer, I recommend calm.com – and I think there is also an app that you can add to your phone or tablet.
Not heart-pumping exercise, but softer and more controlled exercise can be a great way to quickly relax after a long day. Tai chi and yoga are two examples of gentle exercises that can have an instant and long-lasting relaxation effect.
For most people, tai chi would be the preference. It is a way of meditating with motion as it involves many movements done in a slow and controlled way while breathing in a slow and controlled way. Plus, it is easy on your joints and muscles, and anyone at any age can do it.
A friend of mine used to work in a senior’s home with an entire ward dedicated to Chinese people. That was his favorite ward to work on because all the residents were very excited about exercise time and participated, whether they were sitting down or standing up. They all knew the benefit of the exercise, and unlike other wards where it was like pulling teeth to get people to exercise, not one person on the Chinese ward missed their daily tai chi.
8. Conscious Breathing
When you are stressed out, what do you do? You take deep breaths to help yourself calm down and get on with your day. When you are angry, what do you do? You take deep breaths to help you relax and react in an appropriate way. This type of deep breathing comes naturally to us when we are overworked and stressed, but many of us don’t think to use it as a way to relax after a long day of stress.
Conscious breathing simply means purposely breathing and being aware of it. You should breathe in through your nose softly and deeply. Then breathe out the same way. Feel the breath going in and out of your nose, and make sure you are breathing from the diaphragm and not the upper chest. It helps you get a deeper breath in and is more relaxing. If you want, you can imagine a white light going into your body as you breathe. Imagine the white light is filled with relaxing properties that have an accumulative effect and bring you into a state of relaxation quite quickly.
9. Acupressure Mats
Lying down can help you relax, but laying on an acupressure mat is made to help you relax and rejuvenate. Acupressure has long been used to heal and unblock the flow of Qi for more harmony in the body, but not everyone has someone to do acupressure in the home, which is where an acupressure mat can come in. An acupressure mat can help relieve pain and muscle tension in all areas of the body, and it can improve circulation. People who use it rave about how relaxing it is to the body, so it may be a tool that you want to try.
10. Get Laughing
Laughing is good for so many things, and relaxation is one of them. When you start laughing, you feel more comfortable and willing to enjoy the moment. You stop stressing out about the day and start focusing on what is making you laugh.
If you have a friend or partner who you laugh with a lot, then make sure that talking to them is the first thing you do when you get home and want to relax. If you don’t, then turn on a good movie or TV show that makes you laugh and don’t watch anything else until you have had your daily dose of laughter that makes you feel good, relaxed, and ready to do some easy going things.
11. Stand By Your Morals
When it comes to how to relax, this one is important. This isn’t something you can do right when you get home, but it is something that you can do throughout your day to make sure that when you get home, you don’t focus on guilt, regret, or other negative emotions that keep you tense. If you do good throughout your day, then you will feel good and not have any emotions holding you back from relaxation.
Therefore, stand by your morals throughout the day. Do good things. Be kind. Help people out. Make the most of your day in as positive a way as you can, and then come home with a clear conscious that allows you to reward yourself with some rest and relaxation.
12. Play A Video Game
When you think of someone playing video games, what do you picture? A lazy guy sitting on the couch and relaxing? Probably! That’s because playing video games doesn’t demand much of you other than a few fingers and some thoughts about what you are doing.
Moreover, video games allow you to escape into another world for a few minutes. If you can find a video game that takes you into a magical place where you have to take action for a while, then you are going to be taken away from your stress and worries of the day and into a place that allows you to relax.
Just be careful, though, because a few minutes of video games can be relaxing, but a whole night of video games, every night, can be a total waste of your life!
13. Go For A Walk
Connecting with nature is the ultimate way to relax. Many people feel like they don’t have the energy to do this, but walking actually promotes energy in the body and helps you feel more alert, centered, and at one with what is happening around you. I go for a walk every morning and evening as a way to relax and get focused.
While a walk is good, a mindful walk is better. Pay attention to the smells, sights, and sounds around you. Feel your body as it moves and takes you from one step to another. Stay present during the entire walk, and you will get a bigger boost of relaxation from it.
14. Take A Bath
If you can’t unwind at all, then take a bath. This is the oldest trick in the book because it works! Water is calming and it can help you de-stress and get into a relaxed state. Add some smells, such as lavender to your bath, light some candles, and let yourself enjoy the warm, relaxing bath. It only takes a few minutes to really feel the effects.