Life can really be stressful, once in a while, you need to unwind. Well, as the saying goes “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. It’s necessary to learn how to relax right if not you might get stressed, fall ill, get depressed or even give up on your dreams and ambitions.
You shouldn’t see relaxation as a bad thing or as being lazy. It’s not only meant for hedonists. No matter how serious you are, how difficult your life may be, you need some bits of relaxation.
Some Importance of Relaxation
- Relaxation helps to cure anxiety, depression and stress. About 80% of illnesses are stress induced and relaxation can help cure stress. This means relaxation can be a form of prevention from several illnesses.
- It helps your heart to be healthy by keeping it at a steady pace, as a result, preventing diseases such as hypertension, heart failure, heart attack, arrhythmias and stroke.
- It helps to refresh our mind and keep us mentally healthy. This is very vital because the brain is the control centre of the body.
- It helps to relax the organs of the body. This includes the muscular system, as a result, making them get adequate nutrients essential for growth.
- It refreshes us, makes our skin look healthier and prevent breakouts of skin disorders such as acne and eczema.
We all have different ways we relax depending on several factors such as personality type, age, sex, ethnicity, believes and worldview.
An introvert won’t be able to relax the way an extrovert would.
The older you get, the less active you become. For example, It’s hard to find elderly people playing football, relaxing at clubs or bars.
Men and women have similarities and some differences in the way they relax. While men may watch sports on TV, do exercises, play sports, women may choose to go shopping, meet friends, go to coffee shops. Men on the average engage in bad habits for relaxation like smoking and drinking alcohol than women.
People in certain ethnicity have their peculiar ways of relaxation. How do people in your area relax? what do they do? This will influence the way you relax.
If you’re religious, there might be some restrictions on how you might relax. For example, some religion doesn’t support drinking alcohol, having premarital sex, going to certain places.
Your worldview will determine the extent to which you can relax, do you think you have to work for the better part of your life and retire? or do you believe you need to work less and enjoy life to the fullest? Different people see the world differently.
You need to put these factors into consideration when making plans for relaxation.
15 Best Ways To Relax
1. Take a Deep Breath
A simple but effective way to relax when you feel anxious or stressed is to simply take a deep breath. You can take several of them until you feel better.
The mechanism behind this is the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system which is concerned mostly with the relaxation of the organs of the body. It slows down the heart rate, decreases blood pressure, releases tension, makes the muscles less tensed. This opposes the actions of the sympathetic nervous system such as increased heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. The sympathetic nervous system can be activated by stress.
2. Get a Massage
Massage is always great, it feels even better when given by someone you’re attracted to. That may be your partner.
Massage also works by activating the parasympathetic system which is concerned with relaxation. In particular, massage releases muscle tension. It can help to treat muscle aches and back pains as a result of stress.
Massage of the carotid sinus stimulates the stretch receptors of the carotid artery leading to low heart rate and decreased blood pressure. This mechanism can be used to control arrhythmias, blood pressure and heart rate in people with heart diseases.
3. Go to a Sauna
A Sauna is a great place for relaxation. Sweating has lots of therapeutic benefits including flushing the body of wastes, toxins and improving skin health.
Saunas provide benefit for cardiovascular health that resembles those derived from exercise. Sauna helps your body reduce stress.
Your parasympathetic nervous system is activated in this environment which helps reduce tension, heart rate and lowers your blood pressure.
4. Find a New Hobby
Find a new hobby. It could be a new sport, a musical instrument or a challenge.
As humans when we stop growing and challenging ourselves to greater heights, our value depreciate. We start to see less purpose in life.
That’s why people in the pension age die faster when they are idle. Studies have shown that early retirement may mean earlier death.
5. Go on a Vacation
Take a break from your routine and find exciting places and locales to visit. If you live in a cold country, try visiting a warm country and vice versa. Visit places you never thought you would go. Go get some new experiences.
Travelling nowadays isn’t as expensive as it used to be. All you have to do is a plan and save ahead.
6. Have Good Sex
The feeling of sex is one of the greatest feelings there is. It’s even better if it’s with some you love or someone you are attracted to.
Some people get anxious and depressed if they don’t have sex for long. If you’re in a committed relationship, you might want to reignite the fire in your relationship and have some great sex. Try some other ideas in this article, If you’re already doing that.
If you aren’t in a relationship, then it’s time to start searching for a partner.
And don’t forget to always practice safe sex.
7. Go on a Picnic
Call up some of your close friends, your partner or family and set up a picnic. Get some food, fruits, juice, good wine, vegetables and enjoy. Benefits of going on a picnic include a relaxing environment, getting some air, some good food, good talks, family bonding.
You can have a picnic at the beach, in a park or wherever it’s convenient.
8. Go to the Beach
The beach is a great place to relax. The atmosphere is just relaxing. If you live in a cold weather country, this might only be possible in summers. But you can still try going to a sauna or travelling to a warm-weather country and enjoy the beach atmosphere there.
In addition, you can get tanned, do some sport such as swimming and have a picnic while at the beach
9. Start Dancing or Doing Yoga
Dancing is a great way of relaxation and exercise. It works the same as exercising by releasing feel-good hormones.
If you don’t know how to dance, there are places where you can learn. Look for one close to you and register. You can find also find a dance partner to help you improve in dancing. Popular dances you can learn are Salsa, Bachata, Tango to mention but a few.
Personally, this is one of my favourites. I started learning how to dance salsa and I can assure you it’s worth it.
Yoga relaxes you by ensuring meditation. Meditation is a part of Yoga which deals with mental relaxation and concentration. Other benefits of yoga are; increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, improved cardiovascular health, weight reduction and protection from injury.
10. Go for a Walk
Going outside for a walk is a great way of relaxation. It clears your mind, reduces anxiety, plus you can get some fresh air. It also brings you in contact with people which is vital for social interaction.
You can go for a walk in a park alone. It isn’t weird. Some people might think this is but these are what parks are meant for. If you have someone to go with, great, If not, walk around alone and find someone new to talk with.
It’s not compulsory you got to a park, you can walk where ever is convenient. Go to the mall, go window shopping, go to exciting places and walk around.
11. Get a Pet
Dogs are known to be able to notice emotions. They know when their owner is sad or depressed and how to cheer them up and make hem feel better.
Some of the popular pets to have are dogs, cats, hamsters and parrots.
12. Go to a Cinema, Watch TV, Listen to Music
These are classic ways of relaxation. Go to a cinema, see a new film of your choice, watch a film at home, watch your favourite programs on TV or listen to some music.
Music is known to be able to greatly influence emotions to reduce depression, anxiety, as well as to improve mood. You can use music to achieve a specific state.
Nowadays, social media is very popular especially among the younger generation and some see it as a form of relaxation in addition to getting in touch with family friends.
13. Start Doing Exercise
Exercise has several health benefits. It helps to reduce stress by reducing the hormones that are produced during stress such as cortisol and improves your mood by increasing the amount of dopamine and endorphins your brain produce. These are ‘feel good’ hormones that make you happy.
You can start exercising with fitness basics here.
14. Get Quality Sleep
Have you ever been so anxious, worried or nervous about something, you sleep off, and when you are awake, you feel better? I guess a lot of time. Sleeping is one of the easiest ways to relax.
Nowadays when people sleep, they use alarm clocks. Alarm clocks change your biological clock’s set up. Your body knows the amount of sleep you need at a particular time and you want it to just do that.
If you want quality sleep, don’t use alarm clocks, sleep in a noiseless and warm environment. It’s advised to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep per day on the average. In some instances, it’s okay to let your body determine the amount to time you need. You will know this when you sleep uninterrupted and wake up.
15. Make New Friends
New interesting friends will keep you in a good mood. Make sure they are positive people that provide value and you do the same for them too. You can go out with your new friends, travel, do exciting things and so on.
It’s isn’t uncommon to see lonely people sad or depressed. As humans, we need social interaction and that’s the basis on which how societies are built.
If you don’t have new friends, then you can make some. Go to places where you will meet the type of people you want to make friends with, communicate and bond with them, provide some value and you will make some great friends.
Some common ways people relax such as smoking, drinking, using drugs, eating sugary foods aren’t advised because they aren’t optimal for good health.
Drugs can get you addicted and put you in a worse state when you experience the withdrawal effect.
Sugary foods aren’t good for your metabolism and will make you add weight.
There are several healthy ways to relax, find what suits you best and make sure you fix relaxation into your schedule.
Recommended Reading: How to be Genuinely Happy