With most of us having busy lives, it can be very easy to get swept up in emotions and become stressed and anxious.
Reports from the National Institute of Mental Health suggests that anxiety affects over 40 million adults in the US.
One of the reasons stress is such an issue in our society, is due to the fact that many of us simply don’t take time out of our day to relax and switch off our minds.
You may think that lying on the couch watching television after a hard day at work is relaxing your mind, but this can in fact have the opposite effect.
It is important to take time out to relax your mind each day and these are some simple, but effective ways to do it.
It may not be the first activity that crosses your mind when you think about relaxing, but exercise can actually be a great stress reliever and a way to really switch off.
Exercise releases endorphins, which naturally makes you feel happier and more content, but in addition, you are so focused on the exercise, that your mind has no choice but to switch off for a while.
It is important to aim to exercise for at least 30 mins each day and if you are prone to feeling stressed or anxious, you will find that this will make you feel much better.
There is no better way to help the mind to relax than meditation and if you can get into the habit of performing a meditation practice every day, you will soon find a difference in your ability to deal with stressful situations.
Meditation is best carried out in the morning and you only need to do it for a few minutes, although it is a good idea to try and increase the time, as the longer you do it, the more effective it will be. You can carry out your meditation in a position to suit you. You may feel more comfortable sitting on the floor or on a chair; everyone is different in what makes the meditation most enjoyable.
The practice of meditation is simply breathing in, holding and releasing the breath. This practice can help to relax the mind and can take away from the stresses of daily life. It can be difficult to stop the mind from wandering during meditation, but this is something that can be achieved through regular practice.
In some ways, taking yourself back to the activities you enjoyed as a child, can really help to relax your mind. Whether it’s sketching, colouring or drawing, this simple activity can give you the chance to focus on the task in hand and it can help to relax your mind in the process. We spend so much of our time thinking about what we are doing next or what we need to do, or worrying about things, that we often don’t just take the time to switch off our minds. These kinds of activities can really act as a stress reliever and can help to relax the mind.
Have you ever noticed how absorbed you can become in a good book that for those hours of reading, you don’t think of anything else? This is great for the mind, as it’s taking you away from any worries you may have, so your attention is focused on something else. In the same way, it can be good for the mind if you spend some time writing. Scribing is a common stress reliever as it is a good way of releasing your thoughts from your mind and putting them onto paper. This can reduce worry as it can get those feelings out there, so they are not over running your mind.
Listening to your favourite music, particularly if it helps to soothe you, can be a good way to relax the mind. This is particularly true if you relax in the bath with some candles while listening to your favourite tunes. Music can help make us feel good and can increase endorphins in our body, which can then relax the mind and provide a calming effect.
Not only good for staying in shape, yoga is known to calm the mind and rejuvenate the body. In a similar way to meditating, yoga involves carrying out various poses, while taking deep breaths in and out, which can help to relax the mind. It is all about clearing the mind, breathing in the good and releasing any tension in the body, to improve overall state of mind.
Sometimes it’s good to just carry out mindless tasks if you want to relax the mind. This might include going for a long walk, doing the housework or going out shopping. We tend to become stressed when we have too much time to sit and think, so it is important to work out when you start to feel stressed and what you can do to counteract it. For instance, if you start to feel stressed at night, then it might be worthwhile going for a walk before bedtime or to go and visit a friend. If morning is worse, then this might be the time to take care of some tasks around the house. You will be surprised at how quickly your mind can relax, if you simply take your mind off your worries for a while.
You are what you eat, as they say, so if you want to have a healthy mind, you need to pay close attention to your diet. If you tend to eat a lot of sugar and junk food, you will probably not be in the best state of mind, whereas a healthy diet will help give you a clear, relaxed mind. The more you look after your body, the more your mind will benefit so it is important to pay close attention to what you are putting into your body and make changes if need be.