How To Relax Your Mind During Stressful Times

While there are certain steps that you can take to prevent stress from manifesting itself in your life, the reality is that sometimes, stressful times are unavoidable. They can make the happy times that come after even better because you’ll have a more robust appreciation for them. 

Nevertheless, while you’re struggling with stress, it often feels like it will be this way forever. You can get lost in stress, but you don’t have to. Today, we’re going to share some tips on how you can relax your mind during stressful times. 

Stress can be draining, exhausting, and difficult to deal with. That’s why we’re here to help give you strategies and techniques you can use if you find yourself in an anxiety-inducing situation.

We do want to offer a disclaimer: we’re not mental health counselors, so if you feel you need professional help, we encourage you to seek it. Reaching out for help can be really difficult, but trust us, it is worth it. There’s a beautiful life waiting for you on the other side of stress, and a mental health counselor or therapist can help you reach that point faster. 

Also, if the level of stress you’re experiencing is debilitating, or if you’ve considered harming yourself, you need to seek professional help as soon as possible. Things can and will get better, but you have to have the courage to get help. We know you can do it. 

To begin, we’re going to define stress. Because, let’s be real, we’ve all experienced it, but we might not be quite sure exactly what it is. Afterward, we’re going to discuss the ways that you can relax your mind during stressful situations or times. There are a lot of strategies that you can use, so if one isn’t your style, try a different one — we’re sure you’ll find the right match for you.

What Is Stress?

There are a variety of different definitions for stress. However, it can generally be agreed that stress refers to the sensation of being unable to cope or overwhelmed with either mental or emotional pressure. Everyone experiences stress from time to time; it is part of life. 

Nevertheless, it can wreak havoc on the body and mind. That’s why we think it’s so important, if you have the resources available, to talk to a therapist, counselor, or psychiatric provider and get their professional opinion on the situation. 

Stress can also refer to the human body’s response to pressure. Sometimes, different life situations or events can be stressors. This can be triggered when you experience a new situation, something unexpected, or something that even threatens your sense of self, or way of life. Stress can also be prompted by the feeling of lack of control. 

Every person deals with stress in their own unique way. Some people are prone to stress, others don’t experience it quite as often. The ability that you have to cope with stress depends on a variety of things. Genetics can play a role, as well as life events that happened early in our lives. Personality, social, and economic circumstances can also be partially responsible for the way that you deal with stress. 

Let’s talk about the physical response that your body has to stressful situations. It actually creates stress hormones, and these trigger what is often referred to as a “fight-or-flight” response. When this occurs, our immune system activates, and we are able to respond more quickly to a dangerous situation. 

Did you know that stress can be useful? It can help you push through pain or fear to get out of a dangerous situation or deliver a speech. The stress hormones in the body will usually return to normal levels when the stressful event ends. 

That being said, too much stress can be detrimental. It can also leave you in a state of fight-or-flight, which can be an overload for the body, making it difficult to cope with tough situations. This can make a tremendous long-term impact on physical or mental health. Therefore, it’s really important that you don’t expose your body to high-stress levels for an extended amount of time. 

How Can I Relax My Mind During Stressful Situations Or Times?

If you are looking for ways that you can relax your mind in a stressful situation or time, we’ve got you covered. Remember: you can try several of these, or you could find one that works best for you and stick to that. 

The most important thing to do is remember not to panic more than you already are. If you’re in a stressful situation, it’s possible to get yourself out of it, but it’s going to take some diligent, concentrated effort. 

Remember: your health is more important than whatever it is that’s stressing you out. 

Try Breathing Exercises Designed For Stress

Our first tip is to practice taking deep breaths. When you’re in a frenzied state, this could prove to be difficult, but regulating your breathing can prove extremely helpful to calm yourself down. 

Deep breathing is an effective way to lower the stress levels that your body is experiencing. This is because the manner in which you breathe can impact your entire being. As a result, breathing exercises can effectively reduce tension and relieve stress. 

They’re also easy to learn, and accessible anytime, anywhere. If one breathing exercise doesn’t work for you, don’t worry! There are plenty more that you can try. 

Some of the most popular strategies include belly breathing, roll breathing, morning breathing, or 4-4-6 breathing (inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for six seconds). 

Practice Meditation

The next way that you can relax your mind during a stressful time is to meditate. This is another breathing-centric relaxation tactic. It involves taking your focus off of the stressors and moving it to your physical state of breathing.

In order to meditate, you should find a comfortable place to sit where you can stay for a while as long as you’d like to meditate. Be sure you’re in a position where you won’t have to move around for a while. Once you’re settled, start the practice. Choose a time limit, and shut your eyes. Then, begin to breathe in and out, noting the sensation of the breath entering and exiting your lungs. Continue this until your practice ceases and the time limit you set is up. Then, open your eyes and note how you feel.

If you find that your mind is wandering during your meditation, don’t worry, that is normal! Try to resist judging yourself. It takes time to learn how to meditate, but trust us, it’s worth it. 

If you don’t like that type of meditation, there are other types that might appeal to you more. It can take time to figure out which one is best for you. There are a variety of different ways that you can meditate. 

Another type of meditation, mindfulness meditation, includes focusing your attention on things that are occurring in the present moment. You can take note of how you are breathing. Are they fast breaths? Jagged? Shallow? Do you hear noises outside of your home, such as a dog barking or traffic?

This meditation is effective because it emphasizes just noticing what is happening without attempting to change anything. It’s a practice of surrendering control and can also get you out of your head and back into the present moment. 

Listen To Calming Music

Our next tip is to listen to calming music. This could include beach sounds such as waves crashing against the sand, or it could be classical. Alternatively, you might find that folk music is relaxing, and prefer to listen to that. 

The idea is that the music will help calm you down and reduce your stress levels. Once again, it can take a few tries to figure out what music works best for you, so patience could be required.

Take Out Your Journal and Write

Have you ever tried writing in a journal? Sometimes, people find that they feel more relaxed once they’ve written about their feelings. Putting your feelings into a journal could make you feel heard and understood. 

If you’re into journaling, we suggest that you tackle stress in this manner. Don’t worry about making your entries eloquent. No one else is going to read them aside for you, so don’t fuss about making it perfect. Instead, just focus on writing down your feelings. 


Stressful times are difficult, but with these tactics, you will know how to handle it the next time they come around. The most important thing, we believe, is to remember that difficult times don’t last forever, and if you feel speaking to a therapist would be helpful, you should definitely do that. 

It gets better, but you have to take the first step of reaching out for help. 



Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation | U of M Health 

Stress Management: Relaxing Your Mind and Body | U of M Health  

Dealing with Stress| Mental Health Foundation

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