• Relax Your Mind: 14 Techniques To Slow Down

  •  - Relax Your Mind: 14 Techniques To Slow Down

Picture the perfect day of relaxation, free of the myriad everyday demands made from your professional and personal life. While taking a break sounds wonderful, does this type of relaxation actually help you manage stress?

While giving your brain a breather is certainly important, it’s just as important to work on everyday stressors, whether they are work related, personal, or due to the enormity of what’s going on in the world around you. How can you relax your mind while ensuring any unhealthy stress levels are kept in check as well?

The importance of stress management

A little stress can be good! Positive life changes such as a job promotion or getting married can be stressful, but with good outcomes. In fact, our bodies are built to manage stressful situations in small doses; these challenges force us to adapt and strengthen our abilities. However, it’s when stress goes unchecked or is cumulative that it can become detrimental to our health.

Continued stress becomes a significant health issue when we are exposed to negative tensions with no time to recover. That could manifest when we are exposed to a constant stream of bad news, a job you’re unhappy with, or an ongoing disagreement with a family member. When you can’t adequately recover from stress, the parasympathetic nervous system can’t bring the body back to homeostasis. As a result, you’re stuck in the “fight or flight” state, your body on edge and unsure what’s next. Over time, those stressors can add up.

To counter continued stress, consider exploring different techniques which can help you relax your mind and keep those stress levels in check.

1. Be mindful

The practice of mindfulness is grounded in focusing your awareness on what you are feeling in the present moment. Being conscious of your feelings, thoughts, and actions can go a long way to nip stressors in the bud before they transform into constant stressors. Knowing what causes stress in your life can help better prepare you to react positively when those stressors arise.

2. Try out meditation

A 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine uncovered meditation’s role in stress reduction. The seemingly simple act of remaining still, tuning in to your breathing, and focusing on a mantra can help relax your mind in a way that a TV binge can’t. The simple act of breathing can have a powerful calming effect on people of all ages; taking mindful breaths triggers your body’s natural relaxation response.

Meditation isn’t all mountaintops and retreats. Just a few minutes in the morning or the evening is enough to clear your mind. If you find yourself unsure where to begin, there are many apps that can assist your new meditation practice right from your favorite place to get comfortable at home.

3. Experience forest bathing

The act of engaging with nature is a powerful one, and a walk through the forest may be one of the most effective of all. Forest bathing, called “shinrin yoku” in Japanese, may have a significant impact on stress levels. In fact, the total experience is so relaxing that the meta-analysis found just mentioning shinrin yoku caused. Look up some hiking trails near you and explore one or two, whether one is a short and flat loop or you’re up for a heart-pumping challenge —⁓your body will thank you for it either way.

4. Put things into perspective

Think about what you’re experiencing within the greater picture of your everyday life. Something or someone may be aggravating, but it is truly the end of the world? At the end of the day, the only thing that we can control is our reaction, and negative reactions only compound the stress we may be experiencing. With a clear and accurate idea of the role a stressful situation plays in your life, you can compartmentalize what may be bothering you, better control how you feel, and let go of what seems trivial in the long run.

5. Treat yourself

You don’t need a full spa day experience to pamper yourself. Take advantage of time spent at home to give yourself a mani/pedi, do some gentle stretching, or apply a nourishing hair mask. New to a DIY spa day? Read our guide to creating a CBD spa experience in your own home.