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How you can learn to finally relax.

It seems like relaxing is something everyone should be able to do, but those of us who are constantly stressed, are workaholics, or have certain health issues don't have an easy "off" switch. Relaxation is something we actually have to learn and practice, much like happiness. And, like happiness, learning to relax is extremely important for your health and well-being. Let's take a look at the ways we can beat chronic tension and finally slow down.

Learn How to Take Proper Breaks
No, that does not mean watching reruns on TV. You can relax your mind by doing the dishes, folding laundry, raking leaves, going for a walk, bicycling, rowing, swimming, running, sweeping, soaking in a warm bath, get a manicure, pedicure, or massage, drinking a cup of tea and looking out the window or sitting on a park bench without feeling like you should be somewhere else .… anything that doesn’t require a lot of mental faculties and lulls you into a wonderful repetitive pattern. If there is a labyrinth nearby, go walk it (or create your own, if you have the space). If you can be out walking in nature, all the better! To take a real break, you need to become comfortable with doing "nothing".

Meditate

Meditation helps relax the body and mind, clear the mental clutter, release feel-good substances into the system… and over time, meditation trains you to quiet your mind and stop the mental chatter. The easiest way to meditate is to use brainwave entrainment. Simply put on your headphones, turn on your favorite track and relax. You can relax even quicker if you focus on the soundtrack instead of allowing your mind to keep racing. That’s all there is to it, really. Focus on the music, and when your mind wanders, return your focus to the music. Your brain and body are relaxing with each passing minute, and gradually your mind will fall in line as well.

Do Some Yoga

The Vipariti Kirani yoga pose involves lying on the floor and resting the legs up against a wall. Not only does it give the body a good stretch, but it helps create peace of mind, too.

Stretch
Standing up for a quick stretch can relieve muscle tension and help us relax during a stressful workday . Why not try a shoulder roll-out or a chest-opening stretch right from the desk chair?

Eat right 

Avoid stimulants and foods that jazz you up. That means, cut back on coffee, sodas, SUGAR and artificial ingredients. Drink plenty of water, herbal tea, and eat fresh, whole foods instead of processed foods. Many people are allergic to food additives and don’t know it because the symptoms might not be obvious. However, the brain is just as affected by food as any other part of the body, so keep in mind, “garbage in, garbage out.”

Create a Zen Zone

Hiding in a bathroom stall might not sound calming, but do make (or find) a space that’s completely free of stress where you can go to relax. Set up a comfortable chair or light some incense and disappear there for a few minutes until the tension dissipates.

Find the Sun
Here comes the sun - and some stress relief. If it’s a sunny day, head outside for an easy way to lift your spirits. Bright light can be an effective treatment for people who suffer from depression, and can even cheer up otherwise healthy folks.
Dance

To the music! Research suggests people feel less anxious after a few months of modern dance, but if that’s not your style, five minutes of the funky chicken probably works, too . (At the very least, dancing’s a great form of cardio!)

Try Aromatherapy
It takes just a minute to drip some lavender, tea tree, or another essential oil into your palm and inhale. The soothing scents may help send stress and anxiety packing by stimulating smell receptors in the nose that connect to the part of the brain that regulates emotions.

If you have pets, cuddle with them

Many studies have shown that petting a dog or cat lowers blood pressure and releases oxytocin, a substance released during breastfeeding and orgasm (its main function is to create an emotional bond).

Take a 10-minute power nap

Set a timer and don’t nap anyplace too comfortable that will leave you wanting to snooze longer. A power nap gives your brain a chance to shut down for a few minutes. It’s incredible how energizing and mind-relaxing a 10-minute power nap can be!

Start Planning a Vacation

Crashing waves, warm sand, a gentle breeze ruffling your hair. Well, at least the image is nice. Take a break from work and start browsing the web for some future vacation spots. Sometimes the whole fun of a trip is in the planning, anyway. If you're a workaholic, stop trying to be perfect or so productive to the point where you never have any downtime. 

That's easier said than done when you've a very driven person, and it'll take some work to change your perspective, know your boundaries, and accept what you can and can't control.

The feeling of giving a presentation in a state of calm, positivity and goodwill is one of the most unique feelings in the world. There is a bond, a strong connection that forms between you and your audience when this happens. It feels almost collaborative, even though they’re listening and you’re speaking. It’s the way a presentation really ought to be. Try it and you’ll love it.

I welcome your suggestions and additions to this list! What are some things you do to de-stress?

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