Simple relaxation tips

So you know that being relaxed is good for your heart, your mind, your soul and probably the rest of you too, but you’re just too busy to book a spa day. Even a massage seems like an impossible goal.

Relax…de-stressing doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Try these relaxation tips and get some down time in your busy day.

1.Take time to breathe

You know how people say “And breathe…” when they are stressed? That’s because when the stress hormones kick in and the fight or flight response gets going, we can forget to breathe. Shallow breathing will increase your heart rate and make you feel even more stressed so when you feel yourself start to get wound up, take a few minutes to focus on your breath.

Sit up straight and close your eyes. Put your hand on your tummy and breathe in very slowly through your nose. Imagine the breath starting deep in your abdomen, and slowly working its way up to the top of your head. Stop…breathe out slowly and imagine the breath reversing back down to your abdomen as you exhale through your mouth.

2.Try meditating

Meditating isn’t complicated, despite what you might have heard. It’s one of those relaxation tips that’s simple and effective once you know how. All it takes is a bit of practice and you’ll be able to do it anywhere. Research suggests that meditating every day can help to change the neural pathways in the brain, which makes you better able to cope with stress.

So, how do you start?

Close your eyes, and sit with your feet on the floor. Think of a positive statement to repeat in your head or out loud, something like “I am calm” is good to start with. Place one hand on your tummy and say the manta to yourself as you breathe in and out. If you notice any annoying thoughts pop up, don’t try to fight them. Acknowledge them and let them go. It’s difficult at first but with practice it will get easier and you’ll feel much calmer.

3.Learn to tune in to your body

We can get out of sync with what our bodies are feeling when we’re stressed and sometimes it just takes a few minutes of focussing on how we feel to bring us back down to earth and get us out of our heads (where all the stress is)

How can you do this? Well the first step is to find a quiet place where you can sit and mentally scan your body, so that you start to notice when the stress is getting to you physically. Sit with your feet on the floor and focus on how your toes and feet are feeling. Are they hot or cold? Do you feel any pain or other sensations? Are they flexed or relaxed? Carry this on until you’ve scanned your entire body.

These three relaxation tips, when practiced regularly, will help you relax and banish at least some of your stress so that you can cope with whatever life throws at you with a serene smile.