How to relax: Tips to chill out

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By David Em

In today’s world with a focus on doing and achieving more, you may have forgotten how to relax. Learn the best techniques to relax your mind.

Did you know your body has a relaxation response?

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that it’s the opposite of a stress response.

Your breath and heart rate slows down and blood pressure lowers.

There may be a lot on your mind. So, relaxation seems out of reach.

The good news is that you can do activities and apply techniques to relax.

The following is your complete guide to relaxation.

Person leaning back while sitting in a chair.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

Why it’s important to relax

The reasons to relax are endless.

According to Health Economics, some of the most beneficial purposes are to reduce stress and anxiety.

When you relax, your body releases tension.

You’re also able to better cope with stressful situations and make better decisions.

Another reason to relax is that it helps to improve your mood and increase energy levels.

Your physical health will also get benefits. It helps reduce your blood pressure and heart rate.

Also, it can help improve your sleep quality.

For all these reasons, make time for relaxation every day.

The best ways to relax

There are many strategies to relax. The following are the best relaxation techniques.

You’ll find ways to relax regardless of where you are and how much time you have.

Breathing exercises

When you take a deep breath in and let it out, you may quickly feel a bit better.

It’s a short example of the impact of breathing exercises.

Shallow and short breaths can make you feel more anxious. So, be mindful about how you breathe to relax.

There are various breathing exercises you can do.

One of the best ways is to breathe in for three seconds, pause, and let out your breath for three seconds.

Do it at least five times, and you’ll begin to feel relaxed.

Meditate

Meditation uses various techniques to relax, achieve mental clarity, or be calm.

Take the following steps for a straightforward meditation routine:

  1. Sit or lie down comfortably.
  2. Focus on your breath.
  3. Gently close your eyes.
  4. Slowly scan your body and notice the sensations.
  5. Be aware of your thoughts.
  6. Come back to your breath.
  7. Slowly open your eyes when you’re ready.

Meditation is an excellent way to relax. If you find yourself getting sleepy, don’t worry because it’s natural.

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)

Progressive muscle relaxation dates back to Dr. Edmund Jacobson in the early 1920s.

It’s a two-step process to relax your muscles. Take the following steps to use PMR:

  1. Create tension in a specific part of your body.
  2. Release the tension to feel the muscle relax.

Do progressive muscle relaxation on the major muscle groups.

Start at your forehead and work your way down to your feet.

Journal your thoughts

If you have a lot on your mind, you’ll find it difficult to relax. So, write down your thoughts.

It can be in a journal or a notes app on your phone.

It’ll help you clear your head and understand your thoughts and feelings.

After you write down what you’re thinking, you’ll have more clarity.

You may also feel a weight lifted off your shoulders, allowing you to relax.

Spend time in nature

Nature offers a soothing effect. The sounds and beauty of nature can help you relax.

Go for a walk outdoors, smell flowers, or listen and watch waves.

The outdoors is excellent for relaxation and your well-being.

Get a massage

If you’re tense and can’t relax, get a massage.

It’s the perfect way to lay down, feel relaxed, and relieve stress and muscle soreness.

Deep tissue or shiatsu massages are two popular choices for relaxation.

Do something you enjoy

Have fun and enjoy yourself. The things you love to do will take your mind off the stress and anxiety.

You can draw, go to the movies, play a game, or do anything else you enjoy.

You’ll experience relaxation during or after the activity.

Talk to a friend

Friendships enrich your life. So, take the time to talk to your friends.

You can talk about your feelings, memories, and anything else that comes up.

When you talk to someone who cares, you’ll be able to relax and clear your mind.

Play with a pet

Pets offer a lot of benefits. According to John Hopkins Medicine, they can reduce stress and lower blood pressure.

Pets also ease loneliness and boost heart health. Relaxation is another essential benefit.

So, spend time with a pet. You can play or cuddle with a pet for relaxation.

The bottom line

Stress and feeling overwhelmed are a part of life. It’s essential to learn how to manage your emotions and relax.

Whether you prefer going on a walk or drinking herbal tea, use relaxation techniques daily.

Soothe your mind, find clarity, and live well.

Featured image courtesy of Canva.

Portrait of David Em.

About David Em

David Em is the Founder and Managing Editor of Relaxation Hero. He created it to be your ultimate resource for all things relaxation and mindfulness.