“Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.” – Eckhart Tolle.
Doesn’t it feel like the pace of life seems to get faster and faster each year?
In the modern world, stresses continue to pile on, tensions build, responsibilities mount, and it feels as though the work will never end. This is why many people feel like they are stuck on the “treadmill of life” without ever being able to stop and unwind.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder that rates of anxiety and depression are at an all-time high. In fact, it’s now been revealed that anxiety and depression are the two most common mental illnesses in the U.S., according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), affecting well over 40 million people each year.
But fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Sometimes, all we need to do is take a little moment out of our day that’s dedicated to relaxation and unwinding. A moment where you can well and truly disconnect from the tumultuous goings-on of the day and have some well-earned “you time.” Sound good?
On that note, here are five at-home remedies to calm your mind and body to help keep you relaxed when you need it most.
1. Practice Mindful Meditation
Did you know that meditation is the most popular mind and body practice in the U.S.? It’s estimated that over 14% of people in the US have attempted meditation at least once, and since 2012, the overall number of people practicing meditation has tripled.
However, meditation is often misunderstood. This practice isn’t about becoming a new person. It’s about observing your inner self and becoming aware of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Mindful meditation is a practice that focuses on your ability to present. It teaches you how to rest your mind and body, while learning how to be in this very moment, fully engaged with whatever we’re doing in the here and now.
It involves sitting silent and paying attention to your thoughts, sounds, and physical sensations in the body, such as your breath. When you feel your mind start to wander, you bring the attention back to try to calm your thought process.
Like anything, meditation is a skill that needs to be learned. Fortunately, there are plenty of great apps and websites out there that will help you get started, and most of them are free. If you’re a beginner, check out Headspace or Calm, as they have plenty of tutorials to help you on your way.
2. Grow and Nurture Plants
It’s well-known spending time with plants and nurturing them reduces levels of cortisol in the blood and decreases feelings of stress. After all, nature is the best medicine, as they say.
Growing plants can be a pleasant and calming hobby. You’ll also pick up a range of skills along the way, from constructing a complete growing system to becoming proficient in plants' nutrition and care.
Additionally, growing plants is good for your health because it is a meditative, active activity that is beneficial for both your body and mind.
The best part of this hobby is that It really doesn’t take too much to get going at all. You can begin with only a few seeds and some rich soil. Not to mention that you can engage in such a hobby at virtually any age.
Once your plants are grown, they can provide food, medicine, add to the aesthetic appeal of a place, and even improve the quality of indoor air. Plants release oxygen into the atmosphere, absorb carbon dioxide, contributing to a cleaner and healthier planet.
3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is another relaxation method that you can try out from the comfort of your own home. It has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and is a great way to calm the mind and body.
In short, PMR involves the tightening/tensing of one muscle group at a time, then relaxing and releasing the stress. It feels like building up all of the stress in one area, and then letting it go, which is very soothing and calming for many people.
Interestingly, this technique is used to treat many illnesses, such as headaches, cancer discomfort, elevated blood pressure, and stomach disturbances.
The great news is you can safely take advantage of these methods at home without the help of a medical professional. Here are some steps to get you started:
- Breath in deeply and tense one muscle group for 10 seconds
- Exhale and relax the muscles
- Rest for 20 seconds
- Move on to the next muscle group (some people prefer to start at the toes and work their way up)
4. Massage & Aromatherapies
Is there anything in life more relaxing than a nice massage?
If you can afford the expense, it’s always a good idea to go out and get a professional massage or aromatherapy session as they are a fantastic way of reducing stress and easing anxiety. All you have to do is lie there and let the professional work their magic and ease the tension and stress out of your muscles.
If you can’t make your way to your local spa, then you can always call a mobile masseuse who will come to your house with all of the equipment ready to perform the massage in the comfort of your own home.
Benefits of massage and aromatherapy:
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increases feelings of calmness
- Decreases muscle tension
- Reduces pain
5. Do Guided Imagery
Guided imagery is a form of meditation that focuses on transporting your mind and thoughts to a different place where you can feel calm and relaxed. It’s different from mindful meditation, which is more about maintaining strict attention on the here and now.
With guided meditation, you are taught to visualize positive, happy settings such as a beautiful beach, a mountain retreat, or a quaint forest. This works better for people who have a strong imagination and can visualize calming settings in their mind’s eye.
For example, if you want to feel as though you are lounging on a tropical beach, you can lie down in your home and imagine the warm breeze of fresh island air on your skin, the brightness of the blue ocean water, and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.
If you do it well enough, you can actually feel like you are there, which is great for escaping your day-day life and reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.