Can't Relax? 6 Easy & Effective Chill-Out Techniques from Pros

Can't Relax? 6 Easy & Effective Chill-Out Techniques from Pros

Experts share the best, easiest ways to wind down when you need to decompress.


By: Maressa Brown

Whether you’re hoping to wind down after a long day at work or just sneak in a few quick stretches while your toddler is down for a nap, pinpointing the best way to relax can be stressful in itself! From meditation to yoga, it’s hard to know what to try first – not to mention what’s actually effective and easy? Here, 6 quickie chill-out methods from relaxation pros.

1. Try “step breathing”
: Yoga instructor Celia Hirsch from SPACE in Bedford, NY advises trying this quick yoga breathing exercise whenever you need to slow down. Sit in a comfortable position on the floor with your back supported or in a chair with your eyes closed then just follow your breath. Take a deep inhale, hold for a second, and then, let your exhale out in 3 steps. Begin to exhale, then stop, then exhale, then stop and then finally complete the exhale. Repeat by inhaling, exhaling completely, hold for a second, and inhale in 3 steps. “Learning to override your thoughts in order to concentrate on the breathing, the increased oxygen that enters your body and just sitting with yourself results in slowing done the pace that exacerbates stress,” Hirsch notes.

2. Do a muscle relaxation exercise. Tension can develop over time, or after one especially tough day, you might feel like your neck is as stiff as a board. Winding down and loosening up can be as simple as doing a muscle relaxation exercise. Clinical hypnotherapist Colin Christopher, author of Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions that Will Make or Break You advises, “Start from the feet and work your way to your head. Tighten the muscles for a few seconds in each part of the body, then release and feel the tension disappear.”

3. Choose your own personal mantra. Mandy Ingber, celebrity yoga instructor and wellness expert whose star clients include Jennifer Aniston and Kate Beckinsale, recommends coming up with simple one-word mantra to repeat either when you’re meditating or throughout every day life to boost optimism and center yourself. “Choose something positive that personally resonates with you and that makes you feel good,” she says. “I’ll say ‘yes’ -- love the word ‘yes.’ I say ‘yes’ to my sadness, ‘yes’ to my heart, ‘yes’ to my day, ‘yes’ to my life. I feel good when I say it!”

4. Get a whiff of an essential oil. Whether you want to promote restful slumber or to soothe frazzled nerves in the middle of the day, a sweet citrus oil from Italy (like Floracopeia Bergamot Essential Oil, $20, ½ fl. oz., Floracopeia.com) may be your best bet, notes Leslie Cohen, aromatherapist and owner of The Blissful Heart Wellness Collective in New Jersey. “Bergamot is great for sleep issues,” she explains. “You can put a drop or two on your pillow, or mix a few drops with distilled water and put in a clean, glass spray bottle to mist over your pillows and sheets.”

5. Consider a supplement. It’s smart for everyone to have a brief discussion with their health care provider about their vitamin and nutrient levels, particularly because 80 percent of the U.S. is suffering from a deficiency of magnesium, which is known as the “anti-stress” mineral, notes Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., author of The Magnesium Miracle. If you do appear to be deficient, getting your levels up with a daily supplement could offer a plethora of relaxation benefits. “Magnesium relaxes head and neck muscle tension that contributes to tension headaches,” she explains. “It’s also known to alleviate stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.”

6. Meditate. It’s easier than it sounds -- really! Plus, its boasts a bevy of benefits – from reducing emotional distress and anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate to decreasing respiratory rate to increasing blood flow and slowing the heart rate, notes holistic health coach Jeanne Ricks, C.H.C., author of The Biology of Beating Stress. In her book, she advises, “Imagine a globe of brilliant diamond-like white light just a foot above your head and feel it radiating down through every aspect of your being and surrounding you with healing and peace. Some find focusing on a sense of gratitude brings feelings of amazing contentment and joy. … This is an instant way to slow down your life for just a few minutes and bring back a little sanity.”

Which of these tips appeals to you most?

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Maressa Brown is a senior staff writer for The Stir. She loves writing about and reading up on health/fitness, relationships, and pop culture – preferably on a beach somewhere.

Image ©iStock.com/PeopleImages

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I have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder. I have a psych doctor and I also go to counseling weekly. However, I am on numerous medications and have been hospitalized several times to the extent of ECT treatments. My depression seems to be under control but my anxiety is through the roof. The physical and mental effects it's having on my body is unbearable and I'm feeling at a loss and needing better answers. Help???

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Carcar

Carcar

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I have Fibromyalgia, major anxiety & major depression. I'm working with my Psych Dr on getting my meds switched around and not really noticing a difference! It's getting more stressful as the days go by, what do you suggest? I'm on a limited income so a lot of these things aren't covered under insurance and I never have the energy or get up and go to do these on my own :( Please point me in the right direction! Thank you in advance!!!

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BABY6901

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I am just a mess. I cant even focus long enough to meditate. I already go to therapy and I take medication, but nothing seems to work for me . got any suggestions?

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