Do you ever feel stressed and overwhelmed by things going on in your life? Most of us do from time to time. Stress is a normal part of life. It is actually a survival mechanism to protect us from dangerous situations. The problem arises when we don’t know how to relieve it, and the stress persists.
Here we are going to look at why we have chronic stress, and then I’ll show you how to relax your mind with some simple practices. You’ll see for yourself that a peaceful mind is well within your reach, no matter how stressed out you may be.
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Benefits of Relaxing Your Mind
The main benefit of relaxing your mind is that it relieves stress. By calming your mind, you’ll feel less overwhelmed by your emotions, which can make you feel like you’re losing control.
By calming your mind, you also avoid many of the health consequences of stress, such as high blood pressure, depression, and fatigue. A peaceful mind will improve your mood by reducing anger and frustration, and also improve your confidence in handling life’s problems.
Overall, you’ll feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Why We Have Trouble Relaxing Our Mind
I often hear people say, “I can’t stop my mind from racing.” They are usually busy people whose lives are filled with commitments and activities. They have demanding jobs and families to take care of. Sometimes, they are young people with goals and ambitions.
There’s nothing wrong with these scenarios. They are normal courses in our lives. The challenge is to find a balance between our commitments to others and our personal needs, and one of those needs is relaxation.
A busy life tends to overstimulate our mind. Basically, anything that touches any of our five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell) will trigger a chain of thoughts. So, all our activities are continuously stimulating our mind. And if we’re really busy, then we can experience sensory overload, which leads to a racing mind and stress.
Reframing Our Views About Relaxation
Another reason we have trouble relaxing our mind is our unconscious views about relaxation. Ask anybody about his views about relaxation, and he’ll probably tell you it is a good thing, and people should take the time to relax regularly. Then, ask him if he actually does that. Chances are he doesn’t.
It’s much like people’s views about exercising. They know it’s good for them, but they have a hard time practicing it. The reason is that our subconscious mind tells us something different. Our subconscious mind tells us things like:
“I don’t have time to relax.”
“I have more important things to do.”
“I need to be productive.”
“I don’t know how to relax my mind.”
“I’m the type of person who can’t sit still.”
These subconscious beliefs are very strong, and they dictate our actions. So, if we want to change these beliefs, then we need to reprogram our subconscious mind. That may sound difficult, but it’s not. You can easily do it with a technique called writing meditation.
With writing meditation, you simply copy a set of affirmations by hand in a notebook for about five minutes a day. You can do it at any time and any place. You don’t even need a quiet place.
After a few days, you’ll notice a change in your behavior. It will become easier to dedicate time to relaxing your mind. Here is the relaxation writing meditation:
I realize that I deserve to have peace of mind. I know that with a peaceful mind I will be happier, more productive, and make better choices in my life. May I live in a way that doesn’t overstimulate my mind. May I reduce unnecessary background noise around me.
May I take some time everyday to relax and settle down. May I have the strength to follow other relaxation practices to further calm my mind. I commit to relaxing my mind, so that I may realize true happiness and personal fulfillment.
In order to get the most benefit from this exercise, I suggest doing it once a day for about 3 to 4 weeks, or however long it takes for you to make relaxation a priority in your life.
How to Relax Your Mind
How to relax your mind is pretty simple. The suggestions below will accomplish two things:
- They will prevent your mind from getting too agitated in the first place.
- They will allow your mind to settle down naturally.
You are free to choose any of them. Your choice will depend on how agitated your mind is. If it’s highly agitated, then you’ll want to start with some simple suggestions, such as closing your eyes for a few seconds. Then as you begin to relax over time, you may want to try something for deeper relaxation, such as meditation.
Here are some simple practices for how to relax your mind.
1. Listen to Soothing Music
Soft music can go a long way toward relaxing your mind. The slow pace of the music will force your mind to slow down. There is a variety of different relaxation music on YouTube. Find something like a dreamscape with the sounds of nature.
2. Take a Walk
Going for a walk can help us clear our mind from all the clutter. It gets us away from the things that are agitating our mind, and helps us put things into perspective.
3. Make a Gratitude List
We often tend to focus on the things that we don’t have in our lives. This can be depressing, and keep us striving for those things we believe are missing.
Take about five minutes to write down the things you are grateful for. This will help reprogram your subconscious mind, and put you more at ease.
Get some inspirations here: 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life
4. Find Some Alone Time
It’s important to have some time for yourself. Take some time regularly to get away from everybody, and do something you enjoy, such as reading a good book, or watching your favorite program.
5. Cuddle with a Loving Pet
Studies have shown that some pets can have a great calming effect. They help take our mind to a place of simplicity and unconditional love.
6. Turn Your Cell Phone Off
Our cell phones are a great source of mental agitation. Is it really necessary to be connected to other people all the time? Turn your cell phone off for a while, if not hours. Most people in our lives can survive without us being on call.
Next are some really simple things you can do at any time, without taking much time from your busy schedule. They are meant to interrupt the acceleration of your mind. They also bring you back to the present moment, which is the essence of mindfulness.
7. Close Your Eyes
Just close your eyes for a few seconds. You can even follow your breath if you want. This will help reduce some of the sensory stimulation.
I personally enjoy funny social media posts, or reliving funny sitcom scenes. Laughing gives us a short break from serious issues.
9. Smell the Flowers
Flowers are nature’s work of art. They come in all shapes and sizes and scents. Stop once in a while to admire their beauty and fragrance. Don’t neglect the tiny ones. They too have great beauty.
10. Get Some Sunlight
Sunshine can have a tremendous calming effect. Go outside for a few minutes during your break. Sit on a bench, close your eyes, and just enjoy the warmth of the sun.
11. Look out the Window
If you’re not able to go outside, gazing out the window for a couple of minutes can be almost as good. Look at the trees, birds, and any other critters you can spot. And don’t just look at the immediate area, but also look into the distance.
If you are serious about how to relax your mind, the following practices will help you achieve a deeper state of relaxation.
12. Reduce Noise and Activity
If you live a busy life, there is probably a lot of noise and activity around you. Try reducing some of the background noise, such as TV and radio when you’re not fully engaged with them.
13. Relax Physically
Physical relaxation will help calm your mind. There are various ways to relax physically, such as stretching, practicing tai chi or yoga, or taking a warm bath. You can even listen to a guided meditation with a body scan.
14. Talk to a Friend
We often have things going on in our mind because we’re not able to fully make sense of them. Sometimes, just talking to someone else will help us sort them out.
15. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
This is a powerful and diverse practice that can significantly calm your mind. In addition to doing sitting meditation, you can also do mindful breathing, mindful walking, and guided imagery.
Take a look at the different types of meditation and see which one is suitable for you: 17 Types of Meditation (Techniques and Basics) to Practice Mindfulness
Physical exercise can help you get your mind off your problems, and calm your thoughts and emotions. It also gives you a greater sense of well-being by increasing your brain’s production of endorphins, the neurotransmitters that make you feel good.
As you can see, relaxing your mind is fairly simple. It is mainly a matter of reducing the things that agitate your mind, and taking some time to allow it to settle down naturally.
Just imagine what your life will be like with a peaceful mind. Things will become much clearer, you’ll make better choices, and you’ll feel more in control of your emotions and your life. All this is well within your reach. All you have to do is follow some of the simple practices outlined above.
More Tips to Help You Relax Your Mind
- The Importance of Scheduling Downtime
- 6 Relaxation Techniques to Calm Your Busy Mind
- 3 Deep Breathing Exercises to Relax and Reduce Stress
Featured photo credit: Tamara Bellis via unsplash.com
|||^||Health Direct: Relaxation and mental health|
|||^||Greatist: 40 Ways to Relax in 5 Minutes or Less|
|||^||Very Well Mind: How to Relax Your Body and Mind|
|||^||VeryWellMind: How to Relax Your Stressful Thoughts|
|||^||Very Well Mind: How Physical Exercise Benefits Mental Health|
|||^||MayoClinic: Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress|