Not Your Average Ways to Relax
Meditation is recognized worldwide as an effective way to relax, reduce stress, counter anxiety, and restore inner peace. Meditation is easy to learn, costs nothing, requires no special equipment, and you can do it almost anywhere: walking down the street, waiting in line at the bank, even sitting in a difficult meeting. During meditation you simply focus your attention and clear your mind of the jumbled thoughts that may be creating anxiety and causing stress.
Play Like a 5-year-old
Go to the park and get dirty. Swing on the swings, climb on the monkey bars, and play in the sandbox. Reconnecting with the child you were will help you deal more easily with the pressures you're facing as an adult. If possible, take along an actual child or maybe a friend. Having a companion on your park adventure may help you get into the spirit of play more easily, and may deflect some of the odd looks you might get otherwise.
Yoga was developed in India about 5,000 years ago. Today, it is practiced by millions of people all over the world. The benefits of yoga include increased flexibility and strength as well as significant stress reduction, which you can start to feel almost immediately. People sometimes think that they can't practice yoga unless they can stretch like a gymnast, but the truth is you're never too old or out of shape to benefit from yoga.
Go For a Walk
"All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking." So said German author and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, but there is more to walking than inspiration. Walking is one of the best, easiest and least expensive forms of exercise. And whether you're power walking or just strolling along, walking is also a great way to reduce stress.
Take a Hot Bath
Light a few candles, put on some soft music, and drift into a state of complete relaxation. Hot water provides natural healing. Soaking in a hot bath can lower your blood pressure, soothe sore muscles, and relieve tension. And it feels great.
Another good way to relieve stress is to lose yourself in an act of creation. Draw or paint a picture, make a collage, or mold some clay. Use whatever art supplies you have on hand. It doesn't have to be prize-winning quality. Just turn off your inner critic and let your creativity flow.
Practice Tai Chi
Originally developed in ancient China for self-defense, tai chi has evolved over the centuries into a graceful form of exercise that relieves stress and improves health. Tai chi is sometimes called "meditation in motion" because it promotes serenity, improves flexibility and strength, and reduces stress by using gentle and continuous movement to connect mind and body. In tai chi, your body remains in constant motion as each pose flows into the next without pause.
Connect to Nature
Go for a hike in the woods, look at the night sky, or just drop by a local nursery to check out the colorful plants and smell the rich soil. When you're feeling stressed, reconnecting with nature can calm your nerves and help you feel centered again.
Read For Pleasure
When was the last time you read something that unrelated to your work or another obligation? Whether you prefer fiction, history or science doesn't matter. It's impossible to remain tense and overstressed when you're reading something you really enjoy. So find a book you can lose yourself in and escape.