Stress is a normal part of life, but too much of it can have negative health effects. Learning how to relax is important for keeping you healthy in mind, body and spirit. Whether you have a hectic lifestyle or a health condition that makes it difficult to relax, there are several techniques you can try.
Close your eyes and imagine a place that calms you, like the beach. Include all your senses to make it more realistic, such as the sound of waves crashing and the feeling of wet sand on your feet. You can even create a playlist of calming songs to help you unwind or watch soothing videos on YouTube.
Deep breathing helps reduce anxiety and depression, eases pain from chronic conditions like arthritis or irritable bowel syndrome, and prevents insomnia. Breathing exercises are easy to do and can be done anywhere. Try focusing on the 4-7-8 breath technique or taking a minute to massage your jaw muscles, which can be helpful for people with temporomandibular disorder.
Journaling gives you an outlet for pent-up emotions, while helping you sort out your thoughts. You can write about work worries, debt or peeves with your roommate or partner to get them out of your head and onto the page. Creating a vision board also provides an inspiring focus. Try to find a relaxing hobby that you can do regularly, such as painting or gardening. Alternatively, make a commitment to enjoyable social activities like a monthly racquetball game or a bimonthly board-game night with friends.