It can be difficult to figure out how to feel more relaxed in your everyday life. But you don’t have to worry – here are 6 ways you can begin feeling more relaxed in your everyday life.
1. Be Kinder to Yourself
It can be easy to get down on ourselves, especially when we don’t feel like we are moving forward – or when we reflect on something from the past that didn’t go the way we hoped.
But people who can be kind to themselves are more likely to have a healthy relationship with self-care. Kindness is about showing ourselves the same compassion, respect, and acceptance that we would show others.
It takes practice. If you find it easy to be compassionate towards others but not yourself – it’s not that you don’t know how to be compassionate, it’s probably that you need to discover why you have set the expectations for yourself so much higher. And is often where self reflection, or even therapy, can be really helpful.
The simplest way to start being kinder is to practice self-compassion.
Self-compassion isn’t about being hard on yourself or feeling sorry for yourself when things go wrong – it’s about treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would treat a friend, child, or partner who was struggling in the same way.
One really helpful approach is to ask yourself, what would a really kind and considerate friend/teacher/therapist say to you at this moment?
2. Give yourself permission
Everyone is going to have a different approach to the task of feeling more relaxed, but one of the ways can be to think about giving yourself permission. It’s about finding what works for you and taking permission from yourself or others to make it happen. Remind yourself that you are allowed to have bad days. You’re allowed to feel overwhelmed. You’re allowed to make mistakes. And, you’re allowed to say “no”.
It’s important to give yourself permission for saying no. Sometimes, even though we might want to make a change, we’re afraid that by not saying yes, people will think that we’re not committed or that we can’t do it. And so, we find ways to please someone else at the cost of our own wellbeing.
It’s true that saying “no” too often can lead to feeling disconnected from others, and new opportunities. But if you find it difficult to decline an offer or a suggestion – saying no might be a powerful tool to help you feel more relaxed.
By finding what works for you, you might notice that giving yourself ‘permission’ frees you to make choices that previously never felt available. It’s also a way of forgiving yourself for things, when it might not be possible to get the same response from others.
3. Take care of your ‘basic’ needs
Years ago, an American psychologist called Abraham Maslow published a hierarchy of needs. He suggested that things like food, air, water, sleep, clothes, shelter make up the basis of our physiological needs.
To take care of yourself and to feel more relaxed in general, it can be so important to take care of the basics. Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and staying hydrated are all essential for a healthy lifestyle.
This can be easier said than done – and often people find topics such as diet and sleep being serious areas for concern. However, if you are noticing that you are troubled by some of these aspects, it might be worth talking to a professional in that specific domain to see if there is help available.
Relaxation isn’t about letting everything go – your body still needs some care and attention, right? So thinking about whether your basic needs have been met can be a helpful action to take immediately.
4. Set boundaries and priorities
Boundaries are a common topic for many of my clients. Giving yourself permission to set boundaries can be incredibly difficult if throughout much of your life others have set those boundaries for you.
In setting boundaries, people often believe that they are being self-centred, or putting themselves above others. Yet, being able to sustain healthy boundaries with the people, and things, in our life can be a very successful approach to feeling more relaxed.
I understand that this is a challenging concept because people have thoroughly unique lives. Some people are responsible for taking care of their kids, others might have responsibilities for considerable teams at work, whilst others might be struggling to juggle multiple demands to remain housed or receiving sufficient income. However, you are allowed to give yourself time to reflect on what your priories are and how you would like to make use of your time.
If you want to get your tasks done on time and want to be able to spend more time with your family, you should set boundaries for work tasks and personal life tasks. If you have a hard time prioritizing between which task needs to be done first, try making lists with either two columns- one for work tasks and the other for personal life tasks- or make a matrix with rows representing each task and columns which represent whether they need to be accomplished today/tomorrow/in the future.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a practice of mind-body awareness that can help cultivate a sense of deep inner peace – the problem that many people find is that it seems so hard to do!
The commercialization of meditation and mindfulness means that it’s hard to escape it being touted as ‘the’ answer to a relaxed and more meaningful life. Yet, its simplicity, to focus on the present moment, is an incredibly powerful way of contemplating bringing a greater sense of calm into your life.
It has both a long history and a growing body of scientific research showing it can have significant health benefits, from stress reduction to improved cognitive function.
A key concept about mindfulness is that we focus on living in the present moment, instead of worrying about what happened in the past or what might happen in the future.
This is easier said than done. Our brains are incredible and given the opportunity they will gladly search through events in the past or predict moments in the future because, well, that’s what brains do.
We’re never going to ‘stop’ all this activity, but through mindful attention we can begin to become more aware of the moments when it could be getting in the way of feeling more relaxed.
Mindfulness meditation techniques are one way people can learn to relax. There are many types of meditation techniques, but they all have some common features: focusing on your breath, repeating a word or phrase, and being aware of your thoughts as they arise without judging them or attempting to control them.
In addition, tools, such as the feelings wheel, can help you focus on your present-moment experiences by bringing awareness to your feelings and emotions.
6. Take Care of Your Senses
If you’re exposing your senses to unwelcome experiences, it can feel difficult to relax.
Take your hearing for example. How often do you allow yourself to listen to soothing, calming music? If you’ve noticed that you’ve been experiencing a lot of unwelcome loud noise, do you try to give yourself an opportunity to seek some peace?
Check in with these different senses from time to time and consider whether they’re receiving the most relaxing inputs immediately.
In conclusion, feeling more relaxed in our everyday life is possible. We can do this by taking care of ourselves by doing something like mindful awareness, or saying ‘no’ to others.
By following these simple steps, you too may feel more relaxed in your everyday life. However, if you are still struggling and think that professional support would be helpful for you, don’t hesitate to contact me.