Relaxing should be intuitive, shouldn’t it? Who doesn’t want to feel relaxed and stress-free?
While that seems like a no-brainer, for people who are under constant stress – whether because of work or other personal issues – being able to truly relax may not be easy. There is no such thing as an “ON/OFF” switch to relax.
Whether you find letting go of stress easy or you’re one of those whose muscles are always tense, here are some relaxing things to so that will quickly relieve stress. They may not have a “forever” effect, but they’re easy go-to activities that work over time.
Some of these activities may already be familiar, but I promise you, you’ll find some new gems in this list.
1. Focus on your breathing. Pause in between inhalation and exhalation. Repeat as many times as needed.
2. Focus on your muscles. Are your jaws clenched? How about your stomach muscles? Your neck? Are your facial muscles all scrunched up? Consciously soften and relax them. Every time you feel like you’re going to burst, check your muscles again.
3. Go green – tea, that is. People tend to highlight the weight-loss benefits of green tea, but one of its components, L-Theanine, is known to calm you down and ease anger.
4. Munch on chocolate. The benefits of dark chocolate have been lauded over and over again, but what we want to highlight is the simple fact that it makes you feel better. Just don’t stuff your face.
5. Eat some mango. I love me my mango shake. I can’t get enough of that stuff! I didn’t know it before, but mango helps stop panic and anxiety attacks! Always stressed? Make it a point to have mangoes in the fridge.
6. Smell coffee. If you truly dislike coffee, then skip this one. However, if you don’t have that kind of aversion, get some beans or brew a pot. Merely smelling the aroma helps people feel better.
7. Smell orange peels. Orange and other citrus fruits have a calming effect as well. You don’t have to eat the fruit – just smell.
8. Stroke a cat or dog. Pets can reduce their owner’s stress levels. You don’t have to wrestle with your dog in the yard if you’re feeling lethargic. You don’t have to play with your cat (kind of difficult, depending on the feline’s mood). But you can always snuggle with your pet and stroke his back or head. Not only does this make your pet feel good – you also feel better.
9. Count or recite the alphabet – backwards. Whaaat? I’m not kidding. Just try it.
10. Read poetry. Whether you are already in love with poetry or not, reading poems is a relaxing thing to do. What poems to read depend on your taste, of course, but if you’re just “starting out” do a bit of research and try different poets first. Better yet, start with the popular poets.
11. Squeeze it out – using a stress ball. This is a classic, and we all know it works (although some stress balls need to be replaced more often than others, depending on the owner). Here’s a tip: don’t go for the run-of-the-mill stress ball. Get something quirky, something weird, but something you like. How about this?
Or, here’s someone who’ll bear the brunt of your burden.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, here’s your chance to exact revenge and let your stress go.
I think I’ve made my point.
12. Look out of your window. Just get your eyes off your computer screen for a while. Looking at the horizon will calm you down. And, even if you’re not at work, looking far away gives your eyes relief, which also leads to a feeling of peacefulness.
13. Plan a trip. This, I swear by. Whenever I feel overwhelmed with stress, I stop what I am doing and plan a trip. I dream about a destination, and sometimes visualising that is enough. A better thing to do is to go one step further and look at details online – check flights, hotels, and activities. Even if you don’t end up going on the trip, planning one puts stress aside immediately.
14. Buy a treat for yourself online. While you’re at it, go buy something online. Make it something that is not in your usual shopping list – enough that you consider it a luxury but not too much that it will hurt your budget. While I’m not a big advocate of retail therapy (the overboard kind), this trick will relax you rather quickly.
15. Nap. Close your eyes. Lay your head on your desk. Lie down on the couch or your bed. Sometimes, a nap is all your mind and body needs. In fact, it is the best thing you can do to relax.
BONUS: Blow soap bubbles.
Got any quick tips yourself? Share them with everyone in the comments!