“Okay now, Relax. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Did I lock the door? Okay, I did. It’s fine. Breathe in. Breathe out. Bre- WAIT! I have a Bio test on Tuesday.” And then the thoughts come flooding in. I think about how I am going to fail this test, which will result in me failing the class, and then this translates to me not graduating. Well… Now I’m done. No more relaxing for me. This is what happens every time I try to meditate. I can’t stop thinking and can’t get to the “present mindfulness” everyone is always going on about.
Getting to the point of true relaxation can be difficult when we are enclosed by anxiety and stress in our world. To find yourself in a stint of no stress can feel almost impossible to obtain. But there are a few key tricks I have found, at the very least, help shave some of my unwanted stress off.
1. The Infamous Bubble Bath
It sounds beyond obvious but there is a reason behind that… BECAUSE IT TRULY WORKS! The method I have found the most relaxing is bringing a low light into the bathroom (I use a String of Christmas lights) in order to give the room a calming tone. Next bring in your laptop or phone, hop on YouTube, and search something as simple as relaxing music. Make sure you play this at a loud enough volume to drown out other noise but low enough so it is not all you can focus on.
And then… add the bubbles! Yas, Queen! My favorite bubbles are the ones with essential oils in them because they add to the stress relief! Sometimes, if I’m feeling into it, I will add a little adult beverage to truly top it off. But, you have to customize it for what works best for you! Play around with it until you find the perfect environment for optimal tranquility.
2. The “Don’t Push Me Cuz I’m Close to the Edge” Breathing Exercise
This isn’t mindful breathing in order to obtain a state of higher being. It’s to calm you down because you are freaking out and need to chill for a second. I have to admit, I am an anxious person in general but this is really, really helpful.
MAJOR KEY ALERT. All you have to do is raise your arms above your head like you’re doing a single, slow-motion jumping jack as you gradually inhale. Then, bring them back down to your sides as you exhale. Repeat until you’ve cooled off. It’s so simple it just may work (but I know it does because I do it).
3. The “Pass the Buck” Guided Tour
This one is really helpful for people who just can’t get into true meditation. Listen to a podcast or something of the guided meditation variety.
There are many out there, of course, but the one I really have great luck with is “Waking Up with San Harris.” He tells you everything from how to position yourself to feeling the pressure of your feet. You could find yourself in a meditative state, but it also works really well for sheer relaxation. I think this approach works best for me because I have to focus more on what the coach is saying and don’t have the chance to let my thoughts run rampant.
I want to be clear these are things that work for ME, but you have to test the waters and tailor it to your preferences until you find your own comfort level. The biggest takeaway is to make time to relax and let go of all of the things that chip away at us throughout our days in this busy, busy world. And ALWAYS remember to keep a planner so you don’t miss your Bio test!
Written By: Morgan Ryan