2023 has been a stressful year for the entire world. Here are 7 expert tips which you can easily incorporate in your daily routine in 2024 for a positive impact on your overall well-being.
In this digital world, our minds contend with an incessant barrage of thoughts and information, primarily fuelled by social media and the perpetual hustle and bustle of our surroundings.
Oftentimes, this can often overwhelm our brain’s capacity to process emotions and thoughts effectively. In order to stay calm, we can relax the mind and the body through a range of activities.
We checked with leading health and fitness experts to learn more about the most simple ways to relax the mind. Here’s their best advice:
Yoga is a mind-body practice that merges physical postures with breathing exercises and meditation. Practising Yoga regularly can be a great way to calm your mind.
“I have found Yoga to be one of the most effective ways to quiet the mind. Through asanas, meditation and breathwork, this ancient practice allows the mind to unwind and find inner peace amidst life’s chaos. Its holistic approach soothes both body and soul, making it an invaluable practice in cultivating relaxation,” says Yoga expert Shruti Shah.
“In this competitive era, life has become fast-paced, making it difficult to stay calm and relaxed. Practising Yoga is the best way to overcome these challenges. Yoga is a systematic Indian practice of spiritual development that dates back thousands of years. Since Yoga covers meditation, physical exercise, and breath control practices, it helps boost vitality. Yoga also helps increase blood flow, haemoglobin and red blood cell production, boosting oxygen transport to various parts of the body for healthy functioning,” says fitness expert Aman Puri.
All types of meditation help focus your attention on the present moment, which can help to lessen stress, anxiety, and boost your overall well-being.
“Meditation is a good technique to revitalise the mind. It enhances mind control, healing, and calmness. Mindful meditation helps reduce blood cortisol levels (stress hormone) in the body, lowering stress and inflammation,” adds Puri.
Participating in creative activities, such as writing or drawing, is an excellent way to unwind and express yourself.
“Try to set aside a few minutes to write. Journaling helps you slow down and gives you a private space to express your thoughts, emotions, and vision. It helps you gain clarity and connect with yourself, which is a good way to relieve stress and calm your mind,” remarks nutritionist Lovneet Bhullar Batra.
Strolling in nature
Studies show that being in nature has a relaxing effect on the mind and body.
“Taking deliberate breaks becomes an imperative strategy for preserving mental and emotional well-being and averting the potential consequences of nervous breakdowns. This involves seeking refuge in spaces devoid of visual and auditory stimulation, ideally in a cool and tranquil environment. The deliberate disconnection from mobile devices and laptops facilitates a mental reset, allowing the mind to recalibrate away from the demands of the digital world. Signs of mental exhaustion are usually recognized by heightened irritation or emotional fragility. These signals are warning indicators of mental and physical distress. In such instances, finding solace in nature, perhaps through a leisurely stroll, emerges as an immensely therapeutic practice,” says pediatrician Dr Nihar Parekh.
Consuming gut-friendly foods
Your gut is a part of the body’s nervous system. Any disruptions in the mind will cause gut issues and vice versa.
“When going through a stressful period, managing your gut can actually work like magic. Eating rice, gourds and good fats such as sesame seeds relaxes your gut, thereby relaxing your mind. You can make a pulao with bottle gourd and garnish with fresh coriander and sesame seeds. You could also eat pumpkin coconut curry with rice. You will immediately find yourself lighter and calmer,” says nutritionist Khushboo Jain Tibrewala.
Spending time with family
Finally, spending time with people you love can help to lessen stress and boost your mood. Therefore, it’s important to make time for family and friends, even if it is just for a short while.
Tip to relax quickly in a high-stress situation:
If you find yourself in a high-stress situation, practise mindful breathing. Taking slow, deep breaths and paying attention to your breath moving in and out of your body can help to silence your thoughts and bring you into the present moment.
“Engaging in deep breathing by inhaling through the nostril and exhaling through the mouth in sets of 6-8 repetitions, four to five times a day, serves as a potent antidote to relax the body and mind. This mindful breathing ritual provides mental and physical relief, enhances clarity of thought, sharpens focus, and facilitates sound decision-making. Additionally, the intentional focus on breath enhances posture, fostering better spinal alignment. This mindful breathing technique cultivates a profound mind-body connection, promoting a state of tranquility and heightened awareness in one’s daily life,” concludes Kavita Prakash, fitness expert and Pilates trainer.