for better mental health

Learning to relax

Friday, 03 May 2013 Jemima, Digital Officer for Information

Jemima from Mind blogs about our relaxation tips to combat stress and anxiety.

Relax
Chill out
Take it easy 

Simple to say, but the reality is that not many of us find it that easy to relax. We get so used to being busy that when it’s time for us to slow down or take a break, we can struggle to switch off. 

I don’t know about you, but for me it even gets to the point where I can find that ‘relaxing’ can make me feel more stressed; I have that nagging feeling that I should be doing something; that guilty knot in my stomach that tells me I probably don’t deserve a break. And it gets even worse when I’m depressed or feeling anxious. 

Here at Mind we know that relaxing is important for our wellbeing. But we also know that, like me, a lot of you find it tough, particularly when you’re struggling with your mental health. That’s why we’ve developed some relaxation tips, designed to give you some ideas to get started. 

Why do I need to relax? 

Relaxing is an important part of looking after your mental health. Not only can it help if you’re feeling stressed or anxious, but it might mean that you’re less likely to experience these feelings in the first place. And let’s face it – even if we’re not struggling with our mental health, we could probably all do with feeling a little less stressed from time to time. 

What is relaxation? 

Relaxation isn’t just about stopping and taking a break. 

I’m often tempted to ‘relax’ by watching TV or browsing the internet. But I know that this is only a form of distraction; doing these things doesn’t actively help me to switch off the negative thoughts or worries that I’m having, and as soon as I switch the TV off or close the computer, I feel the same as I did before. 

Taking proactive action to relax can help give your mind a rest, in turn making you feel more balanced and in control. For me the best way to do this is to take a little bit of time every day to be on my own and focus on my breathing. It feels a bit ridiculous to say that I practice breathing, but it does really help! I can’t honestly say that I actually manage to do it every day, or even every other day, but I’m trying hard to make it part of my daily routine. 

What can I do to relax? 

Everyone is different, and what works for you won’t necessarily work for someone else. It might take you a while to find the right relaxation technique or techniques, and you might need to keep practicing for a while before you feel the benefits. But keep persevering – it really is worth it. 

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