7 Simple Steps to Wind Down and Relax

Aura Health Team
Written by
Aura Health Team
Aura Health is a community of hundreds of top coaches, therapists, and storytellers worldwide. We are here to provide the world’s most extensive, personalized collection of mental wellness content & services.
Aura Health Team
Written by
Aura Health Team
Aura Health is a community of hundreds of top coaches, therapists, and storytellers worldwide. We are here to provide the world’s most extensive, personalized collection of mental wellness content & services.
7 Simple Steps to Wind Down and Relax7 Simple Steps to Wind Down and Relax

Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? It's time to unwind and relax. Taking care of your mental well-being is just as important as taking care of your physical health. In this article, we will explore seven simple steps to help you wind down and find peace in this fast-paced world.

Understanding the Importance of Relaxation

Before we dive into the steps, let's explore why relaxation is essential. The hustle and bustle of everyday life can take a toll on your mind and body. Stress can lead to various health issues such as anxiety, insomnia, and even heart disease. That's why it's crucial to find ways to relax and recharge.

But what exactly happens to our bodies when we are stressed? When we experience stress, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol. This hormone prepares us for a "fight or flight" response, increasing our heart rate, blood pressure, and energy levels. While this response can be helpful in dangerous situations, prolonged exposure to stress can have detrimental effects on our health.

Elevated cortisol levels over an extended period can wreak havoc on our immune system, making us more susceptible to illnesses. It can also disrupt our sleep patterns, leading to insomnia and fatigue. Additionally, chronic stress can contribute to the development of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.

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The Science Behind Stress and Relaxation

To truly appreciate the benefits of relaxation, we need to understand the science behind it. When we relax, our bodies undergo a series of physiological changes that counteract the effects of stress. One of the key mechanisms behind relaxation is the release of endorphins, often referred to as the "feel-good" hormones.

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that interact with receptors in our brain, reducing our perception of pain and promoting a sense of well-being. They not only improve our mood but also help to alleviate stress and anxiety. When we engage in activities that promote relaxation, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or spending time in nature, our bodies release these endorphins, providing a natural boost to our mental and emotional state.

Moreover, relaxation techniques have been shown to have a positive impact on our physical health as well. They can lower blood pressure, reduce muscle tension, and improve digestion. By activating the relaxation response, we give our bodies a chance to repair and rejuvenate, promoting overall well-being.

Why Your Body Needs Time to Unwind

Our bodies are not designed to be in a constant state of stress. Taking time to unwind allows our nervous system to switch from the "fight or flight" response to the relaxation response. When we relax, our heart rate slows down, our breathing becomes deeper and slower, and our muscles relax.

These physiological changes not only promote a sense of calm but also have a profound impact on our overall health. Slowing down our heart rate and reducing blood pressure can help protect our cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Deepening our breaths and relaxing our muscles can alleviate tension and pain, improving our physical comfort.

Furthermore, relaxation provides an opportunity for our minds to rest and recharge. It allows us to step away from the constant demands and pressures of life, giving our brains a chance to recover. This mental break can enhance our cognitive function, improve our focus and productivity, and boost our creativity.

In a world that often glorifies busyness and productivity, it's important to remember that relaxation is not a luxury but a necessity. By prioritizing relaxation in our lives, we can protect our physical and mental well-being, leading to a happier and healthier life.

Step 1: Create a Relaxing Environment

A calm and peaceful environment can do wonders for your relaxation journey. It sets the stage for a truly rejuvenating experience.

Choosing the Right Space

Start by selecting a space where you can truly relax and disconnect from the outside world. It could be a cozy corner in your living room, a soothing bedroom, or even a quiet spot in your backyard. The key is to choose an area that gives you a sense of tranquility.

Imagine a corner of your living room where you can sink into a plush armchair, surrounded by soft pillows and a warm blanket. The gentle glow of a Himalayan salt lamp casts a soft, amber light, creating a serene ambiance. As you settle into your chosen space, you can feel the weight of the day slowly lifting off your shoulders.

Elements of a Calm Atmosphere

Now that you have chosen your space, it's time to enhance the atmosphere with elements that promote relaxation and peace.

  • Soft lighting: Dim the lights or use candles to create a soothing ambiance. The flickering flames dance gracefully, casting a mesmerizing glow that instantly calms your mind.
  • Pleasant scents: Consider using essential oils or scented candles to enhance relaxation. The subtle aroma of lavender fills the air, enveloping you in its calming embrace. The scent transports you to a tranquil garden, where worries and stress melt away.
  • Comfortable seating: Choose a chair or cushion that allows you to sit comfortably for an extended period. Sink into a plush, oversized bean bag chair, enveloped in its cozy embrace. The soft fabric molds to your body, providing the perfect support for your relaxation journey.
  • Soothing sounds: Play gentle music or nature sounds to further enhance the calm atmosphere. The melodic tunes of a classical piano piece fill the air, creating a soothing backdrop for your thoughts to wander. The delicate notes carry you away to a place of serenity and inner peace.

With these elements in place, your chosen space transforms into a sanctuary of tranquility. Every detail has been carefully curated to create an environment that nurtures your well-being and encourages deep relaxation.

Step 2: Practice Mindful Breathing

Deep breathing is a powerful tool to help you relax and find inner peace.

When it comes to managing stress and finding inner calm, one of the most effective techniques is mindful breathing. In our fast-paced lives, it's easy to forget the importance of taking a moment to focus on our breath. However, by incorporating mindful breathing into our daily routine, we can tap into its incredible power to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

The Power of Breath Control

When we are stressed, our breath becomes shallow and rapid. This is a natural response to the body's fight-or-flight mechanism, which prepares us to face perceived threats. However, prolonged periods of stress can leave us feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. By practicing mindful breathing, we can activate the body's relaxation response, counteracting the effects of stress.

Deep breaths promote oxygen flow throughout the body, which has a calming effect on the nervous system. As we take slow, deliberate breaths, our heart rate slows down, and our muscles begin to relax. This release of tension not only helps us feel more at ease but also enhances our overall well-being.

Techniques for Mindful Breathing

There are various techniques you can explore to incorporate mindful breathing into your relaxation routine. One simple and effective technique is diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing. This technique involves focusing on the movement of your diaphragm, a muscle located below your lungs.

To practice diaphragmatic breathing, find a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. As you inhale deeply through your nose, allow your belly to expand, feeling it rise against your hand. Then, exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling the tension release with each breath.

Another technique you can try is box breathing. This technique involves inhaling, holding your breath, exhaling, and then holding your breath again, all for equal counts of time. By following this pattern, you create a sense of rhythm and balance in your breath, which can have a calming effect on your mind and body.

Remember, the key to successful mindful breathing is to focus your attention solely on your breath. As thoughts or distractions arise, gently bring your attention back to your breath, without judgment or frustration. With regular practice, mindful breathing can become a valuable tool in your stress management toolkit.

Step 3: Engage in Gentle Movement

Moving your body in a gentle and mindful way can help release physical and mental tension.

Yoga and Stretching for Relaxation

Yoga is an excellent practice for relaxation. Its combination of gentle movements, stretching, and breath control can help calm the mind and release tension from the body. If yoga isn't your cup of tea, you can also explore gentle stretching exercises, such as neck rolls or shoulder stretches.

The Benefits of Slow, Deliberate Movement

Taking the time to engage in slow and deliberate movement allows you to focus on your body and let go of any distractions. It helps you become present in the moment and creates a sense of mindfulness.

Step 4: Use Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is an ancient practice that uses scents to enhance relaxation.

Understanding Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy involves using essential oils derived from plants to promote physical and emotional well-being. Each essential oil has unique properties that can help you relax, uplift your mood, or alleviate stress.

Selecting Scents for Relaxation

When choosing scents for relaxation, consider lavender, chamomile, or sandalwood. These scents have soothing properties that can calm your mind and help you unwind. Experiment with different scents to find the ones that resonate with you.

Now that you have learned these four simple steps to wind down and relax, it's time to put them into practice. Create a relaxing environment, practice mindful breathing, engage in gentle movement, and incorporate aromatherapy into your routine. Remember, finding time to relax is not a luxury; it's a necessity for your mental and physical well-being.

Interested in exploring more ways to relax and find inner peace? The Aura Health app offers a wide range of guided relaxation exercises, breathing techniques, and personalized recommendations to help you on your journey towards tranquility. Download the Aura Health app today and embrace the power of relaxation!

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July 1, 2023
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