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6 Tips on How to Relax

woman relaxing with her feet elevated

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“Just relax.” It sounds so simple, right?

Unfortunately, relaxing can be very difficult sometimes. In fact, it can seem as if it is the hardest thing to do when you really need to tap into that zen mode.

Slowing down your mind and body and just taking some time to breathe deeply is so simple and effective, but we aren’t going to lie: It takes some practice.

That’s why we are here to share with you our top tips on how to relax when you really need it, but aren’t able to do it on your own.

Here’s how to relax & reduce stress

1. Start with your body

Picture of relaxed women meditating

It’s hard to relax your brain if your body is tensed up. So you’ll want to tackle your body first before you venture onto your brain.

How do you relax your body? First of all, you want to start with deep breaths. Breathing in deeply, holding at the top for a few moments, and breathing out loudly through your mouth is one way to slow your body down.

Another great way to chill your body out is to try progressive muscle relaxation. You can do this by starting at the bottom (with your feet). You tense all the muscles in your feet for a few seconds, then relax them, and do it again. Work your way up your body until you’ve tensed, relaxed, tensed, and relaxed every muscle in your body.

This doubles as a great distraction for your brain as well because you’ll be focusing on the process of tensing and relaxing.

2. Scale back on social media

daunting picture of a phone with social media icons

We get it — it’s fun to see what everyone else is up to on social media. However, there is no denying that social media can have a negative effect on our lives — studies prove this to be the case.

And there is also no denying that the majority of us spend way too much time checking social media, thus making its effects even more detrimental to our mental health, and our ability to relax.

Make it a goal to limit your social media time to an amount of time that makes you feel as if you aren’t missing out on things, but aren’t having it negatively affect your wellbeing.

3. Make a gratitude list

Relax Gratitude List

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our stresses and what we don’t have in our lives that we forget to recognize how many wonderful things we do have. And thinking about stresses and where our lives are lacking will never lead you to a state of relaxation.

Thus, combat your negative thoughts by writing a gratitude list. This is a great way to rid of those bad thoughts but to also just generally make you feel relaxed. You can put on your list simple things such as “I am grateful that I was able to eat breakfast this morning,” or you can make them more deep items — it is completely up to you.

This is something you should aim to practice on a daily basis. You will see a number of great benefits resulting from your gratitude list that go beyond just the ability to relax.

4. Meditate

picture of a relaxed man meditating in a field

There are many benefits of meditation that are backed by science. They include: stress reduction, anxiety control, higher levels of kindness, and so many more. Meditation is also great for relaxing.

But we know meditation isn’t easy for everyone. Sitting in silence with your eyes closed, ignoring all the surrounding sounds, and trying to keep too many thoughts from floating into your mind can be quite a challenge. We recommend starting off with just 5 minutes a day. Yes, even that little amount of time can make a difference in your relaxation.

There is also the option for walking meditation if you just cannot get the hang of the sitting kind. You’ll want to try and be out in nature and as you walk, take in the sights and the sounds and focus on those as well as what you feel physically, rather than the thoughts that are making you feel tense.

5. Find a hobby

picture of paint brush and pallet

Getting creative is a great way to relax. It switches your brain from focusing on the stressors right in front of you to focusing on using the creative parts of your brain that engage you in different ways.

Even something as simple as an adult coloring book is a great way to switch that creativity on.

6. Get outdoors and explore

Relax Get Outdoors

As kids, we did plenty of this but as adults, it can seem easier after a stressful day to sit in front of the television and totally tune out than it is to go for a walk outside and explore.

However, the benefits of exploring are far greater for you and your ability to relax than a television show. You never know what beauty you may find out on your walk, and it’s an absolute guarantee you will come back home feeling much more zen.

By implementing these practices into your daily life, you will find yourself far more relaxed and able to enjoy your life and the world around you.

Do your veins have you feeling tense?

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Satish Vayuvegula
Dr. Satish Vayuvegula is the National Medical Director at Vein Clinics of America. Certified by the American Board of Venous & Lymphatic Medicine, Dr. Satish Vayuvegula is recognized as a physician who has met rigorous standards of knowledge and extensive training in phlebology, the diagnosis and treatment of varicose vein disease and related disorders. Dr. Satish also shares his passion and expertise by serving as a board member of the American Vein and Lymphatic Society, the predominant national organization for venous and lymphatic disease.

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