Stress holds us back both mentally and physically. It doesn’t take long for stress to take its toll on the body as well as the mind. Due to this, it’s important to have coping strategies to achieve relaxation. There are many different strategies to aid relaxation, and there’s no one fits all solution. For those looking to improve their calming practices, here come ten to try give a try!
Writing down our feelings and thoughts when we feel stressed can be a great way to help us to relax. Write down what’s making you feel stressed and the other emotions that you are experiencing. Write down ways that you think you could solve the issue. Try to determine what or who might be able to help you. Sometimes, we feel stressed yet are unsure what the cause is. In these moments, writing freely can be a great way to connect to our minds and figure out the problem.
Aromatherapy is a great way to relax when you feel tense. Jasmine oil and chamomile oil have excellent calming properties; you can inhale them or add them to a bath if you prefer. Frankincense oil is another popular choice, as is lavender. Some people prefer to rub the oil into their skin to achieve the benefits. When rubbing essential oils into your skin, ensure that you first dilute them with some kind of carrier oil. A good carrier oil could be, for example, almond or coconut oil. Essential oils are quite potent, so applying directly to the skin could irritate sensitive skin.
Deep breathing can be a fantastic way to relax when you are feeling anxious. Simply taking deep and drawn- out breaths can help you to check-in with your body and mind to calm down. There are many different types of deep breathing techniques to practice. One example is ‘Equal Breathing’ or ‘Sama Vritti, ’ which is often practiced in yoga. To practice this technique, you must breathe through your nose in counts of four. So you’d inhale counting to four, and the exhale doing the same. Another breathing technique practiced during yoga is ‘Nadi Shodhana, ’which involves breathing through one nostril (while closing the other) and then switching nostrils.
Meditation is a fantastic way to relax and connect with the mind and body both. There are many different types of meditation to try; one, for example, is mindfulness meditation. During this style of meditation, the goal is to listen to thoughts as they go through your mind. The intention is to only observe the thoughts without judging them. Then there are styles of meditation that are concerned with clearing the mind of thoughts. Focused meditation, for instance, involves concentrating on one thing (like your breath) and trying to focus only on this without letting your mind wander.
Yoga is the ultimate relaxation exercise, perfect for those who struggle to unwind. During yoga classes, you’ll build up your core strength plus your flexibility and balance. Classes incorporate meditation, deep breathing, and relaxing music for a fully calming experience. Hatha yoga is a great go-to for beginners as these classes are generally rather slow. Hatha starts with the basic postures, so you’ll get to pick these up before trying more dynamic classes. For those who have trouble sleeping, it can be great to practice a gentle yoga class before going to bed.
Guided imagery involves closing your eyes and imagining that you are in a positive and calming place. It could be on the beach or in the forest, for instance. You imagine that you are alone walking through this peaceful scene, looking at the beautiful sights, hearing the relaxing sounds. You can do this practice yourself, or you can find a guided imagery recording to help you do this.
Supplements like Ashdawagna or St John’s wort are great for easing anxiety and promoting relaxation. Both are extracted from flowering plants and can be purchased in pill form. Those who struggle to sleep could also try magnesium supplements, as these can be beneficial to get a better night’s rest. Now that company websites like Unify Health Labs are available to search for the perfect supplement for you, there's really no excuse to not be getting the right vitamins into your diet! Another great product to try is CBD oil. It’s extracted from the marijuana plant, but it is not the same compound that can produce the marijuana-associated ‘high.’ The oil can be used to relax and feel calm after a hard day.
During times of tension, relaxing music can be lovely to listen to. Find something that’s slow, full of nature sounds, and melodic. There are many of playlists of soothing or meditative music to try. Simply lay down, put some calming music on in the background and allow yourself to unwind. Natural sounds like the waves or birds chirping can help us to feel peaceful and rest.
Drawing is a highly therapeutic way to relax and ease tension. With therapeutic drawing, it’s less about skill and more about focusing on the task. When you are focused on drawing, you allow your mind to become quiet. If you’re not sure where to start, perhaps choose an adult colouring book. There are some great ones available that involve the colouring of geometric patterns and shapes (which is said to be a rather soothing practice)!
The natural world raises our endorphin levels and is beneficial for both the body and the mind. Whether it’s a walk in the forest or a swim in the sea, try to get amongst nature as much as you can. Often we spend so much time immersed in the technological world that we forget to get our much-needed dose of the natural world!
As 2019 draws to a close, we start to reflect on our achievements and set goals for 2020. Reducing stress will help you to grow in the other areas of your life, so set a few of these stress-busting practices as goals.