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How to Relax

relaxI’ve been feeling it lately. I’m burdened by the thoughts of things I have to do, obstacles I have to overcome and goals I have to achieve. My mom says I need to relax but I’m having a hard time doing it. Things are happening and they’re happening fast and I don’t want to drown.

As we speak I have several major commitments hanging over my head that are causing my brain to go haywire and I’m trying to deal with all of it and get it all done simply for the fact that the idea of these commitments is more stressful to me than actually doing the work.

Because of this I figured I should sit down and write about how to relax. This article is as much for me as it for the PsychCentral readers because if I know one thing, it’s that we could all stand to relax just a little bit.

So what helps us relax?

For me, soft music is major. As I type this I’m listening to some of my favorite music and just that is already having a profound effect. The type of music is key too. Some music can amp you up and get you antsy and anxious and other music can serve as a cool calm pool into which you can wash off your worries. If the point is to relax, try finding the music that suits that feeling. For me it’s acoustic guitar and singer songwriter type stuff. It may be different for you as I imagine it is for everyone. That’s the great thing about music though, there’s assuredly something to fit every mood, every personality and every state of being.

Another tactic to use for relaxing is taking a hot shower or bath. There’s something about the water pouring over you that seems to ease tension and allow you to let go of some of the more stressful aspects of the day. I like to shower at night, especially for that reason. There’s also something transformative about the feeling of being clean that can help you relax.

Another tactic that I haven’t used in a while simply because of the inclement weather is taking a walk. If you have a path somewhere in your neighborhood that you haven’t yet explored take an hour or two to see where it leads. Light exercise like that can do wonders for clearing out the cobwebs in your head. It also helps to get the blood flowing a little and dare I say it, to wear yourself out. Feeling jumpy and antsy can get to be quite uncomfortable and expelling some of that excess energy is a great way to unwind.

My default and the one I go to most is probably laying on the couch. Yeah it’s lazy but that’s the point. Just taking time to unwind like that, maybe with a book or a good movie on tv can take you out of the anxieties that build up during the day.

If all else fails, we can always rely on sleep. Getting a good sleep is essential and there are several things you can do to ensure that you’ll get the most out of it. These include things like not drinking any liquid for an hour or two before bed to going to sleep at the right time. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t struggle with sleep from time to time but I do what I can to make the most of it and to get that much needed rest, which is so important when you feel like the world is starting to cave in around you.

In summation, music is good, showers are good, walks are good and sleep is good. I think tonight I’m going to try to heed my own advice and use most, if not all of these tactics to calm myself down.

It’s a worth a shot. Sometimes we just have to be reminded of the things that can melt the world away if only for just a little while.

How to Relax

Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2015). How to Relax. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 26 Apr 2015
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