3. Practice mindfulness
If you want to reduce stress, anxiety and fear immediately, then shift your focus from negative thoughts and bring your attention to the present moment. By becoming aware of the present moment, you will be able to realize the beauty hidden in the present, instead of thinking about your past or worrying about your future. Mindfulness allows you to live in the now, which is actually all we have.
Psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD explains “Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness.” It will allow you to pause, slow down, and enjoy the moment. So whenever you are too stressed, focus on your senses to relax immediately. This is one of the best tips to learn how to relax. According to a Harvard Health Publishing report, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques and meditation can greatly help in relieving mental stress and anxiety. Moreover, an analysis of studies published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal revealed that mindfulness meditation has proven effective in coping with psychological stress, depression, and even physical pain.
Psychologist Deborah E. Dyer, Ph.D. explains “Focus on your breath and be keenly aware of where you are. By focusing on your breath and your immediate circumstances, it is a form of focus that pulls you into the present and away from your wandering thoughts, which are likely the primary cause of your stress.”
4. Scan your body
Scanning your own body mentally can help you understand where you are holding tension, how it affects you and help you release stress as well. All you need to do is sit comfortably or lie on your back and just scan your body from your toes to your scalp. As you move through each part of your body, gently notice how it feels physically. Judith Tutin, PhD adds “Simply be aware of places you feel tight or loose without trying to change anything.”
By simply scanning your body for 2 minutes you can help it relax. Breathe deeply into your body while scanning and imagine fresh breath flowing to the specific body part you are scanning. Be aware of the sensations and repeat the process for each body part. Wellness coach and author Elizabeth Scott, MS explains “Body scan meditation is a good way to release tension you might not even realize you’re experiencing.” Studies have found that body scan meditation can help with stress relief, improve sleep, enhance self-awareness, reduce pain and boost self-compassion.
Elizabeth adds “By mentally scanning yourself, you bring awareness to every single part of your body, noticing any aches, pains, tension, or general discomfort. The goal is not to relieve the pain completely, but to get to know it and learn from it so you can better manage it.”
5. Listen to music
If you want to know how to relax, then all you need to do is plug in your earphones and listen to your favorite music. Experts have found that music can have an instant calming effect on our mind and body. According to a 2017 study, “a minimum of 20 min of music listening” can lower stress levels remarkably.
Another 2015 study found that listening to music is highly effective in reducing stress. The research stated “Results revealed that mere music listening was effective in reducing subjective stress levels. The most profound effects were found when ‘relaxation’ was stated as the reason for music listening, with subsequent decreases in subjective stress levels and lower cortisol concentrations.” Moreover, listening to your favorite music can also reduce your anxiety, heart rate and blood pressure.
Cathy Benninger, an assistant professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, suggests “Create a playlist of songs or nature sounds (the ocean, a bubbling brook, birds chirping), and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece.” However, you can also listen to more peppy and upbeat tunes to lift your mood and even sign along.
These are undoubtedly the most effective science-backed relaxation techniques that will enable you to relieve stress and anxiety instantly.