How to Relax and De Stress

Four Methods:Stress Reduction HelpReflect on Your StressRelax Your MindRelax Your Body

If you find yourself plagued with anxiety, finding it hard to sleep because you're worrying about the day ahead of you, and a victim of constant headaches, then you have entered the major stress zone. You need to work on reflecting on your stress and relaxing your mind and body before you do any more damage. If every single thing you do and experience has now become too hard, burdensome, tiring, and fear-inducing, do yourself the favor of allowing yourself to relax. If you want to know how to lead a more relaxing life, just follow these steps.

Stress Reduction Help

Method 1
Reflect on Your Stress

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    Write down your thoughts. Before you can begin to relax and minimize the stress in your life, it's time to sit down and put pen to paper to write down your feelings. If you're really stressed, it's likely that you haven't had much time to just sit down and be alone with your thoughts, so just by writing what you're feeling, you're already beginning the process. Here's what you can write:
    • What are you feeling? What goes through your mind and body on a daily basis, and how much stress are you feeling? Would you say you have always been stressed, or that you're in a particularly stressful period of your life?
    • Consider the sources of your stress. Are you stressed because of work, your relationship, a situation with your family, or a combination of many factors? What can you do to address these situations to minimize your stress?
    • If it's helpful, write down your thoughts nearly every day. Being aware of how you're feeling and what your stress triggers are can go a long way in helping you address your stress.
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    Make a game plan. Once you've written down your general feelings and feel more comfortable expressing how stressed out you really are, you should take the time to make a game plan that will help you start addressing the stress in your life. Though many aspects of life are inherently stressful, there are many things you can do to make it easier for yourself to relax. Your game plan should have three main parts:
    • Short-term solutions. Make a list of short-term actions that can minimize your stress. For example, if your hellish commute to work is a major source of your stress, try leaving for work twenty minutes early to beat the traffic.
    • Long-term solutions. Make a plan to be a more relaxed person overall. This will include how you view your work, your relationships, and your responsibilities. For example, if one of your major sources of stress is that you're overcommitted at work, make a game-plan to lower your work responsibilities over a long period of time.
    • Making time for relaxation. Take a look at your schedule and block out time each day for relaxation. Even if part of the reasons that you're so stressed is that you have no free time, you should squeeze in time wherever you can, whether it's in the morning or right before bed.
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    Vow to eliminate as many sources of stress as you can. Though you can't turn your life upside down to eliminate stress, you can certainly find a way to eliminate any sources of constant stress in your life. This will make a marked difference on your every day life. Here are some examples of stressful situations you can eliminate:
    • Get rid of the toxic friend. If you have a "friend" who does nothing but cause you grief, make you feel bad, and generally stress you out, it may be time to do some friend "spring cleaning."
    • Do some real spring cleaning. If your desk, briefcase, and home are so filled with clutter and loose papers that you can never find anything, clean up to make your life easier.
    • Try to avoid stressful situations. If you always feel stressed out at concerts but your boyfriend really loves them, listen to music at home instead. If cooking for guests really stresses you out, order in the next time you planned on cooking a meal.
    • Plan ahead. If you're stressed out because you haven't worked out the details of a trip that's months away, start booking your flight and hotel so you can stop worrying about it already.
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    Share your feelings. You don't have to feel alone in your plan to minimize the stress in your life. You'll feel better about your feelings and less isolated if you're able to openly and candidly speak about your stress to a friend or family member. Just having someone who will listen to your problems will help you minimize your level of stress.
    • Talk to a close friend about how stressed you're feeling. It's likely that your friend is also dealing with stress or has dealt with serious stress at some point, so be open to suggestions and advice.
    • Open up to a family member about your stress. A family member can help give you the affection and support you need to overcome your stress.
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    Know when to get help. If you feel absolutely debilitated by stress and can barely sleep, eat, or see straight because you're so worried about all of your responsibilities and feel completely incapable of dealing with them, then you may not be able to deal with the problem alone. See a health professional to debrief and to find some constructive ways to deal with your problems.
    • A professional can help even if your feelings are situational. If you're stressed out because you're planning a wedding and have started a new taxing job, a professional can teach you stress-management techniques that you can use for the rest of your life.

Method 2
Relax Your Mind

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    Meditate. Meditating is a great way to relax your mind, and you can meditate almost anywhere and at any time. Just pick a quiet place where you can sit on level ground and close your eyes. Cross your legs and keep your hands on your lap. Focus on inhaling and exhaling, and let your body be governed by your breath. Keep as still as possible and avoid fidgeting.
    • Be aware of what you can't control. Focus and absorb the smells and sounds around you.
    • Clear your mind. Don't think about how much work you have left to do, or about what you're going to make for dinner. Just focus on clearing your mind and managing your breath.
    • Relax every part of your body. You can focus on one part of your body at a time until you feel that every part of you is loose and relaxed.
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    Watch a movie. Going out to the movies or watching a movie on television can help you escape into another universe and to take your mind off of your own problems. When you watch a movie, try to clear your mind as much as possible and think about what the characters are doing and saying instead of what you're going to do or say after the movie.
    • Pick a comedy or a romantic film for maximum relaxation. Anything too violent or gory will only make you stressed or anxious and will make it harder for you to sleep.
    • If you're watching a movie on television, skip the commercials. Either use DVR to watch the movie without commercials or just walk away and take a quick break during the commercials. Otherwise, you may feel more frenzied and distracted from the influx of mixed messages.
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    Spend time with friends. Spending time with friends is a great way to relax. There are a variety of ways that hanging out with friends can help you relax, whether you're laughing over a board game or having a catch-up session over coffee. Spending time with your friends can make you wind down and spend time talking about your feelings, which will make you feel less stressed. Here's what you can do:
    • No matter how busy you are, make sure to spend time with your friends at least twice a week if not more. Plug social events into your calendar and stick to them, or you will feel even more isolated.
    • Make sure to spend quality time with your friends. Quality time means actually talking to and listening to each other in small groups, not feeling crushed at a loud party or concert.
    • Open up. You don't have to go into every little detail of every little thing you're worried about with your friends, but you shouldn't be afraid to ask for feedback.
    • Try to pick events that will make you laugh. If you have a busy schedule, choose a board game night or go out to see a comedy with your friends, instead of going to a crowded bar where you won't have as much of a chance to laugh.
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    Go for a long drive. If you love to drive, then going for a long drive late at night can help you relax and feel more in control of your life. You may feel overpowered by nasty traffic, or annoyed by how aggressively other people drive during the day, but if you take to the roads at night, you'll feel calmer and more empowered.
    • Find a favorite driving route. Drive the same route every time so it becomes a routine and you don't have to worry about deciding where and when to turn.
    • Listen to jazz or other soft relaxing music while you drive.
    • Long drives are great after you spend a few hours socializing. If you're leaving a party after hours of laughing, sharing your feelings, and listening to your friends, taking a 20-minute solo drive before going home can help you wind down.
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    Read. Reading is a fantastic way to relax, especially before bed. Try to shut off all the noise and visual stimuli in the hour before bed and take the time to read something with a cup of camomile tea before you go to bed. Reading is a great way to start your day and to feel sharp in the morning as well. Reading will not only improve your knowledge, but it will allow you to rest your body and quiet your mind as you focus on the material in front of you.
    • Reading is a great way to feel like you're slowing down in a fast-paced environment. Make a goal of reading for at least half an hour a day.
    • If you feel so stressed out that you can't focus on what you're reading, take a break to meditate, or whisper the words aloud until you absorb their meaning.
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    Calm your mind before bed. To do this, find your own space and darken it. Light it with gentle lamplight or candles. Put on some soothing music and lie back on a comfortable bed or couch. Relax as long as you want to or until you feel that is enough.
    • Focus on thinking happy thoughts, or almost no thoughts at all. Visualize how it will feel to slip into bed and fall into an easy and restful sleep.
    • Slowly turn down the music and blow out the candles, and fall into sleep.

Method 3
Relax Your Body

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    Give yourself a massage. Self massage is very effective at reducing the pain from muscles that tighten when stressed. Massage your own shoulders, forearms, thighs, and even your hands. This is something you can do any time during the day -- even when you're sitting at your own desk.
    • If you like the self-massage, consider having a friend or a professional give you a massage. This can make your body feel very refreshed, especially if you spend all day sitting up and have a sore back.
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    Avoid too much caffeine. Though caffeine may give you the kick you need to wake up in the morning, it's not worth it to over-indulge in caffeine in the long run. After a few hours, coming down from caffeine will make you feel shaky, irritable, and can even give you a headache. Drinking too much caffeine will also make it more difficult for you to sleep at night.
    • If you're a heavy caffeine addict, try cutting down on just one cup of coffee per day or per week. You can also try switching from coffee to tea.
    • If you really need your caffeine, eliminate it after noon, and you will be able to sleep more easily. If you're used to the cup of coffee after dinner, switch to decaf.
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    Exercise. Getting just 30 minutes a day of healthy exercise will help relax your body by leaps and bounds. You don't have to do anything strenuous or out of your comfort zone to get your heart rate going and to let yourself blow off some steam. Try to factor in 30 minutes of exercise into your schedule at least three times a week. Here are some great exercises to try:
    • Power yoga. Not only will this give you a killer workout, but you'll be able to focus on clearing your mind and concentrating on your breathing as well.
    • Running. This is a great way to clear your mind while getting a great cardiovascular workout.
    • Hiking. You'll feel instantly more relaxed by being in touch with nature.
    • Find a gym buddy. If you go to the gym with a buddy just once or twice a week, you'll be able to get a great workout while laughing and sharing your thoughts.
    • Remember to always stretch. No matter what form of exercise you do, take at least 5-10 minutes to stretch before and after your workout. Stretching your limbs will not only prevent injury, but it will help you slow down and relax.
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    Take a bubble bath. Run yourself a hot bath with lots of scented oils and bubble bath. Relax in this bath for about 10 - 20 minutes. This will be just long enough to refresh and restore a small amount of energy to get back to your own head space.
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    Eat well. Eating well is the key to having a more relaxed body. Your body may be feeling out of sorts because you've been too stressed out to eat three healthy and balanced meals. Here are some eating tips that can help you relax your body:
    • Always eat breakfast. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and if you skip it, your entire day will feel off-kilter. Eat a healthy breakfast with protein-filled items like eggs and lean turkey, as well as some fruits and vegetables or a healthy bowl of oatmeal.
    • Eat three balanced meals a day. Eat three meals a day around the same time each day and make sure to find a healthy balance between proteins, carbs, and fruits and vegetables.
    • Avoid foods that are heavy in fat or very greasy. They will give you indigestion and will make your body feel more sluggish.
    • Eat healthy snacks. Eat fruit, nuts, or a small amount of peanut butter with celery in between meals.
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    Sleep well. Having a healthy sleep schedule can go a long way in making you feel less stressed. If you get enough sleep, you'll feel more control of your life during the day and will be more equipped to handle any responsibilities and challenges that come your way. Here's how to sleep well:
    • Go to bed and wake up around the same time every night. Falling into a sleep routine will make it much easier for you to wake up and go to bed at a certain time.
    • Find the amount of hours that work for you. The average person needs around 6 - 8 hours of sleep. Remember that oversleeping can make you feel just as groggy as not sleeping enough.
    • Before you fall asleep, visualize your wake-up success. Close your eyes and think about how good you'll feel when you hit your alarm once, stretch, and instantly get up and get started with your day.
    • Avoid caffeine, chocolate, or spicy foods in the evening, or it will be harder for you to go to fall asleep.


  • Avoid loud noises or grating music.
  • Make sure that you will not be disturbed when you are "relaxing". If you are feeling particularly frustrated and stressed, then try to relax and avoid interruptions, these will only make you more frustrated.


  • If you feel completely debilitated by your stress and unable to manage it on your own, see your doctor or a professional immediately.

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Categories: Managing Stress | Relaxation Techniques