4 ways to train your mind to relax 😌💭
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 work for you, cultivate and practice them often. In time, you’ll be able to relax more quickly. This article covers four techniques that many older adults find work best.
1. 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.
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), Colour 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…”) can help you to focus better for your meditation. Always do whatever is necessary for you to feel most comfortable.
Meditation has proven to have health benefits in addition to causing mental relaxation, including lowering blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar
Try our 5-Minute meditation exercise… Scroll to the bottom section for tips.
3. Try visualisation
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 visualising this place in your mind.
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-Minute Meditation Exercise
- Find a place with little to no noise or distraction. Position yourself in a way that is most comfortable for you, whether cross-legged, on a chair or even lying down (a position that keeps your spine upright, maintaining its natural S-curve, is ideal).
- Begin to focus upon the behaviour of your breath as it enters and exits the body. Breathe full, deep breaths so the abdomen expands upon breathing in.
- Watch your thoughts come and go, it’s okay to get lost in them once in a while; try not to resist them, yet try not to embrace them. Just observe them.
- When you become conscious that you have become lost in a thought, return your focus and attention to the tides of your breath. Mentally or vocally repeating or word or phrase, known as a mantra, is also a useful technique to stop the mind wandering astray.
- Visualization techniques such as seeing each thought as a ripple of the surface of a body of water that slowly fades away are useful to help thoughts dissipate without resisting them. Try to also become very aware of your immediate surroundings: every sound, bodily sensation, smell etc. This will aid in plunging conscious awareness into the present moment.
Still struggling? Watch a longer but very popular, no b*llshit medidation video
Learn more techniques on how to relax your mind and avoid stress
Volume four will help you make a conscious effort to understand the dynamics of how to relax your mind and body, and to leave any stress behind. This volume offers a range of helpful resources and insights to help you break away from the cycle of work-life subconsciousness. You will discover activities to stay relaxed after 60, how to reduce stress and anxiety and develop activities to keep you on the right path to a healthy retirement. Read more on Volume 4.
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