How to relax

7 October 2015 by
First published: 18 February 2014

Stress is the enemy when it comes to good health and a fab figure, so we say sayonara to stress with expert advice on how to relax

It’s all very well someone telling you that you need to relax – and, in fact, that often has the opposite effect – but how do you get to that zen-like state? ‘When you’re stressed your muscles tighten up and your breathing becomes quicker and shallower,’ says sleep expert Anandi ( ‘We are all faced with challenges and impossible deadlines now and then and it’s too easy to ignore the signs and pick up another coffee instead of taking a deep breath!’ But coffee is a stimulant and a real no-no when it comes to chilling out.

Take a deep breath
Instead you need to turn to your breath. ‘Deep breathing is the simplest tool that you have anytime you need it – all it takes is a deep breath and your concentration on healthy breathing,’ says Anandi. But what can deep breathing really do for you? Surely you breathe all day anyway? ‘Apart from all the physical manifestations of stress, deep breathing will calm the mind and bring you back down to earth enabling you to think more clearly and react in a more constructive way,’ says Anandi. ‘This practice will help calm the mind when you find yourself with your mind racing and you get that feeling like you can’t breathe!’

If you find stress tends to hit at work, a great tip is to head to the bathroom or an empty office when things get too much and spend five minutes or so practising some deep breathing. If it’s life at home that’s stressing you out, make an excuse to pop to the shop or take the dog for a walk and take a pause to practise your deep breathing on the way.

Honey to the bee!
‘A fantastic technique to try is to spend at least 10 minutes humming like a bumble bee, preferably 15 minutes,’ says Anandi. ‘This technique is called ‘brahmaree’. It relaxes the mind and the nervous system and gets rid of negative emotions. It will also draw you inwards away from the constant train of thoughts in the mind. All you need to do is close your mouth, inhale through your nose and exhale by humming like a bumble bee.’ Ok so you may look or feel a bit silly, but at least you won’t blow a gasket!