When you’re dealing with stress, anxiety and other mental health issues, a little self-care goes a long way. Whether you’ve got a day to yourself or only a minute, these best relaxing tips are quick and easy, and can be used as often as needed.
1. Focus on your breath.
Taking slow, deep breaths activates your body’s natural relaxation response and can be done anywhere. Lie down and place your hand on your stomach, so you can feel it rise when you breathe in and fall when you breathe out. If your mind wanders during this exercise, gently bring it back to your breath without judgment. You can also listen to HelpGuide’s breathing meditation for additional tips.
2. Use visualization to relax.
Relaxing by imagining a peaceful setting can help calm the mind and reduce tension, especially for those who struggle to quiet their minds when trying to sleep. Try imagining the smells, sound and feeling of being at the beach, for example.
3. Practice progressive muscle relaxation.
This technique involves systematically tensing and then relaxing each major muscle group in your body, one at a time. This helps to create a familiarity with what it feels like when you are in a state of tension, so you can quickly recognize it and act accordingly. It’s safe for most people, but should be avoided by anyone with epilepsy or psychiatric conditions. If you’re unsure if it’s right for you, speak with your doctor before trying.