Letting Go: 5 Relaxing Activities That’ll Bring You Back to Zen
Has stress and anxiety taken over your life? It’s time to regain control. Read on for some relaxing activities that’ll help you recover.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting about 18 percent of us. That’s 40 million people! Whether you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder or experience stress in your daily life, there are some things you can do right now to feel better.
In this article, we’ll take a look at five relaxing activities you can try to quiet your mind and reduce your anxiety.
1. Deep Breathing Exercises
When we’re under stress, our bodies often automatically kick into what’s called the “fight or flight” response. Our heart rate goes up, and our breathing increases. You might feel like you can’t quite catch your breath.
It’s a normal response to anxiety, but it can have long-term effects on our health. Serious anxiety can cause digestive problems, headaches and sleep disorders. But, if we can engage something called the “relaxation response“, we can learn to respond to stress in healthier ways.
The relaxation response was identified by Dr. Herbert Benson. Dr. Benson was a professor, author, cardiologist and the founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute.
Deep breathing is one way we can develop the relaxation response. To begin, sit comfortably with your back straight. Breathe in through your nose. Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale. You want to spend about five seconds on each breath. So, count to five while you breathe in, hold for five and then exhale for five seconds.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
You can do this while you’re practicing your deep breathing. In mindful mediation, you focus on your breathing and bring your attention to the present moment. Try to avoid thinking about the past or the future.
This relaxation exercise will help slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and decreases the level of stress hormones in your body. Creating the relaxation response through regular use of relaxation techniques can counteract the negative effects of stress.
This activity allows you to use your imagination to think about relaxing places you’ve visited or pleasant experiences you’ve had. It might be a beautiful beach you love or a walk in the woods.
The idea is call up those images, visualize them and imagine what it feels like to be there. Remember to slow your breathing and focus on your senses. What did the woods look like? Smell like? Sounds like?
4. Rhythmic Movement and Exercise
Exercise is a great way to blow off steam and work out anxiety. The best exercises for this are repetitive, rhythmic workouts that allow you to lean into the flow. Biking, running and swimming are examples of workouts that encourage you to focus on the steps, the strokes or the pedals.
Remember when you were a kid and loved to jump on the trampoline? That’s another activity that’s great for stress release!
5. Relaxing Activities Using CBD Oil
CBD oil is a cannabinoid that is becoming increasingly popular as a method for relieving anxiety and stress. It won’t get you high, because the main ingredient is cannabidiol. It doesn’t have any psychoactive effects, unlike the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in medical marijuana.
You can find answers to some of the most common cbd faqs here.
Some people find certain herbs are helping for relieving stress and anxiety. Chamomile tea can be a soothing drink before bed. The scent of lavender can also help you sleep better.
Other relaxing activities might include listening to music and dancing. Classical music can help you calm down, while an up-beat song can lift your mood.
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