With school, our jobs, our financial situation, our friends, and our family lives in constant demand of our time and energy – stress has become one of the biggest threats to our health. While regimented meditation practices are known to keep stress – and the many health issues that it can cause us – at bay, not everyone has the environment, time, or ability to find nirvana using these technique. So what are the rest of us to do? Not to worry – there is hope! Carving out a few short moments of true relaxation can deliver the same benefits as long-term, disciplined meditation sessions. Below you will find ten simple ways to relax for those of us who don’t have the ability to live like a monk!
1. Hug genuinely, and often. Of course, when you give a hug, you’re also receiving one! This simple connection can surprisingly lift a lot of tension from our bodies. Can you recall ever feeling the urge to hug someone who has been through a rough time? That’s because we naturally want to aid those for whom we care – and hugs can truly relax someone dealing with a lot of stress.
2. Change up your daily routine. Force yourself off of the beaten path! When we do new things – even such simple things as going home a different way, cooking something unfamiliar, finding a group of people who meet to do things we enjoy doing – we notice more beauty, and are able to enjoy a greater portion of our day.
3. Take a hot bath. This will grant you the trifecta: physical, emotional, and mental relief! Not only are you providing deep relaxation to your muscles, but also you are granting yourself a nice, quiet session in the tub, away from the world and all about you.
4. Quietly look on your mind’s eye. Sometimes if we’re feeling anxious, just a few moments of quiet (even at our desks) can help us figure out exactly what it is that’s nagging us. Pinpoint it, and find a way to take action against whatever is hiding just below the surface to cause you stress.
5. Laugh. Such a simple thing, yet many of us forget that it’s so easy to do! A phone call to a funny friend, a few moments of surfing the net for silly videos, or even just thinking about funny moments in your life can break the tension that you’re feeling.
6. Listen to soft music. We all have different music that helps us relax. Be sure to keep a few tracks with you to listen to in your car after a rough day at work, in bed to help lull you into a deep sleep, or wherever else you find you need it.
7. Get out. The environment we’re in can be a huge stressor if we allow a lot of negative energy to build up around us. Simply step outside the room and walk down a hallway, get outside during lunchtime for a short walk, or choose a different room where you can work, and you’ll find yourself feeling refreshed.
8. Take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing can truly be transformative. Start with trying just three deep breaths through your nose, and out of your mouth. Try and clear your mind of everything, concentrating on your breath alone. This is essentially a micro-meditation activity, which can easily be the most effective of the techniques when done genuinely.
9. Sip some herbal tea. There are many herbal teas out there – chamomile, lavender, and valerian root are just a few. If you don’t care for these, just trying a simple cup of non-caffeinated hot tea can be relaxing (add honey if you’re feeling fun). Try using a straining ball with fresh herbs for the most flavour and potency.
10. Get some exercise. You don’t have to be a gym rat to get your heart rate up enough to shed some stress. After a five or ten minute walk, bike ride, or even jumping jacks can find you in a completely improved headspace. If you have time, try doing it in a lovely setting.
There is more than enough going on in our lives to keep us stressed. Don’t accept this as natural! Stress is not just annoying; it can threaten our health and the livelihood of those around us as well. Introducing any of these simple techniques into your life can hopefully help you find calm a little at a time – and once you do that, it will be easier and easier to identify and erase the stress that’s coming over you before it reaches a fever pitch!