The world is an overwhelming place at the best of times, and it can feel like you’re lost in the chaos of it all. Around a third of people experience severe stress and anxiety at some point in their lives. As someone with anxiety, I understand this even more. It can affect your health, which in turn affects your body. The key to overcoming this is to take control, even when everything seems to be spiralling out of your hands. It’s not all about meditation and therapy – there are an array of ways to help make use of your time and learn to relax. We have several ways of creating a space for mind relaxation, whenever you need it and wherever you might be.

Try your hand at cooking

Cooking is one of the best-known forms of mindfulness that aids mind relaxation. When you focus on cooking something at your own pace, you become engrossed in the process. When you’re chopping up ingredients, or weighing them, it takes your stress off everything else around you and makes for a relaxing environment. It shouldn’t feel like work – think of it as self-medication. You’re feeding your body with health benefits each time you cook a nutritious meal. Plus, when you’ve created a good meal, you feel good about yourself, and will enjoy the process of eating it so much more. Cooking one meal a day should help you relax, and it’s one way to spend your time more positively.

Find time to exercise

It can be really hard to motivate yourself to exercise, especially if you’ve sunk into bad habits and have become unfit. However, exercise is very good for your brain, and helps release serotonin. It also makes you focus on the task at hand rather than your other worries. Join a class, hit the gym, or just go for a quick jog. You’ll feel better for it. You can even go for a walk if you only have a few minutes to spare, and it gives you time to relax alone with your thoughts.

Improve your diet

It may be a bit of a bore, but there are certain foods that can be very bad for your mental health. Eating too much sugar can be bad for anxiety, and of course, drinking alcohol will make you feel worse the next day if not during the night. However, that’s not to say you can’t enjoy a treat. Buy yourself good quality chocolate and allow it to melt on your tongue – savouring a sweet treat is a perfect form of mind relaxation. Honey is also good as a way of relaxing your mind. It contains compounds that fight inflammation in the brain and reduce the chance of anxiety attacks. Try a few new foods that benefit your health, and it’s likely you’ll find at least one you like and can use.

Listen to music

Music will always make you feel good. Listening to your favourite songs can really relax you, and take you out of a stressful situation for at least a little while. Wherever you are, whether at work, home or in public, you can stick your headphones in and lose yourself in your favourite bands and artists. People use music all the time, and there’s no reason you can’t either. If you struggle to motivate yourself to go for a walk or to exercise, pair the boring activity with your favourite music – it kills two birds with one stone, and makes you relax twice as much.

Mind relaxation tricks

There are plenty of mind relaxing tricks around. Some work better than others, and are often down to individual taste. Some tricks include meditation, blowing bubbles (to control breathing during panic attacks) solving puzzles and aromatherapy. Try out different methods to find what works for you, and then stick to it. You’ll learn to associate these tips and tricks with feeling calm and collected, and you’ll start to use them regularly as a normal part of your routine.

Unleash your creativity

Having a creative outlet for your stress can be really helpful. If you like writing, get your feelings on paper in a poem. If you’re more inclined towards art, paint on a canvas, or ever just doodle on a piece of paper. It takes concentration, which can distract you from the outside world – this is why adult colouring books are now so popular. Find something you enjoy, so that you have something to turn to when you need to practise mind relaxation. Then, whenever you’re in trouble, you can take a few minutes to escape your thoughts in a good way.

Close your eyes and remember to breathe

Your mind is a private palace that you can escape to, but it can also be a prison for some. When you’re an anxious person, you need to know how to help yourself and make your mind a safe place away from stress. Close your eyes to block the rest of the world out, and focus on good things. If you begin to panic, focus on your breathing before it gets out of hand. Always remember this – you can do this. You’re the master of your body. You can use these tips, even if they’re hard to learn at first. You’ve got this. Don’t give up. There’s always somewhere to turn.