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Can’t relax? Try these five tips



Stress is a part of everyone’s life—whether it’s our job, family, commute or the daily news. If we don’t find ways to relieve our stress, it can start to result in physical and psychological tension, which can lead to serious health issues. For some, the symptoms can be mild, like an upset stomach, headaches or trouble concentrating. But more extreme symptoms can include high blood pressure, poor sleep, emotional eating or even depression.

Relaxing your body physically and mentally is an effective way to relieve tension, and refocus your mind. You can combat physical and psychological stress by using these simple tasks to help you relax in the moment:

1. Take a deep breath (or several). Breathing exercises are an excellent way to quickly calm your body and mind. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, just find a quiet spot near you, set a timer for five minutes and simply reflect on your breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold it for two seconds, then slowly exhale through your mouth. Notice how your shoulders, chest and stomach move with each breath. Keep your focus on you and not what has you stressed. This will help lower your heart rate, relax your muscles and refocus your mind.

2. Get moving. If you start to feel tense or stressed, taking a walk or getting to the gym can greatly benefit you. First, exercise gets you away from what set off your stress. But, more importantly, it can distract you by naturally turning your focus to how your body is feeling. Your breathing will pick up, your muscles will become active and loose, and your mind will focus on your movement. You can even combine deep breathing and exercise by trying yoga or tai chi.

3. Have a laugh! A good laugh can relieve stress and tension by relaxing your muscles for up to 45 minutes. Laughing also releases endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals in your body that boost your sense of well-being and can temporarily relieve pain. Even better, laughter is contagious. It brings people together and spreads smiles throughout the day.

4. Cleanse your life of negativity. While you’ll never be able to get rid of everything that causes you anxiety, there are definitely ways to reduce the number of stressors in your life. For example, let yourself say “no” to some social commitments, try to surround yourself with upbeat people, and use the “unfollow” button on social media.

5. Keep life simple. Always looking for more than you have can lead to a very unsatisfying and overly stressed life. So enjoy the little things and allow yourself to feel content. Watch a sunrise or sunset. Put on some of your favorite music. Take the time to have a face-to-face conversation without using technology. Turn off the TV and sit down to have a family dinner.

These tips won’t just help you combat stress in the moment, they can also help you long term as you develop resiliency to frequent stressors in your life. Just remember to sit back and relax!

*This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant as medical advice.