It's good to know the best ways to relax so you can take yourself out of a stressful situation and begin to feel stress relief as soon as possible.
Probably the most popular and most effective way to tame tension fast is to stop and take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing removes you a little bit from the stressful situation because you have to focus on breathing in and out.
Breathing is one of the best ways to relax because it actually interrupts the stress response, stops the body from making the stress hormones, and really does help to calm you down in an instant.
Even better, it's something you can do any time, anywhere, and it will have you feeling better in a flash.
Meditate or Visualize
Another great addition to your deep breathing exercise is meditation or visualization. They aren't necessarily the same thing. Meditation usually involves trying to clear the mind of everything except maybe for a word or phrase that you're focusing on (such as "calm," "peace," or "I am in control" if you're trying to nip stress in the bud) while visualization calls on you to focus on a particular scene that brings you calmness, such as a favorite place or an imagined mountain, stream or forest.
Whichever of these techniques you choose to use, they can help you relax quickly because they take you mentally away from the stressful situation, which may help you gain some perspective on your problem and realize it's not as horrible as you first imagined.
When we feel stress, we tend to tense up our muscles, particularly those in the shoulders, neck and back. A technique known as progressive muscle relaxation can help tame the tension and make you feel more relaxed really quickly.
This is another good one to combine with deep breathing. Inhale deeply, then exhale and relax your feet. Feel all the tension release from your feet as you empty your body of breath.
Inhale, then exhale again, feeling the stress move from your lower legs. Continue in this manner, moving up the body to the upper legs, the low back, mid back, shoulders, arms, neck and head, taking as much time as you need to feel all the muscles relax and the stress drain out of your body.
More of the Best Ways to Relax
Here are some other ideas that will help you relax quickly and get you to a place that feels calmer and more controllable:
- Take a bath.
- Take a walk or get some other kind of physical activity.
- Try a short session of yoga or stretching.
- Get physical with someone, whether that means a hug or more.
- Listen to some music you love, read a poem or look at a picture that makes you smile.
- Write down what's bothering you. Destroy the page when you're done if you want.
- Distract yourself by visiting your favorite Internet sites or watching a bit of television (no news, please!).
- Do something that makes you happy, such as taking part in a hobby or chasing your kids around the backyard.
- Pet your dog or cat, if you have one.
- Create something: making a healthy dinner for yourself or even sketching some funny little doodles can help break the tension.
- Become a kid again: stash a coloring book, some modeling clay or another little toy in your desk or somewhere in your house to give yourself a few minutes of fun.
- Squeeze a stress ball, jump up and down or do something that physically represents the frustration you're feeling. Scream a little, too, if it helps and there's no one else around.
The next time you're feeling stress, give one or several of these ideas a try. They might not all work all of the time for you, but having many different options means you're sure to find something that will make you feel a little better.