7 Things You Can Do Today to Reduce Your Stress, Relax Your Mind and Improve Your Mood

And none of them involve twisting yourself into a pretzel or lying on the floor, unless you feel the need. :) Everything I will mention is something that for most people reading this will be something easy to do. Relieving stress and relaxing your mind should not be burdens or chores or have high barriers of entry for you to overcome. Especially when stress is at an all-time high.

We know more about relaxation today than we did 20 years ago and still stress, depression and anxiety are at high levels. We know significantly more than even five years ago. We have yoga, traditional medicine, meditation, alternative medicine, indigenous practice from various parts of the world, reiki, music therapy and more. But it is not about the information and how much of it that is out there or what time it was presented and how long it has been available. All that maters is the application of the information. Not what you know about stress reduction but how you use it.

The key here is using the information, not just knowing it. To make it even more accessible the focus in this writing is things that you can do not next week, not tomorrow, but things that you can do today to make yourself feel good, feel better and get back your peace of mind.

Take a nap.

Society will busy you to death if you allow it. There is always something to do, places to go, people to see, tasks to accomplish and much more. You are an adult, but when you were young, there was a special time for you. It may not have occurred everyday. And for many of us it was something we did not like, because we thought we would miss out on something during this period. That period was naptime. Naptime allowed you to remain fully charged instead of running until your battery completely drained.

If you think about the average person today, they go until they absolutely can’t go anymore. Completely forgetting the lessons learned from their youth, they allow their physical and mental batteries to drain completely. That is a no-no because the body needs sleep to function properly. Some of the glands do not even function properly unless a person gets adequate sleep.

Proper rest allows your body to repair itself and gives your mind time to relax from the demands you place on it while you are awake. When you do not have the rest you need you can become prone to irritability and allow yourself to be open to greater chances of illness occurring.

To help ensure you get proper rest in the evening avoid music, movies, TV and other media that tend to keep stress levels high before bedtime. To be clear, stress does not mean fear. I am talking about intense, anxiety causing media that provokes you emotionally or invokes high levels of involvement mentally. By avoiding media like this your stress level reduces and your body to prepares for sleep.

Drink some tea.

It’s true. Certain teas contain natural stress relieving herbs that work on your mind and body to help you to relax, unwind and take the edge off. Research has shown that drinkers of teas such as Kava tea, green tea, valerian tea and black tea enjoy lower blood pressure and have lower risk of having a heart attack. That is in part thanks to the blood platelet process that causes blood clotting being reduced. Teas can boost levels of serotonin and dopamine that cause relaxation or reduce cortisol secretion levels, which is a hormone activated by stress.

Rub a Reflex Point.

Have you ever had your toes tickled? Your feet rubbed or your back massaged? If so you may have accidentally received the benefits of reflexology. Reflexology is a type of massage that removes tension and helps relax your muscles, improves lymph circulation and promotes proper blood flow.

Aside from the benefits of muscle relaxation, reflexology also helps to expel toxins from your body. This is due to the nerve stimulation, the lymphatic system and blood flow improvements that reflexology causes. By releasing physical toxins through your muscle tissues, along with stored emotional energy and mental stress your mind and body can begin to heal.

Reflexology works by applying finger and thumb pressure to various points of the body corresponding to internal organs through places called reflex points or reflex areas. The primary points to touch are the hands and the feet, which both have map points to nerve endings connecting to every organ and part of the body. Reflexology benefits your body in a manner similar to acupuncture and acupressure however reflexology requires no needles or special tools.

One great thing about reflexology is that you can do it yourself! A simple reflexology stress exercise that you can to help relieve stress is to take your big toe rub the center of it on the bottom part in a circular motion with your thumb several times. You want to breathe in deeply as your press down with your thumb and exhale as you release the pressure from your toe. Do this on each toe for a minimum of seven breaths starting lightly then applying more pressure after each breath. To finish the exercise do essentially the same technique but this time on both of your thumbs.

Another reflexology exercise you can do is to apply the same technique just mentioned the point where your thumb connects to the rest of your hand near your index finger. Press down in a circular motion inhaling deeply as you press down, exhaling as you release and adding more pressure with each subsequent breath. Just as the previous exercise you allow press a corresponding point on your feet. This point is in a similar location to the reflexology point on the hand but between the big toe and the one next to it. Use the same method mentioned on both feet.

Allowing yourself to feel calm and visualizing the positive results you want as you begin to practice these tips helps tremendously in you receiving the health benefits of reflexology.

Take a bath.

It is so common that you can easily take it for granted, but as simple as this seems, taking a bath can reduce your stress levels enormously. One of the key elements when taking a bath to relieve stress is setting the mood. This way even before you actually dip into the hot and steamy bath you have allowed yourself to become even more relaxed when you finally get into the water. So now the question, “So how do you set the mood?”

Setting the mood means stopping all interruptions, phones, computers, televisions and any other mood breaker you personally have that is not listed. Music players are okay. Just make sure it is relaxing music. iPhones and other devices that play music and do other things are a no-no. The goal is to create the most serene environment possible. After which you may but not necessarily add fragrances and essential oils to your bath or light aromatherapy candles. Although they are not required, the oils and candles greatly enhance the calming effects of the water and synergize with your body to create a relaxed state.

Visualize Your Goals

Life is meant to be enjoyed. Many people know how to make a living, but don’t know how to live. Living for the moment instead of basing happiness on a future that might never arrive is one key to dispel loneliness and relieve stress. It means looking at the bright side of life. It means being thankful for the freedoms enjoyed. Socializing is a great stress reliever.

These seven steps can greatly reduce a good deal of stress and help maintain health and longevity. And in today’s environment with all its negative news, it’s the one individual who can handle stress effectively who will be the envy of those who let stress dictate their level of health.

Listen to Music

If music can help hospital patients in critical care, children with attention disorders, assist in pain management therapy and more, then music can surely work wonders for you. After much research and debate there is no doubt today scientifically that music has calming and beneficial effects on your physical body, your mind and helps with your overall health and well-being.

Music heals you. Would you be surprised if I told you that a few of the songs you love might actually help lower your blood pressure? Other benefits from music also include reduction from the risk of stroke and muscle relaxation. However, be reasonable, the relaxation benefits do not happen with college fight songs or most other upbeat, fast-paced music.

Use your favorite dance tracks to raise your heart rate and motivate you through tasks you normally wouldn’t want to do. When you want to relax it’s time for slow jams. If romance is the cause of stress obviously mood music is not what you want to hear. New Age, classical, jazz, ballads of most any genre, chillout and most any other slow paced music that you enjoy will do the trick.

Expect to start breathing deeply because relaxing music helps produce serotonin, reduces your heart rate, adrenalin levels, can balance your left and right brain hemispheres and depending on the music can stimulate Alpha and Theta brainwaves. These brainwaves stimulate a daydream state, feelings of deep meditation, peace and calm.

(In case you’re wonder how that usually starts with music going slower than 85 beats per minute!)

Make yourself different music playlists to adjust your mood at different times of the day. Play your favorite songs when you first wake up, before your morning commute if you have one, when you are cooking, cleaning up or any other task where you can enjoy music. Personally I have found that playing music while cooking really makes time fly. As they say time flies when you’re having fun. :)

Go Outside and Play

Today, modern societies have fewer trees, forests and wide-open meadows than they did in the past and are loaded with more towering concrete buildings, residential developments and massive parking lots. However, that does not mean that you do not have access nature.

Something simple as going outside for a breath of fresh air can do wonders for stress relief. Provided you are not in the middle of commuter traffic, the wind brushing up against your face and deeps breaths of fresh air can bring a state of calm and peace. If it is later in the day, you can watch the majesty of the sunset or in the evening take in the wonder of the stars above and think of all the limitless possibilities that are out there.

Weather and other conditions permitting you can take a walk to relax. Not only will the walking provide you a therapeutic outlet for mental stress, walking also is a great exercise that relieves muscle tension and provides you with other health benefits.

And none of them involve twisting yourself into a pretzel or lying on the floor, unless you feel the need. Everything I will mention is something that for most people reading this will be something easy to do. Relieving stress and relaxing your mind should not be burdens or chores or have high barriers of…

  • Mastering Meal Prep: Time-Saving Tips for the Busy Woman

  • Macros Made Easy: A Guide to Balanced Nutrition

  • Quick Fitness: 20-Minute Home Workout Solutions for the Busy Bee