Progressive Relaxation Techniques to Calm Your Mind

17 Progressive Relaxation Techniques to Calm Your Mind

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A busy mind is a machine that never stops working, but we’re not computers. We’re not supposed to keep going and going, without taking a break to recharge our mental energy. This is why it’s important to add progressive relaxation techniques, to calm our minds, as part of our daily lifestyle routine.

We’re obviously never going to turn off thinking, planning, and worrying. We will always have many thoughts to sort through. But with practice, meditation, and these relaxation techniques and calming exercises, we can actually use our minds as a tool. As with anything, the sharper your tool, the better it works.

Breathing Relaxation Techniques - Calming Exercises

Progressive Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety and Stress (Calming Exercises)

1. Close your Eyes and Exhale for a Count of 4

  • Take a slow, deep breath for 4 seconds and hold your breath
  • Close your eyes and exhale for 4 seconds
  • Open your eyes and inhale for 4 seconds
  • Close your eyes and exhale for 4 seconds again

Easy, right? Now do this simple breathing exercise ten times and embrace a sense of calmness whenever stress and anxiety strikes.

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2. Try a Few Drops of Lavender Essential Oil and Deep Breathing

Pour a couple of drops of lavender essential oil into a diffuser and take a deep breath to calm down. Scientists believe that lavender has a calming effect on the fear center of the brain the same way some sedatives do. Lavender oil may also help alleviate anxiety and depression.

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3. Try Closing Your Eyes and Covering Your Ears While Humming

  • Take a slow, deep breath
  • Close your eyes and cover your ears with the palm of your hands
  • Start humming from beneath the throat while exhaling
  • Focus on slow, deep exhalation
  • Stay focused in the moment
  • Inhale
  • Exhale, humming with relaxing intensity

Do this exercise ten times to create harmonious inner vibrations that calm the brain. Humming not only soothes the nervous system, but has a positive, healing effect on cells and deep tissue, as well.

4. Close Your Eyes and Ears While Humming, and Inhaling Sharply

  • Take a slow, deep breath
  • Close your eyes and cover your ears with the palm of your hands
  • Star humming from beneath your throat while exhaling
  • Focus on slow, deep exhalation
  • Now, Inhale sharply through your teeth
  • Exhale, humming with relaxing intensity
breathing-relaxation-techniques-for-calming-the-mind

The sharp inhalation has a calming and energy boosting effect and gives the brain extra oxygen while the overall technique will soothe yet stimulate the whole nervous system.

To calm my mind, I personally love to implement this technique while having my essential oil diffusser on.


5. Try Music Therapy as it Can Heal the Body, Mind, and Soul

Music releases endorphins that ease pain and anxiety. So, make a playlist of your favorite songs, sit in a room, and just jam towards relaxation.

Tip: I truly love to listen to Brain.FM, which offers music for the brain. They have a variety of choices: Music for focus and concentration for when I am working from home, but also music for relaxation, stress reduction, meditation and sleeping better. I totally recommend it! You can start with a trial period and get 20% off of your membership here or you can simply enter the code dreamsinheels once you are ready to sign up.

6. Do the Walk, Talk and Breathe Technique

  • Stop whatever you are doing, and start walking. Don’t think about whatever’s making you anxious. Only focus on every step you take.
  • Balance your walking rhythm with your breathing to kickstart a calming process
  • Say these short statements while inhaling deeply: “I can do this, I’m capable of finishing anything, I am able to face this challenge”
  • Exhale heavily

Do this for about 10 minutes. Can’t go outside? No problem. Walk around the kitchen table or living room.

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7. Give Yourself a 10-Second Hug

Giving yourself a hug is a super simple and effective technique. Just wrap those arms around your torso and squeeze tight for 10 seconds. This will create a biochemical and physiological chain reaction that can lower stress and ease depression. Hugging calms the nervous system, and helps your body release oxytocin, a feel-good chemical that lowers cortisol levels.

8. Close Your Eyes, Take a Deep Breath, and Cover Your Ears

  • Take a slow, deep breath
  • Close the eyes and cover your ears with the palms of your hands
  • Listen to the sound within your own head while your ears are covered
  • Focus on slow, deep breathing

Now do this ten times when you feel inundated with anxious thoughts. It’ll slow down your heart rate and soothe you. 

9. Try the 4,7,8 Breathing Technique 

Try this simple breathing exercise whenever anxiety rears its ugly head.

  • Exhale completely, until your lungs run out of air
  • Take a deep breath through your nose for a count of 4
  • Now hold your breath for a count of 7
  • Exhale through your mouth, and make a sound you’re comfortable with, for a count of 8
  • Repeat this technique for up to 4 times

10. Try The Sensory Check-In Technique

Do a sensory check-in by naming five things that can be touched, seen, smelled or heard. This forces the mind to focus on something other than whatever it is that’s causing anxiety to bubble to the surface.

11. Try Meditating Daily

Meditate every day. If you’re a beginner, here’s the best way to start:

  • Sit straight with both feet on the ground
  • Close your eyes
  • Recite a mantra like “I am at peace” or “I can do anything I set my mind to”
  • Place a hand on your stomach to synch the mantra with your deep breaths
  • Push any distracting thoughts away and focus solely on this exercise
girl, meditation, nature

12. Try The Open Chest Technique

  • Sit or stand up straight (posture is important)
  • Close your eyes and put your fists on the back of your pelvis
  • Inhale deeply and open your chest
  • Keep pressing your fists against your back while exhaling
  • Inhale sharply through your teeth
  • Exhale through your nose or mouth

Repeat this technique 10 times and don’t skip a step because it’s important to create a rhythm between your breathing and your body movements.

13. Try Alternate Nostril Breathing

  • Hold one nostril closed with a thumb and breathe in through the other nostril.
  • Hold your breath for three seconds
  • Let go of your closed nostril and close the other one
  • Breathe out

Do this ten times to give your brain a much-needed break.

14. Try the Thought Dismissing Technique

  • Set a timer for five minutes
  • Sit or lay down
  • Focus on all the thoughts that pop up
  • Once they do, say hi to them and tell them: “I will get back to you when I am finished meditating and breathing”
  • Visualize your thoughts as harmless animals, (kittens, puppies, rabbits, or any animal you love) and politely dismiss them

15. Try Doing the Superman Pose

  • Lie down with your belly on the floor
  • Extend your arms in front of you like Superman
  • Extend your legs and hold them straight out
  • Hold the pose for 10 seconds

It sounds nuts, but this has an incredibly soothing and strong calming effect on your mind. Give it a shot!

16. Try Doing Child’s Pose

Child’s Resting Pose is a kneeling asana in yoga, which is used as an exercise. This beginner’s yoga pose helps you to stretch the muscles of the lower back, as well as the inner thighs. It also promotes flexibility, stress relief and helps circulation to the muscles, joints, and disks of the back.

Going into Child’s Pose really helps when you are anxious or stress. I recommend setting a mantra or positive affirmation in your head.

Tip: For doing yoga, I use a Yoga streaming service called YogaDownload.com. Being able to do yoga whenever I want, helps me to be more consistent. Yoga really helps me to release any stress and/or anxiety. YogaDownload.com offers over 1,700 classes taught by renowned Yogi’s for as little as $10/month. A great bargain!

yoga-child-pose

17. Take a hot bath while pampering yourself

Simple things as taking a hot bath can really help ease the mind. It is all about setting up the right mood at home. You can always just create a full home spa day retreat.



Maybe you want to put on some relaxing zen music, use an eye mask to cover your eyes, put a face mask on, drink a cup of any soothing tea that is good for relieving stress and anxiety, such as chamomile, lavender, or peppermint.


Whatever can help you to calm your mind and relax. You know yourself better. I know that I love lighting on an aromatic candle and/or adding essentials oils to my diffuser. It really calms me.

at-home-spa-day

Overall, these relaxing and peaceful techniques should help you to calm your mind and reduce any anxiety or stress. Keep in mind that, since these are progressive relaxation techniques, you will get better results if you dedicate some time every day to put them into practice. Most of them do not require a lot of time or effort, so try not to make any excuses. It’s time to just take a deep breath and reap the benefits, especially if you incorporate them into your daily, healthy lifestyle.

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