Do you struggle with stress? Many of us are so busy and stressed out with work, family, kids, and other obligations that the thought of slowing down and taking some “me time” seems out of the question. But this is exactly what your body needs and craves the most — a break! The best part? The health benefits of a relaxing break are endless, from enhanced focus and lowered cortisol (the stress hormone) to better digestion and less anger.
Here are some simple ways to reduce stress, refresh, and relax your mind, body, and spirit when life gets overwhelming (or even when it doesn’t).
Stress Relief Tips
Try these 8 expert tips to help you relax.
Meditation and meditative practices like yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and others, encourage true healing on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and psycho-spiritual.1 They help us expand our hearts and cultivate greater love and compassion — for ourselves and others. When you calm your mind, everything else in your body is able to relax including your autonomic nervous system. Meditation also slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases stress hormone production. What’s the best way to meditate? While there are many styles of meditation, the ancient Buddhist practice of Shamatha meditation is ideal for beginners. Shamatha, which means “calm abiding” in Sanskrit, involves focusing on a specific object (such as a small stone) and letting thoughts arise and slip away, gently turning attention back to the breath and the rock. For more benefits plus guidance on getting started, click here.
2. Take a Walk in Nature.
This tip combines two relaxation techniques in one — exercise, a natural de-stressor and mood booster, and time spent outdoors, which has been proven to reduce stress, among other benefits.2 Also, being in the sun helps your body produce vitamin D, good for immune health, mood, strong bones, and more. Other fun and relaxing outdoor-focused ideas: go for a bike ride, sit at the beach and listen to the waves, garden, go stargazing, watch the sunrise or sunset, or feed the birds at your favorite park.
3. Practice Breathwork.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Try the 7/11 technique: Breathe in for 7 seconds and then breathe out for 11 seconds. You can repeat this 10 to 20 times.
4. Take a “Contrast” Shower.
What’s a contrast shower? A contrast shower is a shower with alternating hot and cold water. For best results, complete the hot-cold cycle three to four times. Contrast showers are gaining popularity for their pain-relieving and energizing effects. They are also relaxing to the mind and body.
5. Do Something You Love.
Whether it’s painting, making jewelry, singing, or playing the piano, anything you enjoy as a hobby helps promote relaxation, alleviate stress, and increase happiness. According to one study, playing a musical instrument has the same mental benefits as meditation. Simply listening to music or binaural beats is relaxing. On YouTube you can find a variety of binaural beats, which have been shown to increase positivity and relaxation.
6. Create a Relaxation Space.
Ideally, this would be done in your home, but you can replicate a miniature version for the office. You might include an aromatherapy diffuser, crystals (which impart their own healing vibes), calming art, a comfy chair or chaise lounge, meditation pillow, candles, indoor water fountain, salt lamp, and plants. For essential oils, try mixing bergamot, grapefruit, mandarin, and lavender. Good choices for crystals include amethyst, calcite (particularly blue, gold), magnesite, and ametrine.
7. Try a Soothing Relaxation Supplement.
Magnolia extract or honokiol extract is a safe herbal remedy that excels at fighting stress and promoting a calm state in your mind and body.3 This extensively researched, highly active extract is purified from Magnolia officinalis bark and is shown to promote a natural sense of calm; something we all need! HonoPure is the highest quality of pure and potent honokiol extract available, with powerful and potent benefits including cognitive and neurological support, relaxation, healthy mood, and more. Try adding this relaxation supplement to your nighttime routine.
8. Eat a Stress-Busting Snack.
Certain foods contain key anti-stress, calming nutrients such as magnesium, B vitamins, and even probiotics, which help modulate your stress response. A few to focus on: quinoa, edamame, black beans, kefir, and nuts.
When you’re constantly worried or living in fear, your body reflects it and it can impact your long-term health. By taking time to prioritize your relaxation and take a break, your body and mind will thank you for it.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stress from work, read more tips here: How to Identify & Beat Burnout
- Pascoe, Michaela & Thompson, David & Ski, Chantal. Meditation and Endocrine Health and Wellbeing. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2020;31.
- Antonelli M, Barbieri G, Donelli D. Effects of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) on levels of cortisol as a stress biomarker: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Biometeorol. 2019 Aug;63(8):1117-1134.
- Woodbury A, Yu SP, Wei L, García P. Neuro-modulating effects of honokiol: a review. Front Neurol. 2013 Sep 11;4:130.