Relaxing is easier said than done—with so many things to worry about and take care of in your professional and personal life, it can feel difficult (if not impossible) to achieve a relaxed state so you can live your very best life. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to train your brain to be more relaxed so you can the ability to achieve more, have better relationships, and nip stress in the bud before it drags you down. In this blog, the New York brain training experts at Brainnasium will take a look at how you can change your brain for better relaxation. Relax—all of the tips are relatively easy to take on and add to your already busy life!
Here at Brainnasium, we’re passionate about training your brain—and believe it or not, meditation is a great form of brain training in itself! Practicing meditation regularly (or at all) might be difficult for some folks—after all, it’s difficult for some people to sit still and clear their brain of stray thoughts and negative energy. But the effects of meditation are so positive, they can change your brain—literally!
We’ll give you the abridged version here: meditation has been shown to reduce activity in the brain’s “Me Center” (known as the Default Mode Network which is responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts), it has similar effects as antidepressants in treating depression and anxiety, it can increase cortical thickness of the hippocampus, which strengthens your learning and memory skills, and it can decrease the volume of cells in the amygdala, the area of the brain responsible for stress, anxiety, and depression.
Even 10 minutes of daily meditation can have positive effects on the brain and your relaxation, and it becomes easier with time. Try it out and experience the brain changes yourself!
Get some exercise.
There’s nothing that melts stress away like some good old exercise. While people will talk endlessly about the “runner’s high,” you don’t have to be a runner to feel the positive and borderline euphoric effects of exercise. Some yoga, lifting, or hiking can also give the body a great workout, alleviate stress, and bring about feelings relaxation and peacefulness.
We’d recommend getting some exercise in first thing in the morning for the best possible effects—a morning jog or lift can boost your energy and mood for the entire day, helping you take care of business and avoid situations that would normally stress you out and kill your state of relaxation.
Practice good sleep habits.
You’ll never be able to relax if you don’t get high quality sleep—it’s what keeps your mind and body refreshed, it boosts cognition and memory, and it helps you avoid spikes is stress levels throughout the day. Naturally, practicing good sleep habits is crucial for a calm and relaxed state—but it’s not just about how much sleep you get. Your quality and consistency of sleep, as well as the habits you have before you go to sleep will all determine how effective your sleep will be.
To achieve better sleep and a more relaxed state, start with your pre-sleep habits. Keeping all of your lights on full blast up until you go to sleep tells your mind to stay awake, so opt for some warmer, less intense lighting a few hours before bed so you can unwind. Staying away from your smartphone, computer, tablet, or any other screen that emits “blue lights” is another way to improve your sleep—these lights trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime outside even when it’s not, which can disrupt your sleep patterns and make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Finally, give yourself an hour or so to unwind before you’re ready to go to sleep by reading, meditating, or taking a shower so your mind is in the mood to fall asleep.
In terms of your sleeping environment, make sure you keep things cool and dark. A temperature between 65 and 68 degrees is ideal for great sleep, as your body needs to lower its internal temperature to initiate sleep processes. A dark room is also important—having light from streetlights or other rooms pouring into your sleeping space will make it harder to fall asleep, and it could prevent your brain from entering a deep sleep state.
Finally, let’s answer the ultimate sleep question: how many hours of sleep should you get every night. Multiple scientific studies and reports would give you multiple answers, and ultimately, it’s all about how you feel when you wake up in the morning. Some people are just fine with six hours, while others need eight or nine to feel refreshed. Find an amount of sleep that works for you, and stick to it.
More importantly, you should focus on when you sleep instead of how much you sleep. Most sleep scientists can agree on one thing: the key to great sleep is to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every single day, no matter if it’s a weekday or a weekend. With this strategy, your body will be able to establish a solid sleep pattern, which will make it much easier to fall asleep, wake up, and feel refreshed.
Take care of stress.
Maybe your job is destroying your soul, or maybe you have 8000 tiny tasks that need to be tackled in your life. Whatever the case, situational stress can build up and have a negative impact on your life if you don’t deal with it in a timely manner.
You’re never going to be relaxed if you have things stressing you out and weighing you down—that’s why you need to take care of these things as quickly as possible. Quit the job you hate, get your bills paid and your lawn mowed, confront and deal with personal conflicts—whatever it is that needs to get done, get it done so you can move on and have a relaxing and stress-free life.
New York Brain Training by Brainnasium
Sometimes, your brain needs a little extra help to achieve a stress-free and relaxed state—and that’s where Brainnasium can help. Our state-of-the-art cognitive brain training helps you become less stressed, more focused, and more emotionally balanced so you can bring excellence to your life and use your brain to its full potential. Get started with Brainnasium today!