Need to unwind but hate meditating? Sitting cross-legged on the floor quietening your mind isn’t for everyone. Thankfully, other calming options are available.
Check out these 5 relaxation hacks to soothe, replenish and de-stress your busy mind.
You may scoff at the idea of a simple walk, but studies show a 10-minute stroll can reduce stress hormone levels. Noisy city streets are probably less relaxing than a wooded walk –but do it smart and urban walks can be relaxing too.
How? Find green space. Slow your speed. Be mindful as you walk. Direct your attention to the sights and sounds of the city – without judgment.
Can you walk to the gym? Walk, workout. Or workout, walk. Either way, you’re calmer.
Focus on creating something and your mind is whooshed away from worrying. Art is amazingly powerful: it calms the nervous system and stops you incessantly ‘figuring things out’. It’s play – not work. And you don’t have to be the next Banksy to benefit. For once, no one is judging you.
Remember creativity isn’t limited to drawing. Think outside the box. Baking, reading, random unplanned walks and runs all count. Just give your brain a break and let your creativity take control.
Anxious thoughts tend to take us to the past or future. Finding something to ground you in the present instead is particularly powerful. Singing out loud (humming is fine for anyone allergic to singing out loud!) to a song you know and love is a brilliant way to centre your mind.
You can even flex your vocal chords while flexing your legs. Singing whilst you walk or run is something other cultures do naturally. So that urge you’ve got to strike up a tune whilst pounding the pavements? Go with it!
The humble art of journaling is surging in popularity. Surprising in the smart phone era, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s because writing and organising our thoughts and emotions on paper gives us that much-needed feeling of control over our hectic lives.
Writing thoughts down also stops us from rumination – dwelling on stuff that makes us feel bad. You’ll get out all that negative rubbish and see it clearly. And then bring on the positive stuff. All without a moment’s meditation.
Tied up in knots with stress? A mat is good for stretching as well as meditation. Stretching not only relaxes the body, but also settles the mind and emotions. When we stretch – whether it’s yoga, Pilates or just a discreet desk stretch – lactic acid and tension are released from our muscles. And our busy brains.
You don’t need to bust your butt at a full yoga session (though you’re pretty much guaranteed mental relaxation). Just a few moments of stretching at your desk, or in front of Netflix will help. Try these 5 stretches to loosen your joints for starters.
I try to go for a walk every lunchtime and feel cooped up if I don't. It doesn't have to be green nature - just along the high street is enough for me.
Singing whilst running is something I have never done before until I read this. So i tried it this morning. And it's actually quite a brilliant experience! I found it made me breathe properly (which isn't a bad thing) and made me feel more involved in my run as a whole body experience- not just legs - , if you know what i mean.