How to Relax Your Mind

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Are you stressed or unhappy? Do you need to calm down? Training your mind to relax can help you feel rested and prepared at any time, and is easy to do. When you find methods that works for you, cultivate and practice them often. In time, you’ll be able to relax more quickly and easily using some of the following ideas.

Method 1: MeditationImage titled Relax Your Mind Step 01

  1. Do deep breathing exercises. Although the idea may seem obvious, deep breathing exercises apparently work wonders on relaxing your mind. Practice these daily and in times of stress to help soothe your anxiety.

    • Close your mouth and take a deep breath in through your nose. Try to time this inhalation so that it lasts for four seconds. Hold your breath for eight seconds, and then exhale your breath for a count of eight seconds. Repeat this four times total.
    • If you have trouble slowing your breathing this far, start at a faster pace and slowly work your way up to a longer time.
    • Feel free to adjust the time each inhales and exhale lasts, but be sure that your exhale lasts for twice as long as your inhale. Pause between each breath.[1]


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2. Practice meditation, or try rejoicing, meditative prayer. This is the process of clearing your mind by focusing on a specific thought, place, word(s), color or object. To meditate, sit (kneel or lie) in a comfortable position and think (or pray) about one specific thing. It may take upwards of ten minutes in order to completely clear your mind, but that is normal.

  • You can sit or lie down during meditation, but always keep your eyes closed to help you focus mentally/spiritually.
  • It is normal for restless thoughts to intrude on your meditation. Try to ignore them as best as possible, purposely focusing on (cherishing/praising) one specific thing.
  • Use guided imagery to help clear your mind. Imagine a place, real or fictitious, in which you feel at peace and stress-free. Focus on being in this place, including the details of what it looks like and how you feel in it.
  • Meditate for as long as you like, but resting for at least ten minutes once you have managed to clear your mind proves to be beneficial to overall stress level and focus.
  • Playing calming music, sounds or positive song phrase (such as: “I just feel like something good is about to happen. I just feel like something good is on its way…”[2]) can help you to focus better for your meditation. Always do whatever is necessary for you to feel your most comfortable.[3]
  • Meditation has proven to have health benefits in addition to causing mental relaxation, including lowering blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.[4]


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3. Try visualization. This is similar to guided imagery in meditation, in which you imagine a peaceful scene. Picture the scene in your head for as long as you would like, but focus all your thoughts and energy on visualizing this place in your mind.
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4. Do progressive muscle relaxation. This is a process by which you tense and then relax all the muscles in your body. Relaxing your muscles after having them tensed alters your mental state, and helps your mind to be as equally soothed as your body.

  • Start by tensing the muscles in your face one at a time. These might include frowning, knitting your brows, scrunching your forehead, and setting your jaw. Then, allow each muscle to relax.
  • When you finish with your face, move down your body until you have done this with all your muscles.
  • Hold the tense muscles for 5-10 seconds each before releasing in order to get the most relaxation from the process.[5]


Method 2 : Healthy HabitsImage titled Avoid Stress for Your Day Step 06

  1. Practice yoga. Yoga is a type of stretching and low-impact exercise which helps to relax the muscles in your body. Because you must focus on each yoga pose, your mind is left no room to contemplate stressors and is forced into a state of peace.

    • It is best to start yoga by taking a class. Yoga classes are made to create a state of relaxation, even though there may be many people present. Look for local instructors or classes at nearby gyms.
    • Hatha yoga is the most basic style of yoga and is great for relaxation. Look for hatha yoga poses that you can try yourself at home.
    • Avoid doing yoga if you have physical problems such as a herniated disc, osteoporosis, or you are at risk for blood clots.[6]


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2. Drink lots of water. Water is important for keeping your body well hydrated and free of toxins, which helps your mind to focus better. To aid in other relaxation exercises, drink plenty of water.
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3. Eat foods that promote relaxation. Certain foods help to lower hormones linked to causing anxiety while simultaneously raising hormones which are responsible for creating a sense of happiness and peace.

  • Foods high in selenium aid in lowering anxiety and depression, and include nuts (especially Brazil nuts), shiitake mushrooms, and tuna, cod, or salmon.
  • Eat foods that have a high magnesium content, such as spinach, pumpkin seeds, and halibut.
  • Look for foods with high tryptophan content, as this helps produce the chemical serotonin which increases happiness. Try dark chocolate, nuts, and red meat.
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4. Exercise moderately. Exercise is responsible for releasing endorphins, which in turn create a feeling of happiness. Try doing a little exercise every day to help relax your mind after dealing with a stress-filled schedule.

  • Exercise in places that are quiet or allow time for you to be alone. If you workout at your gym, find an area or room that is mostly deserted, so that you aren’t distracted by thoughts of things around you.
  • Try to find mindless repetitive exercises to participate in. This might include swimming or running laps.
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5. Participate in your favorite activities. If you love to cook, read, or play sports, do those things! Doing things you love will help you to clear your mind of anxiety, and will likely release more endorphins which cause happiness.
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6. Drink warm liquids. Hot drinks help to relieve tension and reduce stress. Look for hot drinks that lack caffeine and alcohol, as these can stimulate anxiety and depression.

  • Green tea contains certain natural chemicals linked to reduced stress levels. Drink it hot or iced to get the peaceful benefits it provides.
  • Try drinking warm milk. This classic bed-time drink can help to soothe your troubled mind as it contains high levels of tryptophan, responsible for producing more serotonin in your brain. Warm milk in a saucepan with honey for a sweet relaxing treat.
  • If you choose to drink coffee to help you relax, find a decaffeinated version so as to not stimulate hyperactivity.
  • Avoid drinking anything with too much sugar, as this will stimulate your brain and make relaxing much more difficult.[7]


Method 3 : Relaxing ActivitiesImage titled Elevate Your Self Esteem Step 04

  1. Occupy yourself in a repetitive, mindless activity. Doing something that requires work but no focus can help your mind to relax.

    • Try doodling or drawing an abstract image. You are forced to focus on the act of drawing and are therefore unable to think about stressors in your life.
    • Performing chores that use repetitive movements can induce relaxation. Think of raking leaves, sweeping the floor, or folding laundry.
    • If you know how you can also do things like weaving bracelets or knitting.
    • Avoid things that require a lot of movement or that are very busy, as this can induce stress rather than reduce it.


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2. Listen to calming music. Although you may love rocking out to hardcore rock or rap, find some slow, soothing tunes to help relax your mind.

  • Avoid music that has heavy instruments or loud vocals, as these, will make it hard for you to relax while listening. Sometimes it’s better to not have words in it at all.
  • Instead of music, you can also listen to nature sounds and white noise which are developed to help people relax. Look for sounds of the ocean or forest, or find samples of white noise to try.
  • Binaural beats are a special type of music or sound that produce higher levels of alpha waves in your brain, which help you to relax. Find free versions of binaural beats online or through your favorite music streaming site.[8]
  • Try listening to some music that has a lot of repetition in it and not that much vocal. Many genres of electronic music have this style such as house, trance, trap, and trip-hop.
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3. Spend time with animals. Studies show that people who spend time with pets or touching animals have lowered blood pressure and are significantly less stressed than people who rarely come in contact with animals.

  • If you don’t have your own pet, consider borrowing your friend’s dog to take for a walk or cuddling up with your neighbors cat. A little animal time a day can go a long way.
  • Look into animal assisted psychotherapy. This is a type of therapy that helps to reduce stress and anxiety by using animals. Often times horses are used, but dogs and cats are also popular options.[9]
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4. Try aromatherapy. This is when you use soothing scents to help you relax. Many popular aromatherapy smells include lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

  • You can purchase aromatherapy oils to place directly on your skin. Dab a little around your temples and the inside of your wrists and elbows. These are some of the warmest places on your body, and will work to diffuse the scent faster.
  • Aromatherapy mists and home fragrances can be used to make your bedroom your own personal relaxation sanctuary. Find them in mists and candles to help your home smell peaceful.
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5. Soak in a bath or pool. Warm water can help to release endorphins that reduce stress, so take a hot bubble bath for twenty minutes.

Method 4 : Avoiding StressImage titled Get a Life Step 12

  1. Stay away from social media outlets. A huge cause of stress is any social media, whether it be your phone or facebook account. Try to spend some time away from these things to help reduce your anxiety.

    • Turn off your phone or leave it in your car for a bit so that you don’t run the temptation of obsessively checking it every few minutes.
    • Leave your laptop closed and turn off your desktop so that you are not tempted to check your online media accounts.
    • If social media is a big enough stressor in your life, consider removing it entirely for a period. Deactivate your online social accounts for a few weeks or months until you feel that it will no longer cause a problem for you.


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2. Don’t watch television. TV is full of bright colors, busy images, and constant noise which help to raise stress levels.
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3. Spend time alone. Often the people around us cause us the most anxiety, so make it a point to spend some time with just yourself.

  • Take time off work to catch up on rest and alone time. Try taking a weekend retreat to a local town or nature reserve where you can have some time to think.
  • Cancel plans with friends if you overwhelm yourself with a too-packed schedule. It is important to have time with just yourself before sharing it with others.
  • Find time away from your family. It doesn’t matter how much you love them, everybody needs a bit of time separate from their family in order to keep a healthy mindset.
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4. Avoid your known stressors. If you know that an upcoming test or meeting is what is causing your stress, try to spend time away from it to prevent additional anxiety.

  • Set firm boundaries for times in which you are willing to deal with these stressors, if they are work or school related. Promise yourself only to work on your homework until 8pm, after which you will spend time debriefing and letting go of stress.
  • If a certain person or activity is responsible for your anxiety, avoid them for a bit. Spend time thinking about why that thing, in particular, bothers you so much, and a solution to the problem.[10]