This article is about 23 relaxation techniques. Most are actionable now. If you add just one to your regular suitable relaxation routine it’s time well spent.
My number 1 recommendation on relaxation is to read this article. Make notes if you have to especially the techniques that appeal to you. Some of the techniques are better than others. You might find yourself using a mixture of these techniques (and other techniques that you know about) over time. That is to be expected.
Although a lot of different information is provided here, you may already know about this information but had forgotten about it. My hope is that this information will act as a refresher for that forgotten information and that you get additional value from reading this information.
If you want to experience more relaxation in your life, my hope is that this information will provide you with additional options/techniques that help you to enjoy life more.
There is no need to read this in one go!
This is a long and very thorough detailed article as I wanted to present different options to you to help. Most of these approaches or techniques are actually quite easy to do once you are aware of them. Some approaches or techniques may resonate more with you than others.
This is normal and is to be expected.
I recommend that you bookmark this page. In some internet browsers, this is achieved by pressing Control and D at the same time. 🙂
That way you might read a relaxation technique a day and start doing or continuing or resuming the techniques that resonate with you the most. 🙂 🙂
If you want to relax more to help you to enjoy life more, this article is for you. In this article, I reveal 10 effective relaxation ways and 23 different relaxation techniques that just work great today.
A bit of background
Hi there, I am David. I am the founder and owner of this website. I developed this article over time so that I could help people relax using different practical easy to use techniques. Practical and easy once you know about them.
Over a period of time, I have learned a lot about relaxation from the common person’s viewpoint. I do not claim to be a relaxation expert. I have come across different relaxation methods, techniques and ideas. Some good, some okay and some crap. So I thought I would share with you what I have learned. Hopefully you will get some useful ideas here to help you with your life.
It is also important to understand that different people experience emotions or feelings in different ways. What annoys one person out may not even register with another person. Emotions may also affect people at different phases of their lives in different ways. Different factors may also be present. A number of smallish problems with terrible timing can make for emotional situations, whereas those same smallish problems at another time wouldn’t even register.
Fight, freeze or fright
You might have heard of the “fight, freeze or fright” response and that this is driven by your amygdala. This is an ancient component of the human brain. As soon as it detects trouble, it goes on “high alert” and instructs your brain to prepare for “trouble”. The issue is that this can keep you in a high state of alertness for some time, when the trouble is relatively speaking, minor.
This served us humans very well when we noticed that a tiger might enjoy us for his dinner. It also serves us well today when we notice a bus heading straight for us, and gives us the added resources to get out of the way of the bus as quickly as possible.
Breathing fast and shallow when preparing for trouble
When we are preparing for trouble, real or otherwise, we sometimes breathe fast and shallow. This is to give us much-needed resources for the “fight, freeze or fright” response. By breathing fast and shallow, it can make it harder for our brains to become relaxed. The brain may see the breathing fast and shallow thing and does not “believe” us when we say silently “relax, there is no issue here”. However, if you can breathe slower and deeper, it sees that and is more likely to at least believe “there is no issue here”.
Meditation is a relaxation technique that usually has a breathing slow and deep component
One usual component of meditation is breathing in a more relaxed and deep manner. A lot of the guided meditation sessions I have done include instructions on breathing at the start of the meditation process. This is to help with the relaxation process. By doing different guided meditation sessions, you will find that you resonate with some of them more than others for your own personal reasons.
Effective Ways to Relax
I want to talk about effective ways to relax. I do not like a lot of theory and little or no practical stuff. I much prefer to learn about a technique quickly and put that technique into use straight away to see if it helps.
Some ideas like meditation require a regular time commitment and it may take some time to see the benefits of that. I recommend very strongly that you give meditation a decent chance.
There are a number of different meditation techniques. I have learned about and practiced a few of them, some I like and some I do not like as much and some I find quite hard to do.
If I had learned the meditation techniques that I find hard or the ones I do not like first, and then stopped doing meditation, I would have lost out in the long run. The meditation techniques that I like are helping me a lot. For me this is a time commitment every day ranging from 3 minutes to just over an hour most days, depending on what else is on.
Some techniques will naturally fall by the wayside and others will be kept. Some techniques require a regular time element and it is not always possible to spend as much time om those techniques due to other life commitments.
For instance, meditation is a great effective way to relax. There are many different meditation techniques out there, and you could spend anywhere from 3 minutes daily doing meditation to hours daily.
Building a 3 minute daily meditation practice is way more achievable than a meditation daily practice of hours. However doing it every day for a short period daily is more effective than doing longer periods most days or so the meditation people tell us.
10 effective high-level ideas to relax
- Slowing down – Do not be rushing all the time
- Keeping Calm – Techniques to help you in the heat of things
- Positive Mind-Set/Changing Your Mind – Reframing situations so that you relax
- Taking It Easy – So that you are ready for the more serious stuff
- Unplugging – Removing yourself so that you are not available online 24/7
- Enjoying Life/Having Fun – Enjoying fun activities is a great way to relax
- Breathing/Sleeping – Letting out a loud sigh when breathing out signals to your body to relax and getting the correct amounts of high quality sleep is a major preventive activity
- Relaxing – Practicing relaxation techniques is another great way to relax
- Outside Activities – Going for a decent walk on a regular basis in a natural safe and secure environment
- Meditation – Building a meditation practice has many long term benefits including relaxation benefits
Relaxation Technique Number 1 – A useful relaxation technique
You might wonder why I selected the image below. This is an image of a person walking along a wide long sandy beach that just goes on and on. There is the vast blue sea on that person’s left side with a wonderful blue sky with beautiful mountains on that person’s right hand side.
The reason is simple: That type of image with its various colors can help with relaxing.
Blue is a color that is known to help. The vastness of the blue ocean and the vast sandy beach and the vast clear blue sky all help.
A useful relaxation technique follows:
If you are in a place where it is safe and secure to close your eyes, I invite you to close your eyes and to bring to your mind a similar image you have seen somewhere. This could be from real life or from a magazine or from the television or from your mind. Just bring that image to your mind for some time.
Smile to yourself. Enjoy that image in your mind for a minute or two or for as long as you are comfortable to do it. Five minutes or ten minutes or whatever. You decide for how long, there is no rule.
When you do this, you will find that you relax a bit which is always helpful.
If you enjoyed this and I believe most people do, I suggest if you can and if you want to, to do it for a few minutes a few times every day if possible. If you miss any sessions, don’t worry about it. This all helps the feel good chemicals in your brain which in turn helps you.
Just before going to sleep at bedtime might be a time that might work for you.
Relaxation Technique Number 2 – Breathing slowly is a great relaxation technique
Breathing slowly and deeply for a few minutes a few times every day is a great relaxation technique. Doing this by design and very much on purpose helps.
This is as concise as I make it. However please know and understand that if you do this yourself on a regular basis a few times every day, you should begin to feel the benefits of this. 🙂
Relaxation Technique Number 3 – Here’s a possible great relaxation technique
A reader of this article mentioned in the comments area of this article the following:-
Here’s something I do that always makes me feel better. It could be a great relaxation technique!
Pop bubble wrap.
I pop bubble wrap every time I get bubble wrap. Not sure why but it always makes me feel better.
I wonder are you smiling to yourself as you read this one. I hope so. 🙂
Relaxation Technique Number 4 – Use the word “prefer” instead of “must” in your silent thinking to yourself
The concept is to think in a slightly different way. Often, people say to themselves, “I must do x”. This in turn is making a demand of you that you think must be met, no matter what. This in turn is putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. By changing the words used silently in your thinking to “I prefer to do x”, it removes the demand and part of your thinking becomes “if x is not done, no big deal” and this approach can work. Using this “different switch” can help.
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From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work on occasion. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?
Relaxation Technique Number 5 – Ask yourself “Will this be important in 5 years time?”
This is one particular concept that I personally find useful. This was something I was aware off, however was not aware that it could be used as a relaxation technique. Once I became aware that it could be used as a relaxation technique, I have used it on a number of occasions and find that it is effective. Hopefully you will too.
A quote from Catherine Pulsifer
“ask yourself one question: Will this matter in 5 years from now? If yes, then do something about the situation. If no, then let it go.” by Catherine Pulsifer
I find that the concept behind this quote is mind-blowing. If something or someone is annoying you, than just simply say to yourself something like the above question, for example “Is this really important, 5 years from you?” Quite often, if not always, you will find that the answer is “No”. When you do, you may notice that you relax.
Of course, if the answer is “Yes”, then like Catherine Pulsifer suggests, “then do something about the situation.”
This is a very simple and effective technique. You might like me, have been aware of this concept however just didn’t put it into use. Once you are aware of it very deliberately and very intentionally, you may find that you start to use this concept very much on purpose, and in the process, you may notice that you relax, even if only a bit and that is always helpful.
Asking yourself “Will this be important in 5 years time?” in your silent thinking to yourself can be a very useful question to ask. If you remember to do this whenever appropriate, you may find that it helps you more often than not, and that is why it is such a great approach.
The technique is that whenever appropriate is to ask yourself silently the question “Will this be important in 5 years time?”
Many times when you ask yourself this great question the answer is No. If so, silently say to yourself “Oh, this is not important. Moving on” and move on.
If the answer is Yes, determine what you can do about this right now. You might need to give yourself some time, so deciding to think more about this when you have some time might be a good approach. Decide to allot some time to look at this in more detail and actually do this at the assigned date and time is a great idea.
From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work on occasion. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?
You know now that when you get into a problematic situation, that asking yourself silently the “Will this be important in 5 years time?” question may help you to relax a bit or a lot. If so, great.
This is a very simple and effective technique. You might like me, have been aware of this concept however just didn’t put it into use in this way. Once you are aware of it very deliberately and very intentionally, you may find that you start to use this concept very much on purpose, and in the process, you may find it very helpful. I know I do sometimes.
An interesting variation of this, is that instead of using a 5 year period is to use a 1 year period. So the variation is that instead of asking yourself silently “Will this be important in 5 years time?”, you ask yourself silently “Will this be important in 1 years time?”
I do think that the longer time period is better. I find it way quicker to dismiss something as not important if I silently say to myself “Will this be important in 5 years time?”. When I change this to a year away, I find myself taking longer to dismiss it as not important.
My take is simple, whatever time period works for you. If you do not have a preference, I think you should like me, opt for 5 years.
From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work on occasion. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?
Relaxation Technique Number 6 – Interrupt a thought process
This technique is to interrupt an internal thought process when it goes astray. The more technical term is to interrupt the CBT Cycle. In a nutshell, the technique is to understand the CBT Cycle and how it works.
CBT is short for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It shows that our thoughts influence our feelings which in turn affects our behavior, and the cycle continues.
Knowing this, to interrupt the CBT cycle with positive affirmations can be very helpful.
For instance a “bad” CBT cycle might look like this: The thought is “I’m unwell” which could lead to an unhelpful feeling which could lead to a “go into myself” behavior and so the CBT cycle continues in a downward direction
A “good” cycle might look like this: The thought is “I’m doing OK” which could lead to an “upbeat” feeling which could lead to “making choices” behavior and so the CBT cycle continues in an upward direction which is good for life in general.
One good practice when you have some time is to repeat silently to yourself positive affirmations that are applicable in your case and that can help create good feelings. I find repeating silently to myself one or two or three positive affirmations is helpful. Examples include “I’m doing OK”, “I’m doing fine” and “I have things to work on”.
Repeating them silently to yourself in a safe secure place where you do not need to be 100% focused on another activity and you do not need to be 100% alert is a good idea. Therefore, do not do this when driving a car or operating machinery or anything similar. A great place to do this is your bedroom.
It is important to realize that “not great thoughts” can come and go. This is normal. The trick is to acknowledge them and go back to what you were doing before hand. I know that this is easier said than done.
It is also important to realize that if emotions are involved here that it is extremely important for them to be processed properly. Ignoring “bad” emotions is not recommended. It may be all right to ignore “bad” emotions in the short term, however do not allow them to “stay” without “processing” them properly. I discuss this in more detail in another of my articles at this website.
Also do not personalize the emotion. For example, do not think silently “I am” whatever however to think silently “ah, there is that unhelpful feeling”. And then to focus your attention back to what you were doing. This concept is also used in meditation, which is another great technique.
If you find that repeating silently certain affirmations makes you feel worst instead of better, that may be a hint for you to revise that affirmation or at least to drop it for the moment. You need to be kind to yourself.
Make sure that the affirmation does not have a “must” in it, but rather a “prefer”. For example, saying “I must be well” to yourself when you and your body know that this is not realistic puts more pressure on yourself. Instead saying “I prefer to be well” is a better affirmation in this case, in my opinion.
You might have noticed that this point, using the word “prefer” instead of “must” was already discussed above.
Another option is to use the word “choose”. For example “I choose to be well”. There is no hard and fast rule. Just see which one resonates with you the most and which one makes more sense to you. You might find yourself using both. That is ok, as there is no hard and fast rule.
From personal experience, I can say that this technique helps on occasions. Why not give it a go and see if it helps for you?
Relaxation Technique Number 7 – Do regular daily brisk walks (if possible)
Walking is a great relaxation technique. As well as that benefit, the World Health Organisation recommend that most adults today should be getting in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week and some types of walking can be counted towards this.
I read somewhere that for each ten minutes of brisk walking you do, that can help to keep you in an “upbeat mood” for two hours. So a 40 minute brisk walk would help to keep your mood up for eight hours.
Going for daily brisk walks is a good idea as long as the conditions are suitable. Conditions include being up for it, both physically and mentally as well as the environmental conditions (for example, physical location, weather, suitable clothing, etc).
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From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?
Relaxation Technique Number 8 – Remind your body to relax
This technique is to tell your body to relax. This uses a very simple process so you should be able to do this. The trick then is to remember to do it a few times every day. By so doing, you help yourself to ‘recharge’ which is always good.
The technique is to use a very simple technique, and is to let out a loud sigh. When you are alone, if you let out a loud sigh when breathing out that signals to your body to relax. You breathe in through your nose, and you breathe out through your mouth. When breathing out, let out a loud sigh. If you do this, 3 to 5 times, hopefully you will feel your body starting to relax. Doing this for 3 to 5 times, will take you about a minute, depending on your pace. You do this at your own pace.
Do the breathing in and out at a pace that is comfortable for you. Doing this for 3 – 5 minutes can be effective and if you can do this at least once very day, you will see for yourself if this is one that works for you.
There are two main ways to do this. You can simply count your breaths up to a number determined by you at the start, no more than 3 to 5 times. Or use a “timer countdown” function on a smartphone, timed for a minute or so.
Be careful if you do this for too long, you will feel sleepy. A lot of meditation sessions will do this for a minute or so at the start of the session and then revert the breathing process back to its normal pattern before continuing on with the meditation session.
If you are in company, you can do this without letting out the loud sigh. In which case, you let out a silent sigh while imagining letting out a loud sigh. Just be careful, that you do not let out a loud sigh, otherwise people will wonder what is going on. 🙂
And of course, you do this technique when it is safe to do so.
Relaxation Technique Number 9 – Meditate regularly
Every time I hear about meditation, I am reminded that meditation is a great way to relax. It is a brilliant technique that has so many benefits. It can be used in relaxation.
It is a wonder that more people are not actually doing it on a regular basis. Knowing how to meditate and actually practicing meditation on a daily basis is key, even if only for a minute or so. There are a number of different meditation techniques out there. Some people would learn one or two. They may not like these one or two different meditation techniques and so do not practice meditation. As a result, they do not get the benefits of meditation.
Also different meditation techniques are more effective for relaxation to different levels for different people, so knowing more of them, trying them out to see how effective you find them is important.
As there are loads of different techniques out there that are used in meditation, the problem becomes how can I learn in an effective and efficient manner a number of these techniques which I can use now?
I do not want to invest or waste time reading books that are full of theory and do not explain how to put such a such technique into use now. No doubt you are the same. For this reason, I recommend that you look at the Insight Timer App as that allows you to learn and do meditation using your smartphone.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a life skill that you can learn relatively quickly and start doing. By starting doing, you can develop a daily meditation practice that does not really take up too much time, you can start with 2 minutes a day and built it up at your pace and if you want to.
One benefit that people who practice meditation on a regular daily basis is that meditation can help with relaxation.
Who would benefit by doing meditation?
In my personal opinion, nearly every single person on the planet, if not everyone. Meditation allows people to take some time out for themselves which allows them to recuperate or to recharge themselves.
Why do meditation?
Meditation usually has a relaxation component which acts as a “pause button” on a busy day and helps that way. I think that time spent on meditation is time well spent.
Six tips to creating a regular meditation habit
Before I mention these six tips, I want to acknowledge that it was the author of the book practical meditation who introduced me to those six tips.
Here are those six tips to create a strong meditation practice.
- Start Small: It is easier to find a 3 minute gap daily than a 20 minute gap daily to do your meditation
- Recommit: This is where at the end of every meditation session, plan to do meditation the next day
- Never zero: Do meditation every day no matter what, even an informal short session counts
- Have no expectations: Nothing kills motivation quicker than unmet expectations
- Be mentally prepared: For times when you feel tired, busy or not up for it. Accept that and just do it
- Joyful attitude: Feel joy that you have this time to recharge yourself & help your overall wellbeing
May you find these six tips useful and helpful in your meditation journey.
Learning how to meditate to relax
One way to relax is to do meditation. Meditation itself is a huge topic. There are different meditation techniques out there. One author indicated that he experimented with over 80 different styles of meditation.
Now I assume that you would find it useful and of benefit to just do a guided meditation for relaxation by listening to applicable audios via an online App. For this reason, I think that one great idea is to do free guided meditation for relaxation in the comfort of your own home or wherever you find useful and where you are connected to the online world.
Free guided meditation for relaxation
I found a really great free guided meditation for relaxation app for your smartphone or your tablet is the very popular Insight Timer App. They have a very large collection of guided meditation sessions which you can access online within their App that are supplied by many meditation teachers. These guided meditation sessions cover a number of related topics.
Access to the online meditation sessions is free via the Insight Timer App. There are additional completely optional features which attract charges, however access to the online meditation sessions is totally free via the App which the founders of the App have indicated will remain so for the foreseeable future.
Using free guided meditation for relaxation relief is a great way to learn about meditation initially. Meditation is potentially a life long skill with potentially a lot of life long benefits should you continue doing meditation every day for the rest of your life. If you do a few free guided meditation sessions, you may find yourself doing some techniques you learn in other areas of your life. This is a great “win win” type of situation, learning something that can be used in your life in different ways.
Of course, there are other meditation related Apps out there. However I have used and am using the Insight Timer App from my own personal experience. I just happen to find that it does the “trick” for me. It may also very well do the “trick” for you as well. 🙂 🙂 I also talk about Headspace as well, which I have also used. Both are good.
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- Meditation with Headspace: Doing meditation with Headspace is a great idea. Meditation can help with relaxing. If you can follow videos you can use Headspace. Headspace can most likely help you to do meditation.
- Use the popular Insight Timer app to relax: I have been using the popular Insight Timer app since October 2016 and highly recommend it. It is still a top rated free meditation app today. Insight Timer can most likely help you to do meditation.
- Insight Timer vs Headspace – Which one is better? In comparing Insight Timer vs Headspace meditation apps, I used both for a while. Now I use just one. Discover which and why.
- Free unguided meditations: Doing free unguided meditations is a great idea. However first you have to know at least one unguided meditation technique. I outline two free unguided meditation approaches that you can use, moments after you read the techniques. No waiting.
The benefits of meditation on health includes a healthier body
Meditation has loads of benefits. This very brief section just focuses on some of the benefits that are health related, some of which are listed below:
- Improves immune system
- Improves energy level
- Improves breathing
- Improves heart rates
- Reduces blood pressure
- More longevity
- Lessens heart problems
- Lessens brain problems
- Lessens inflammatory disorders
- Lessens asthma
Theses are just some of the benefits of meditation.
Doing daily meditation can help you with relaxation
One of the benefits of daily meditation is that it may help you with relaxation.
From personal experience, I can say that meditation does help. However it is important to do meditation with no expectations. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?
Relaxation Technique Number 10 – Consume enough water
This technique is so simple but so important that it can get overlooked by accident, especially on days when people are really busy.
The technique is simple: Make sure you consume enough water. This is based on the fact that drinking enough water every day is important to your health and your overall well-being. If you do not drink enough water and get dehydrated, it can cause problems.
Dehydration can make you heart start racing or make you feel lightheaded or dizzy. These physical events are unhelpful, and you might have unhelpful feelings or unhelpful emotions because you are dehydrated. Consuming more water on a daily basis, helps to keep dehydration away and hopefully prevent these “false unhelpful feelings or emotions” from arising in the first place.
No way do you want a health event because you are “feeling a bit dizzy” because you are dehydrated which caused your mind to misread the situation “oh oh, looks like the start of a health event and turn into a worst health event which is very real and horrible should you experience it.
Recommended daily intakes of water depends on a number of different variables. Location and current weather being two of those variables. You might have to talk to a medical professional in your area to determine the amount of water you should consume each day based on the variables that affect you. And based on the changing variables that may affect you over the different seasons when there are usually different weather patterns.
From personal experience, I can say that this technique makes sense. I am happy enough to drink more water if it helps. Drinking some usually involves a “change of scenery” as I usually have to go to the kitchen to get the water which is also good. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?
Relaxation Technique Number 11 – Go to the seaside
This technique is to go to the seaside. This is a fairly simple technique which if you are near to the seaside is pretty easy to do. 🙂
If you are not, it does require some effort. 🙂
I remember growing up, and every so often, you hear that someone’s doctor recommended that they go to the seaside and I would wonder why. It turns out that being by the seaside may help with relaxation. This is for a number of reasons, in my opinion.
People say that “sea air is good for you”. Well, any time I have been to the seaside I would have to agree with this. I have noticed that it also tends to be “fresher”. Then there is also the sound of the waves against the beach. This is usually relaxing, and is the same sound again and again. This helps with relaxing me. You might find the same. 🙂
I also find that if I go for a walk along the beach, that I would end up walking for longer than I had initially planned. Being at the seaside may be relaxing because there is hopefully this ‘blue’ natural stuff; the color of the sea and the color of the sky. The sea is a natural environment, there is a great feeling of open space, and there is that fresh air. The sound of the waves against the beach is also a sound that helps with relaxing.
People also usually associate happy relaxing good times with being at the seaside which is all good.
I also suggest taking some photographs of what you see at the seaside taking in all this wonder, so that you can relive your visit to the seaside by looking at your photographs.
I would suggest that if it is practicable for you, to put your smartphone or your cell phone or your phone off, or at least put it in ‘silent mode’. You are at the seaside for you, and you need your ‘alone time’ in order to recharge yourself. If you end up answering your phone, you are not going to get this time to recharge yourself.
From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?
Relaxation Technique Number 12 – Do regular “brain-dumps”
This technique is to do regular “brain-dumps” and have a process that processes what comes up in the “brain-dump”.
This is an interesting technique which a medical professional suggested to me a while back when I mentioned that I could not sleep, she suggested that rather than taking a sleeping pill to do what she called a “brain-dump”.
The way that she suggested is that if I can not sleep, grab some paper and a pen, and write down all the things going through my mind in no order and to just get it down to paper. The very act of doing this is supposed to be relaxing.
A few times since then I have found it difficult to sleep, I simply practiced doing meditation in bed and was able to nod off. I just did not feel like getting up and writing down the thoughts in my head. Something about a good idea in theory being not so practicable in the real world.
My understanding is that the very process of writing those thoughts down “helps to slow down the brain” and it just happens that the meditation in bed process does the same or similar thing.
Relaxation Technique Number 13 – Use the “so what?” concept
This technique is another one that is simple in concept. It is to silently say to yourself “So What?”. This is a very simple idea, which is easy to implement, if you remember to use it when it may be helpful.
You may be aware that if you think of something “not great”, that the next thing that happens is that you get into a bit of an endless loop. What you want to do before getting into the endless loop, is to do something to prevent going into the endless loop.
What you do is simple, you silently say to yourself as strongly as you can, “So What?”
You can replace the “So What?” with other stronger phrases. It appears that using “bad language” may be more effective. For example, “So F* What?” can be more effective that using “So What?” because it is more emotional.
This dispels the potential situation and you move on as before. You do not get into the endless loop and this is good.
Worded in a different way: The technique here is that when you think of something “not great”, and you know that dwelling on it is “bad” for you, immediately after the thought appears, you say to yourself, silently of course, “So What?” as strongly as you can.
Two other similar ideas:
1 – Instead of thinking that a bad thing can happen, think that a good thing can happen.
2 – Instead of “expecting the worst”, “expect the best” until it is confirmed otherwise.
The human mind is very good at conjuring up things, so guide it to conjure up “expecting the best” images rather than something else. Understand that a lot of the worries that people have do not actually happen, and that means that a lot of time has been “wasted” because those people could have been doing something else more enjoyable with their time.
Get your mind to work with you, instead of against you.
If I say “think of a time that you were happy and at the seaside”, I assume that you will conjure up happy memories of being happy and being at the seaside. Ah, Happy Times. 🙂 🙂
Hopefully I reminded you of some good times and that is bringing a smile to your face. 🙂 🙂
Before going to the next point, I would suggest that you stay here for a while, and recall those happy great memories in more detail and you do exactly this, now.
Relaxation Technique Number 14 – Give yourself a treat
This technique is to remember to give yourself treats on a regular basis. This technique is another good one. This can help greatly to give us some ‘recharging time’ which is always good.
The concept is simple – it is to give yourself some sort of treat.
Maybe go to a coffee shop, and have the coffee there, with the intention of drinking the coffee very slowly and staying there for 40 minutes to 60 minutes, with no distractions (No cell phone, no reading the paper, no laptop, no computer, no book). Just be “lazy” for that 40 minutes to 60 minutes. Enjoy that time.
Sometimes, that is the most productive use of our time. Give the brain and mind a chance to catch up. Oh, if any “not great thoughts” come up, re-divert them with a “hey, brain, I am relaxing here. Go f* off”.
You may need the “down time” and it is way better to be in control of that “down time agenda” than not.
Everyone is different. So rather than going to a coffee shop, you might go somewhere for afternoon tea. Enjoying afternoon tea at a hotel is a different experience that enjoying tea with a treat at a coffee house. They are different experiences and prices usually reflect this.
It is important however to give yourself some treat on a regular basis, ideally at least once every day. Going out to enjoy the latest blockbuster at the local cinema is also an idea. You may find that you find some variety with your treats so that you enjoy them and it does not become dull.
Giving yourself a bigger treat on occasions is also an idea.
Relaxation Technique Number 15 – Read novels
This technique is to read novels. This is an incredibly simple relaxation technique. It is to read novels that you totally enjoy and totally engage in. Not a horror story. Something that you totally enjoy. The important thing is that you totally engage yourself in the story.
Once you start turning pages and read for a while, it can help you to relax.
I recommend that you read novels that you totally enjoy and totally engage in every day for at least 10 minutes. I have resumed doing this myself recently and read in bed most nights for at least 10 minutes. I get so engaged with the story that it is usually nearer 30 minutes when I call it a day.
My gut feeling is that this reading helps me to relax, so all good.
Why not give it a go, and see if this one works for you? You surely have a novel in the house that you could start reading or rereading later today.
Note that whatever you read for relaxation, is something that you enjoy reading and something that you totally engage in. Reading a technical work related document might not fit the bill in this instance. 🙂
Reading a novel from a gene that you do not enjoy may not be a good idea. For instance, I myself will not read horror novels, well because I do not enjoy them. Horror novels freak me out. That does not help me with my relaxation. 🙂
So I simply do not read that gene of novels. Whereas I like a good thriller that I truly totally enjoy and totally engage in. I suggest that you read novels from different genes that you do enjoy.
From personal experience, I can say that reading novels that I enjoy helps. Why not give it a go and see if it helps for you?
Relaxation Technique Number 16 – “Doing your thing” thinking
This technique is using the “I do my thing and you do your thing” concept in your silent thinking. This is based on the famous quote by Fritz Perls:
I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
I find that saying this quote silently to myself a few times that it helps.
Yes, I think that it is okay to be concerned about another person. In this case, doing meditation, especially loving-kindness meditation can help you get you some space. You need the space yourself to help you to see the situation clearer for yourself.
Then determine if it is a good idea to help and if it is, and you can, and the other person is okay with it, then proceed. Just be careful that you do not cross a line. Once you get involved, you could be “hooked” in emotionally for a lot more that you initially expected, so you might need to put some sort of condition on this to help you remain “unhooked” or to very clearly state some condition, “Sure, I can give you 10 minutes now, but then I have to go” and 10 to 15 minutes later, go.
Worrying about things that are of no real concern to me is not a good use of my time and my energies. So from my point of view and from my health view, I am better off to focus on “doing my thing and living up to my expectations”. If any additional thoughts come up that are not related to “doing my thing and living up to my expectations”, I can re-divert them with a “hey, brain, thanks for that. As it is not related to doing my thing and living up to my expectations, go f* off”.
From personal experience, I can say that saying this quote silently (I do my thing and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, And you are not in this world to live up to mine) to myself a few times helps. Why not give it a go and see if it helps for you?
It may be noted that the Loving Kindness Meditation phrases involved in acceptance are somewhat connected to this strategy. Examples of these phrases are:
May I accept myself as I am. May I accept others as they are.
You might have noticed that using Meditation was already discussed above.
Relaxation Technique Number 17 – Drink green tea or not
This is one that should be relatively easy for you to try out, this technique is to drink green tea or not.
However and this is very important, if you are taking medications, please be sure to check with your health professional to be sure that drinking green tea is safe for you. Be sure that your health professional knows about all medications you are taking eg beta-blocker nadolol, including the over the counter ones eg aspirin.
Relaxation Technique Number 18 – Have a good laugh
Having a good laugh is a good relaxation technique.
There are various different ways to have a good laugh. Here are a few ideas:
- Watch a comedy show on the television
- Watch a comedian show on the television
- Read a comedy or joke book
- Read the jokes section / comedy section / comic section of magazines
- Have a get together with friends
There are of course, many other ways to have a good laugh. 🙂
Relaxation Technique Number 19 – Go to a counselor
Getting counseling help is an idea if you are finding it really difficult to relax. However you need to be careful when selecting your counselor. Different counselors may subscribe to different ways of therapy which may not fully reflect your values and your current needs.
Going to a counselor may be a good option. My understanding is that a psychotherapist will help you investigate your early life and experiences to identify and hopefully resolve early childhood potential issues. These may not be real issues in your eyes because as far as you are concerned, they were not issues until the psychotherapist brings them up.
As far as I am concerned, the jury is still out on this one. But they do seem to help some people and that is what is important.
Note: I do not fully agree with this approach. I find bringing up old issues that have been long forgotten is a bad idea. The counselor is supposed to help you to manage this in such a way that it becomes ‘processed’ and is no longer a concern. In my personal experience, this did not happen for me and so raised additional “stuff” that I needed to work with. I think that this is a way for counselors to ensure that you need their expensive personal services for some time to come instead of helping you to sort out the problem you went to them initially in a time effective and a cost effective manner.
In the 2017 film called Molly’s Game, which is a film about Molly and how she arranged high stake gaming games for wealthy people. She got into trouble with the law. Anyway, the father of Molly is some sort of counselor and they do not get on at all. Near the end of the film, they meet up. During that chat, he manages to provide many years of counseling advice into a few minutes. I am not even sure that the advice was good in the first place. He informing her a few times during that chat that would have cost her a lot of her time and a lot of money otherwise.
The implication being is that if she was a patient of his, he would have only provided the advice over a long period of time with her paying a lot of money in the process. That disgusts me.
It raises questions in my mind like:-
- Do counselors and the like string out their expensive advice over a long period of time that could be shortened greatly?
- Is the advice really any good in the first place?
Therefore for me, I do not fully trust this approach, based on my own personal real world experience.
My understanding is that a counselor will help you sort out certain problems because a lot of human behavior falls into patterns. So the counselor sees the pattern that the patient is in, and provides the patient with alternative behavior on how to deal with this problem. The reason is that the counselor based on their training and their experience will have seen the pattern that the patient is in, and is aware of more healthy alternative behaviors than the ‘default’ behavior that the patient is in. This is in my opinion more hands on and more practical than the approach used by psychotherapists.
If you are considering counseling, knowing about a few different type of counseling may help you to decide on which one is better for you. Please know that counselors sometimes specialize in different areas and the area that you need help with might not be something that the counselor specializes in and therefore you may not be getting the “best bang for your money”.
One type is the psychotherapist type. This type of counselor will help you investigate your early life and experiences to identify and hopefully resolve early childhood potential issues. Their take is that a major cause of your mental difficulties are related to unresolved issues. While this may be true I have a different opinion. My take is different especially if the unresolved related issues were forgotten by you. They raise them up and when you have a “new” problem which needs “fixing”. Of course, “fixing” them can’t be done in the current session and hence you need another session which is going to cost you more time and more money.
Another type is the cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) type. This type of counselor will try to work with you in order to re-frame mental activities (thinking) in a more reasonable and positive manner. In my opinion, this one hits the nail on the head. If a person can change their thinking processes to be more positive, that may help their emotional state, especially if the thinking changes almost at once when you ask yourself a question. For instance, if something is causing you difficulties right now, asking yourself silently the “will this be important in 5 years time” question and discovering that the answer is usually no helps. What has really changed? Nothing, just how you are processing it. Call it a mind trick, however it is one that works more often than not, and is one well worth using when emotionally charged.
There may be more types of counselor types that I am not aware off.
My personal experience with a counselor and psychotherapist
My local doctor recommended that I see a counselor and recommended a local one to me. I phoned the recommended counselor, and arranged to see her. I asked her if it was covered under my private health insurance and she said that it was. She said that I pay as I go, she issue receipts, and I claim from my private health insurance afterwards. Over a period of about 8 weeks, I visited the counselor 5 times. The first 3 visits were in my opinion well structured and I took something away with each of those visits. Visits 4 and 5 ended up being in my opinion not well structured and ended up being informal chats. After visit 5, I decided not to proceed any further.
My personal experience with my private health insurer to pay up
It was then time to claim those visits against my private health insurance policy. In the end, they did not pay.
Basically in order to benefit from their counseling benefit you access that by phoning a special phone number which you obtain my contacting the private health insurer and asking how to get benefit under such a such section. You phone this special phone number and have a phone conversation, and if they think you need counseling, they give you a list over the phone of local counselors who get paid directly by the private health insurer. You select one and this local counselor then contacts you and you take it from there.
Basically I went the wrong way to get my private health insurer to fund my counseling sessions. My counselor had given me incorrect information. This is the most neutral way I have of putting it. And she has over 20 years experience of providing counseling.
My private health insurer explained that some policies do allow cover for visits to a clinical psychologist which they define as a full member of such a such organisation. The policy I have does not have this cover. And the person I saw is not registered nor a full member of such a such organisation.
Basically the most important takeaway, is that if I need to make an appointment for treatment of any kind, to contact the private health insurer in advance so that they can advise me on how to get the best benefit from my policy. And of course, this takeaway applies to other areas of life as well. 🙂
I have had health insurance with this private health insurer for in excess of 35 years, starting when I was a child. Based on this experience when it comes up next for renewal, I will be thinking a lot more do I need the cover, instead of automatically thinking, oh yea, health insurance, a non brainer, I need this cover and just renewing almost automatically.
Luckily enough, by the time that I was in discussions with my private health insurer, I came across the very interesting technique “in a few years time, will this be important in the overall scheme of things, and if not, just to let it drop” as it is not worth the emotional cost. However I am still rightly annoyed that my counselor gave me incorrect information. A client of a counselor is supposed to trust the counselor to look after the client’s interests.
I do believe that for some people this technique does work on occasion. It is just that for me, it did not work for me in my opinion. I put it down to another lesson from the university of life. Counselors charge for each separate counselling session so you need to be very sure that you are getting your monies worth. If they are getting a fee for each visit, it may not be in their best interests for them to fix you quickly. Just an observation.
Relaxation Technique Number 20 – Sleep better
Practicing healthy sleep hygiene may help you to sleep better. If you sleep better, that should help your well being.
Relaxation Technique Number 21 – Reducing caffeine
Something to be aware of, if you want to relax, is the idea of reducing caffeine in your diet. Caffeine is in some foods and drinks that we enjoy. For example, coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate. For some strange reason, we humans quite often seem to like foods and drinks that are not as good for us as we would like. 🙂
This is one of those ideas that you need to consider a bit, because going out to a coffee shop to enjoy a coffee in a coffee shop can be extremely enjoyable and that of course helps with relaxing. However drinking too much coffee is problematic.
In the human body, caffeine can increase cortisol levels. Negative emotions can also increases cortisol levels. There are negative side efforts if cortisol levels are too high for too long.
Is caffeine bad for you? Too much caffeine is bad for you
Having too much caffeine in your body can interfere with your sleep patterns. Having some caffeine in your body can act as a temporary energy boost and in that sense it has its uses.
Caffeine is known to interfere with sleep, so avoid taking caffeine 6 to 8 hours before you go to bed. Caffeine may be of benefit in small dozes, so avoid drinking more than 2 cups of coffee per day, and if you do drink coffee avoid taking coffee 6 to 8 hours before you go to bed because it may affect your sleep. Sleep is important. You may be able to enjoy limited quantities of caffeine in your diet, however too much caffeine is a no-no.
Bear in mind that sources of caffeine include coffee and soft drinks, so I will focus on practical suggestions on how to reduce coffee and soft drinks in your diet. It is fairly important that you reduce slightly you intake of caffeine over a longer period of time, rather than doing a sudden stoppage.
Reducing coffee intake could add up to a significant annual saving
If you buy coffee on the go a few times every day, reducing your coffee intake could add up to a significant annual saving.
Say your coffee costs $3 a go, you buy 3 coffees a day, and there are 365 days in the year, this comes to $3,285 on an annual basis.
If you manage to reduce your coffee intake by 1 coffee a day in this example, you would save $1,095 on an annual basis.
If you manage to reduce your coffee intake by 2 coffees a day in this example, you would save $2,190 on an annual basis.
If you manage to reduce your coffee intake by 3 coffees a day in this example, you would save $3,285 on an annual basis.
Be sure to do a quick calculation based on how much you pay for coffee and how many coffees you buy per day and be sure to calculate the annual savings. 🙂
Reduce caffeine slowly over time
I would suggest that if you are going to reduce caffeine in your diet that you gradually reduce it over a period of time, otherwise you may feel unwanted side effects. The human body after a while gets used to taking so much and when it does not get the usual amount, the human body craves for it and in some cases, this can lead to a caffeine headache or other unwanted side effects. If you are in any doubt about reducing your caffeine intake, you should consult with your doctor.
A tip to help you reduce your soft drink intake
If say, you enjoy a glass of your favorite soft drink when you are eating your dinner, follow this approach for a few days:
|Day Number||Amount of water with your dinner||Amount of your favourite soft drink with your dinner|
|Day 1||No water||1 glass of your favourite soft drink|
|Day 2||No water||1 glass of your favourite soft drink|
|Day 3||1/4 glass of water||3/4 glass of your favourite soft drink|
|Day 4||1/4 glass of water||3/4 glass of your favourite soft drink|
|Day 5||1/2 glass of water||1/2 glass of your favourite soft drink|
|Day 6||1/2 glass of water||1/2 glass of your favourite soft drink|
|Day 7||3/4 glass of water||1/4 glass of your favourite soft drink|
|Day 8||3/4 glass of water||1/4 glass of your favourite soft drink|
|Day 9||1 glass of water||No favourite soft drink|
|Day 10||1 glass of water||No favourite soft drink|
Of course, the size of the glass is the same for the water and for your favourite soft drink. 🙂
And of course, the same idea could apply if you want to reduce or give up other forms of caffeine. 🙂
Reduce the amount of caffeine slowly over a period of time to give your body time to get used to less caffeine.
Another tip to help you reduce your soft drink intake
This tip helps you reduce your soft drink intake as a percentage of your total liquid intake. This one is incredibly simple. As well as having your glass of your favorite soft drink, you have another glass containing a full glass of water. Then you simply alternative between drinking the soft drink with drinking the water.
Over time, you may refill the glass that contained the water. In that case, you might have one glass of your favorite soft drink with two glasses of water. Over time, you may reach the position of only drinking the water. I personally feel it is OK to drink some of your favorite soft drink on some occasions.
Yep, I think that too much caffeine is bad
As you might have gathered by now, having too much caffeine is bad for you. However I hope that the practical tips and suggestions on how to reduce your intake of coffee and/or your intake of soft drinks helps you to reduce your intake of caffeine over a period of time and that you feel the benefits of doing this. If you used to buy 3 or 4 coffees each week day, and this is reduced to none, than there should be a significant cost saving that you could consider spending on something else. Likewise, if you used to buy a few cans or bottles of soft drinks each week day and this is reduced to none, than there should be a significant cost saving that you could consider spending on something else.
Caffeine is bad for you, and consuming too much caffeine is bad for you especially if you consume this caffeine near bedtime and it interferes with you getting the right amount of high quality sleep each night.
Relaxation Technique Number 22 – Count to 10 or 100
Something to be aware of, if you want to relax, and this is a very simple idea which may not be so easy to do in the real world. This is the idea of counting silently to yourself very slowly and very much on purpose from 1 to 10, and to continue to 100 if you are still emotionally charged. 🙂
In the human body, when you are emotionally charged, your body may do the “fight or run” thing and this process increases adrenaline flow so that the body is ready to do the “fight or run” thing.
Discover a simple tip on how to relax naturally
This is a fairly simple tip on how to relax naturally. It may not work all of the time, however it can work some of the time, and therefore it is mentioned here. Using this tip allows you to get some time, so that you do not react emotionally to something and to allow you to respond in a well considered calm way, which is better for you and may also be better for the other people involved.
The idea of counting to 10 is something that has been around a while. Something happens, and people react straight away without thinking. If something happens, and you then count to 10, you may be in a better place mentally to respond to the situation, rather than reacting.
The primary idea is to get some control back, stop for a few seconds (assuming it is safe to do so), take a few deep breaths and then count silently to yourself, very slowly and very much on purpose from 1 to 10, and if necessary to keep counting if you still feel the need to until you get to 100. The idea is to use this time to bring your emotional feelings down a few notches. Internally there is an adrenaline rush going on, counting gives you some time so counteract the adrenaline, hopefully giving you the time and space so that you can response is a considered one rather than a reaction.
A quote from Thomas Jefferson
“When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.” by Thomas Jefferson
As Thomas Jefferson said the above, I think that this is a simple tip on how to relax in a natural manner. I am a firm believer that where possible and where it is effective, to use natural solutions, that way there is no need to be concerned about possible side effects and the like. And in this case, this solution does not actually cost you anything.
The above relaxation technique is fairly simple, however it may be difficult to use in the real world at times. If you can just remind yourself that this technique is there then and actually use it, it may help you.
From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work on occasion. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you.
Relaxation Technique Number 23 – Write down 3 things you are grateful for every night
If you want to relax, and this is a very simple idea which is very easy to actually do, is to write down three things you are grateful for every night. Ideally you would write these down every night in a journal of some kind and ideally you are looking for three things. However if you can not think of three things, do not worry about it. 🙂 If you think of two or one or none that is OK. The important thing is that you searched. Searching helps by making the brain do some work.
Back to the idea of writing those three things, you could be grateful for a bright sunny day in which you enjoyed a number of enjoyable activities, you might have enjoyed a walk or a run during the day, you might have enjoyed meeting up with someone either in the ‘real world’ for example in a coffee shop or in the ‘virtual world’ for example a facebook chat with an old friend who lives on the other side of the planet.
By writing these things down, remember to every so often to take time out and review a number of your entries. You then remember them with joy and happiness which is a relaxation technique in its own right.
As well as that, say you had an entry reporting that you enjoyed a day with friends at the zoo, and you have not gone to the zoo for some time, maybe you might think that visiting the zoo with your family might be a good activity. 🙂
A quote from Paulo Coelho
“Live Simply. Dream Big. Be Grateful. Give Love. Laugh Lots.” by Paulo Coelho
Relaxation Techniques Conclusion
My relaxation techniques conclusion is that many of them are actually pretty easy to actually do however doing them on a regular basis is key. In real life this may be way easier to say than to do.
Meditation gurus suggest that meditating every single day without letup for say 5 minutes every day is better for you that doing say 1 hour every Saturday.
As you can see there are quite a number of relaxation techniques out there. My 23 Relaxation Techniques just outlines a small subset of different relaxation techniques out of the many different techniques out there. Some of them are more active than others.
I hope that a number of my 23 Relaxation Techniques can help you in your life. As you can see I have some relaxation experience directly from my personal experiences and indirectly from obtaining practical knowledge from different sources over the course of my life.
I have come across a lot of information out there that has not been put together well and would be difficult to apply in what I call the real world.
There is no way that I want to read a “dry book” full of academic theory that contains very little practical knowledge that can be applied to my real world straight away.
I prefer to read a few paragraphs about some technique that provides all the required information and practical knowledge to apply to the real world straight away.
I don’t mind if that acts as an introduction to that technique which can be followed up with more detailed practical knowledge that can be applied to my real world almost straight away.
I hope that one or more of the relaxation techniques that I outlined above help. I hope that you find value from the information here.