Have you given yourself enough time to relax lately? Take a closer look at what you can do to bring more relaxation into your life
Putting things in perspective
Relaxation is important. It’s easy to forget to make time for yourself when things get stressful. Sometimes you might get so preoccupied that days can go by without you doing anything for yourself.
Many forms of relaxation, like walking or sitting quietly, are very simple, easy to do and don’t cost a thing. Others, like yoga or meditation, require some training or discipline. That being said, you can easily find videos online that walk you through a meditation practice called guided meditation, or follow along to yoga routines posted online. Going fishing or playing sports can be a great way of relaxing too.
Put aside some time in the day and try out some of these relaxation techniques to see which ones work for you.
Go for a walk, taking the time to notice what is around you
Listen to some music you really like
Sit quietly in a park and look at the things around you
Play your favorite sport
Take a bath
Watch your favorite show on Netflix or pop in a DVD
Visit a friend
Be creative, express yourself
Go for a swim
Do a puzzle
Read a book
Learn yoga or meditation
When you’re anxious or stressed, your breathing can become quick and shallow, which reduces the amount of oxygen going to your organs. Learning how to breathe deeply can help reduce some of the physiological symptoms of anxiety.
To become aware of your breathing, place one hand on your upper chest and one on your stomach. Take a breath and let your stomach swell forward as you breathe in, and fall back gently as you breathe out. Try to get a steady rhythm going, take the same depth of breath each time to breathe. Your hand on your chest should have little or no movement.
When you feel comfortable with this technique, try to slow your breathing rate down by putting a short pause after you have exhaled and before you breathe in again.
Initially, it might feel as if you aren’t getting enough air in, but with regular practice this slower rate will soon start to feel comfortable.
It might help if you imagine that you’re blowing up a big balloon in your stomach when you breathe in and deflating it when you breathe out. This exercise helps you to breathe more deeply. When you are consistently taking deep breaths, it sends a message to the brain and body to calm down. Give it a try!
Check out these videos on different breathing exercises to help you relax:
Traditionally, when practicing meditation, the objective is to have as still of a mind as possible. When thoughts surface, you observe them, let them fade away and return to stillness. If you’ve ever tried this before, it can be quite challenging, especially if you’re new at it. Guided meditation is a little different in that it doesn’t try to make you quiet your mind entirely. Instead you’re walked through relaxation techniques or guided imagery to calm your body and mind. Some guided meditations have specific purposes, such as helping you with sleeping difficulties, anxiety, depression, or spiritual/metaphysical interests.
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Acknowledgements: This article was originally developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com