relax your mind | Terezia Farkas | depression help | Beliefnet

There are many techniques that help you relax your mind during times of stress, anxiety, and depression. Some techniques are simple and cheap. Others require you spending some time, effort, and even money on them. Here’s a quick list of what you can do to relax your mind.

1. Take a break from what you’re doing.

Even a five minute break away from work, the kids, or textbooks can dramatically help relax your mind. Your mind will still think about what you were doing, but it needs to focus on what you are doing right now. Energy is spread to a different region of the brain, letting the other part rest. And because that part isn’t overloaded anymore, it’s able to process information and suddenly you are inspired or notice something you had missed before.

2. Write down your thoughts.

Getting something off your mind seems to be easier when you write it down. It’s a physical transfer of thought from mind to paper. Read what you’ve written. This helps you see the situation from a different perspective, as if you are on the outside looking in. Anxieties can be helped by seeing the situation as it really is, not how you think it is. Sometimes it’s therapeutic to burn the paper, especially if you’re dealing with older issues.

3. Talk to a friend.

A good friend who actively listens is a treasure. The friend is non-judgemental, so you can rant and rave all you want, and still be respected and loved. The friend should also be brave enough to tell you if you are wrong, or point out negative self-talk and where thoughts are misleading you.

4. Do yoga or stretching exercises.

Yoga is a time honoured way of calming your mind, stretching your muscles, and realigning yourself spiritually. Different poses help to open up chemical channels in the brain that calm down your mind and bring a sense of euphoria.

5. Punch a punching bag.

Men react differently to stress than women. Stress can bring out aggressive behaviour in a man, so that a guy will feel like punching the wall or someone. A punching bag is a good way of channeling aggression and bringing down the elevated testosterone levels.

6. Go for a jog or walk.

Get active. The point of walking or jogging is to circulate your blood, and break down the adrenaline and stress hormones that have been activated. Physical movement also loosens up your cramped muscles. Plus it takes your thoughts out of one space and into another.

7. Do some breathing exercises.

When you’re stressed, your breathing changes. The lungs react to stress hormones and start taking in short, quick breaths. This prepares you for the flight response, where you quickly leave the stressful or dangerous situation. To bring you back to balance, you need to focus on taking long, deep breaths.

8. Practice mindfulness.

When you’re stressed, your thoughts will take you all over the place. You’ll imagine all sorts of things, with negative ideas usually overpowering positive ones. You’ll imagine the worst things possible, before you’ll see the positive side of things. Mindfulness takes your thoughts and focuses them on the present. Instead of thinking what will happen five steps from now, you focus in on what you’re doing now, at step one. This relaxes the mind, because you’re seeing the situation as it exists now, without adding in any imagined parts that might never come to be.

9. Do guided imagery.

Guided imagery is great for phobias and anxiety. Guided imagery takes you through a situation, so that you can prepare and practice in your mind for the real event. If you get rattled at parties, doing guided imagery allows you to imagine how you would act and react to people. It preps you for anything you can imagine – both horrible and positive. Thus your mind is calmer when you actually go into the situation.

10. Do something nice for yourself.

In times of stress, the person who often neglects and hurts you is you. You don’t eat healthy, sleep well, or take care of personal hygiene. It’s time to take of you. Drink herbal tea, soak in a hot tub or bath, listen to music, or relax with some aromatherapy. There are things you can do to make yourself feel better about being you. If you want to eat chocolate, go for it! Anything is good as long as it makes you happy.

Find me on twitter @tereziafarkas

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