When you come back home from a tiring day at work, it’s not just your body that needs the comfort of a soft couch; your mind needs its own space to relax and unwind, too. And in order to do so you have to free yourself from the day’s activity. Dr Julie Gurner, advisor and culture consultant, says that it can be very difficult to “turn off” your brain from continuing to replay the day’s events or ruminate over future ones. To do so, you will need a little help.
Try these simple tips to help your mind relax.
1. Relaxing Environmental Sounds
Dr Gurner shares one simple principle that she finds very helpful. All you have to do is think about the environment that truly relaxes you, and find a way to recreate it. For instance, the sounds of lapping waves can instantly relax some people. For others, it could be forest sounds like that of chirping birds of a river stream. You can look up a few soothing tracks on YouTube or buy a relaxing sound machine. Once you find out what works for you, get into a relaxing position, plug in your headphones and listen to it for 10-15 minutes. This should calm your mind instantly.
2. Mindful Meditation
Kelly Darrow, a licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor, vouches for mindful meditation as a helpful means to clear the clutter from your mind. Sit in a quiet area and focus on your breathing. Each time you realize your mind veers away to some other thought, label the thought. For instance, if it is something about work, label the thought work. If you place a label to something, it makes it easier to dismiss. So when a work-related thought comes up, focus on your breathing and allow yourself to quickly dismiss it without really going into the details of the existing thought. This practice will also teach you to dismiss unpleasant thoughts and, if you train long enough, you will find it much easier to do it all the time.
3. Practice Gratitude
Shari J Czar, a yoga & meditation instructor and relaxation coach, suggests practicing gratitude to help you unwind at the end of the day. People who take the time to reflect on things and be happy about the good stuff sleep better. As you make your way home, keep the radio and cell phone turned off. Use this time to focus on what you are grateful for in your day and life. If you are riding in the car with someone else, share your list out loud. If you’ve had a tough day, find something in what happened that you can turn into a positive. This is also a great exercise to do with others at the dinner table. Practicing your gratitude as you transition from one activity to another can help set a positive tone for the next step in your day. This practice has shown that it can improve happiness and reduce stress.