Super Easy Relaxation Techniques
Being stressed and busy can feel like the new normal. But stay like that for too long and you could set yourself up for a whole host of problems — bad sleep, weight gain, low motivation, anxiety, and cruddy food choices. Good news: You can de-stress anytime, and it takes just a couple minutes. Here are some easy relaxation techniques to try.
When you consciously deepen your breathing, it does more than make your lungs happy. It can kick off a bunch of relaxation mechanisms in your body. Researchers have suggested that deep breaths may even have an analgesic effect — that means they help knock out pain! Next time you’re feeling extra crazed, try counting your inhales and exhales. Then try to make your exhales last longer than your inhales. This helps your brain get less busy, too.
It sounds cliché but “going to your happy place” actually works. Studies have noted that visualizing a peaceful, beautiful landscape is a top relaxation technique. When you picture it, your mind starts those wind-down actions that help you de-stress. You can choose a place you’ve been or one you want to go. Beach cabana in the middle of winter? You can get there anytime! Some experts suggest using the same visual image instead of mixing it up too much. That helps to relax you faster because you can get to a point where just thinking of that image starts to calm you down.
Relax the big toe on your left foot. Not easy, right? But consciously making the effort is all that counts. In terms of relaxation techniques, this one takes a bit more time because it’s better if you do it slow, but it works like a charm. Just try to “feel” each part of your body and silently tell it to relax. Loosen up, foot. Release, calf. By the time you get up to your head, you should be super de-stressed.
Smell the Flowers
Just like imagining a beautiful landscape can be helpful, you can use your sense of smell as a relaxation technique, too. Aromatherapy relies on using certain scents to trigger reactions. Numerous studies have shown that scents can cause instant changes in the nervous system, amping up your energy or bringing it down to chill-out level. Aromas that can work well for relaxation include lavender, sage, bergamot, and jasmine. But you don’t need a shelf of essential oils to do the trick. Sometimes just smelling some flowers or fresh laundry can give you a moment of happiness. Figure out what scents work for you and have them handy.
When you put more relaxation techniques into your day, you’ll find plenty of benefits. Not only can you improve sleep, but experts have suggested you can have better moods, less muscle tension, better digestion, and even more confidence when handling problems.