The MHM Blog

Mindfulness Exercises for Relaxation and Anxiety Relief

Posted December 30, 2020
Relaxation and Mindfulness Exercises

With everyone having gone through one of the most intense and unpredictable years of their lives, it is no wonder that more people than ever are feeling anxious.

Searching for the right technique to calm yourself when experiencing anxiety and stress can be a lifelong search. One good thing from 2020 is people are more openly talking about how they’re feeling, finding ways to relax, and relieve stress/anxiety.

According to helpguide.org, you need to “activate your body’s natural relaxation response, a state of deep rest that puts the brakes on stress, slows your breathing and heart rate, lowers your blood pressure, and brings your body and mind back into balance.” There are many ways you can do this, and some of the best include breathing, meditation, and yoga.

Breathing Exercises

Many types of breathing exercises will calm your breathing and heart rate, but one of the most popular and effective techniques is deep breathing. So simple with fantastic results, deep breathing focuses “on full, cleansing breaths, deep breathing is a simple yet powerful relaxation technique.

It’s easy to learn, can be practiced almost anywhere, and provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check.” Helpguide.org also teaches you exactly how to practice deep breathing successfully:

  • “Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
  • Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
  • Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
  • Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.
  • If you find it difficult breathing from your abdomen while sitting up, try lying down. Put a small book on your stomach, and breathe so that the book rises as you inhale and falls as you exhale.”

Mindfulness Meditation

The practice of mindfulness meditation is becoming very popular to ease stress and be more present and aware for daily moments (even the bad ones!). New York Times talks about the art of meditation and guides people to “ Remember, the purpose of meditation isn’t to achieve perfect control over your mind or stop thinking altogether. The intention should be to bring a more compassionate, calm, and accepting approach to whatever happens.”

There are tons of different mindful meditation out there; it just depends on what kind you are looking for. Youtube has an entire community of people teaching meditation, whether it’s mindful eating, walking meditation, breathing meditation, or something entirely new.

Yoga

Experts in meditation and relaxation will tell you that hand in hand with being a great core and strength work out; Yoga is great for meditative and relaxing. Yoga aids your body and keeps you calm and healthy in so many ways. Verywellmind.com lists these as yogas most incredible benefits:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Sound sleep
  • Reduced cortisol levels
  • Improvement of many medical conditions
  • Allergy and asthma symptom relief3
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Smoking cessation help4
  • Lower heart rate
  • Spiritual growth
  • Sense of well-being
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Increased strength and flexibility
  • Slowed aging process

Listen to a Podcast or Relaxation Tape

Just like when you were a stressed-out kid studying for school and listening to the best “study” playlist you could find on Spotify and other music streaming apps offer something similar. Listening to affirmations and handling stress can be a comforting guide, especially when alone and needing guidance.

Some podcasts and recordings even come up with new lessons and advice thrown in between the relaxing instruments and classical music. Depending on the relaxation you are looking for, a short podcast could change your daily outlook on life.

Covid has changed the way many people live their lives, and as one of the most anxious years, these sorts of tips and tricks are becoming more useful than ever. Everyone differs whether you have time for a 60-minute meditation a day or 5 minutes to listen to affirmations and a breathing exercise. Check out one of the many ways above that can help you distress and relax in the way that you deserve.

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