30 Ways to Relax Your Mind
From work deadlines to keeping up with your kids, there are plenty of everyday reasons to be stressed out. Add on all of the unknowns and unexpected changes happening in the world and it makes perfect sense why people are more anxious than ever. What should you do if you’re feeling like your mind is racing, every muscle is tense, and you can barely sleep? Here are 30 creative ways to help you relax your mind, so you can restore balance, reduce stress and live more fully in the present.
Train Your Mind
- Meditate – Meditation is a powerful way to help relax your mind. This might take some practice if you’re new to it, so consider downloading a free meditation app to guide you and get you started. Over time, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of meditation whenever you need.
- Breathe - Breathwork is a great way to not only focus your mind on a task but relax your entire body. When we get anxious, we also tense up and take more shallow breaths. Reverse this trend by focusing on deep breaths in and out or using a breathing technique like 4, 7, 8.
- Read - Pick up a relaxing or encouraging book, turn off your phone, and give yourself a set period of time to relax and read. Often the act of doing something else will distract our minds from what it was so worried about in the first place.
- Journal - It’s amazing how many benefits there are to something as simple as writing in a gratitude journal every day for a few minutes. Regardless of what you are journaling about, this can be a powerful way to help refocus your mind and get back on track.
Use Your Body
- Play Music - If you are a musician, use music as therapy. Sit down and just play. Or turn on a favorite song and let the rhythm and beat ease stress from your body and mind.
- Do Yoga - A relaxing yoga flow might be just what you need to give your mind a break. Look for free yoga classes on sites like YouTube.
- Go for a Run - Maybe yoga doesn’t work for you. A short-sweat session from a good run might clear your head in the right way.
- Take a Walk - Many past philosophers were known walkers. They would walk for hours and think through complex ideas. The act of walking is low impact but is still a great workout and you’ll be able to think through whatever is on your mind.
- Pet an Animal - There’s a reason pets are recommended for people struggling with depression. Petting a dog or cat or spending time with animals is often more comforting than being with humans where you feel the demands of expectations and the need to communicate.
- Start to Paint - Art therapy is real! If you haven’t started, now may be a great time. Pick up a paint-by-number set or just grab a canvas and some inexpensive paint and let the brush express how you are feeling.
- Visit Nature - A walk on the beach, a nice hike, or parking somewhere with an incredible view can be very therapeutic. Research has shown that staring out at seemingly endless vistas, like the ocean, makes us feel how small we are in comparison to the world and can help us put our problems in perspective.
- Dance - What an easy endorphin boost! Put on your favorite music and just bust a move. Bonus points for getting some other people in on the action!
- Clean - Our environments have a huge impact on our mindset. If your home or work environment has gotten out of control, give yourself time to organize, declutter, and get rid of whatever is getting in the way of your peace of mind.
Organize a neighborhood walking club with an online sign up. View an Example
- Fix a Favorite Meal - Food can really impact our moods. Plus, the act of making your favorite treat or dish could be just the distraction and comfort you need to calm down.
- Sip on Tea - Many teas are excellent for helping us unwind, such as teas with chamomile, lavender, or even green tea.
- Chew Some Gum - Chewing gum can activate a lot of muscles in your mouth and help distract you from what’s going on in your mind.
- Evaluate Your Diet - There are foods that can cause inflammation in the body, which can increase feelings of anxiety, digestive distress, headaches and more. Consider cleaning up your diet to see if food is one of the culprits.
- Grind Some Beans - The smell of fresh ground coffee and the act of making that perfect cup of joe might just lift your spirits and your energy level at the same time.
- Talk to Someone - Have you been struggling with stress for a while? Don’t discount the value of talking to a professional therapist who can offer you some new tools to deal with your stress.
- Phone a Friend - We’re all seeing our favorite people less than normal. But they are still just a phone call away. Take time to call your friends and family members.
- Start a Hobby - Have you put all of your hobbies on the back burner to care for others? Try to find a way to carve out a little time to get back into the activities you really enjoy or even start some new ones.
- Take a Trip - Travel might be harder than normal, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It’s easier to adjust our mindset when we change our perspective. Even a long road trip can be just what the doctor ordered to help you get back on track.
Invite friends to a game night with an online sign up. View an Example
- Volunteer – Helping others is often the perfect way to get out of our own heads or even help us put our own problems in perspective. There are many ways to give back from creating hygiene kits for a local shelter to stocking shelves at a food pantry.
- Donate - Clutter can really impact our mindset, too. Do you have things in your home that you could donate to someone who would appreciate and use them more? Perhaps you could collect clothes that no longer fit, toys that are gathering dust, or even furniture that you don’t use and donate to a local shelter to benefit others.
Collect donations for a local nonprofit with an online sign up. View an Example
Simple and Powerful
- Zone Out - Sometimes, you just need to give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing. Don’t discount the effectiveness of just letting yourself zone out.
- Take a Nap - If you’re stressed out, you may not be sleeping enough. Rather than pushing yourself to do more, the secret may simply be getting more sleep.
- Get a Massage - There are places that are taking precautions to offer safe massage options. Even if it’s just a foot massage, you’ll feel the stress melt away.
- Take a Bath - Another simple, but truly effective, stress management idea. Put in some essential oils or a CBD bath bomb, set your phone to play ocean waves or relaxing music and let your worries float away.
- Use Aromatherapy - You don’t have to be obsessed with oils to appreciate the power of aromatherapy. Consider some citrus blends to put a pep in your step or calming notes if you’re looking to get more Zen.
- Just Say No - Is there a particular commitment that you have agreed to that is weighing on you more than others? It may be time to just say no. If you can’t, what else in your life can you take off the table to clear up mental space?
We hope this list has sparked some ideas to help relax your mind and cope with stress. Don’t be afraid to unplug and give yourself the gift of open space on your calendar. Scheduling more “me” time can make a big difference in our lives!
Erica Jabali is a freelance writer and blogs over at ispyfabulous.com.