It’s important to learn how to relax. When fears, anxiety, and worry build over a short period, we can feel stressed. Short periods of stress are normal and to be expected in our day-to-day lives.
When a period of stress becomes prolonged, it can become impossible to learn how to switch off and relax. Even the Bible tells us it's important to relax.
Matthew 6:34 tells us, “do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Learning relaxation techniques is essential for your mind, body, and spirit and your general wellbeing. Learning how to relax during times of stress has enormous benefits for your mental health. It'll also help you live a longer and happier life.
Remember that Luke 12:25-26 says: "And which of you by being anxious, can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?"
This article considers a range of different ways you can master the art of relaxation, starting with breathing exercises while using mindfulness, meditation, and prayer.
Normal levels of stress drive us to complete important tasks. When you can’t relax and feel on edge all the time, stress levels become harmful.
The American Psychological Society identified three different types of stress.
Signs that you are stressed and need to slow down include the following:
When stress becomes prolonged and chronic, these health conditions can be serious and life-threatening. Increasing levels of stress hormones can damage your heart and shorten your lifespan. That's why it's so important to learn effective relaxation techniques.
Here’s six simple ways you can learn to relax both your mind and body and ease stress.
There are lots of different types of stress relief. That’s why you have to find the right techniques for you. You might want to combine a guided visualization with calming relaxation music. All of these calming activities have demonstrated health benefits for your nervous system.
A Prayer to Reduce Stress
Loving God, please grant me peace of mind and calm my troubled heart. My soul is like a turbulent sea. I can't seem to find my balance so I stumble and worry constantly. Give me the strength and clarity of mind to find my purpose and walk the path you've laid out for me. I trust your Love God, and know that you will heal this stress. Just as the sun rises each day against the dark of night. Please bring me clarity with the light of God.
In your name, I pray,
- Author Unknown
Prayer for Calmness
As he sat by the river,
the eyes of his understanding began to be opened;
not that he saw any vision,
but he understood and learnt many things,
both spiritual matters and matters of faith and of scholarship,
and this with so great an enlightenment
that everything seemed new to him.
- Ignatius of Loyola, The Autobiography
Many of us experience generalized anxiety, where we worry about different areas in our lives. Any number of different life stressors can cause anxiety. The most common are serious threats to our wellbeing on a day-to-day basis. However, our perceived fears can create unnecessary levels of anxiety.
The most serious life stressors are job losses, relationship breakdown, or the death of loved ones.
Generalized anxiety disorder can arise from being overworked or feeling overwhelmed in our personal lives. This is still the case, even where there's no immediate threat to our wellbeing. Our anxiety is where our fears manifest in our reality. It's here that it's most important to learn how to relax.
There are lots of different tips and techniques which can help lift our spirits and alleviate our worries. Some of these are simple life hacks that cost very little in terms of money or time. Just doing some deep breathing exercises, listening to calming relaxation music, or engaging in meditative prayer can lower your heart rate and alleviate your anxiety.
Dealing with anxiety is the first step. It all starts with these simple techniques for self-care:
Remember that Luke 12:25-26 says: "And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?"
Learning how to relax and be at peace is an essential life skill. You can start your day with gratitude and reflect on all the blessings that Our Lord has given you. Be grateful for good health, a roof over your head, and breath in your lungs. Before bed, say a prayer of thanks for your day and prepare for sleep with a prayer.
There will be times when we feel pressured in the workplace or in our family lives. We might even feel it within our busy Christian communities. The key to learning to relax lies in taking some quiet time in the mornings for gratitude and practicing healthy sleep hygiene and offering a prayer of thanks before sleep. Trust that God wants you to succeed and be the best version of yourself.