Share the Calm: Do These 5 Brain-Clearing Activities with your Friends

Looking for ways to help your friends destress and find inner peace? Suggest them these five simple activities to help them declutter their brains.

In today’s fast-paced world, finding moments of calm and serenity can be challenging. However, the profound effects of relaxation can serve as an invaluable antidote, countering the damaging impact of stress on the body.

From slowing heart and breathing rates, lowering blood pressure, improving digestion, reducing anxiety, and enhancing focus and thinking abilities to promoting better sleep, a calm mind can lead to a healthy body.

Fortunately, there are simple yet effective practices that you can learn and teach your friends to help calm their busy minds. Whether they are seeking stress relief, better concentration, or simply a moment of peace, these activities are sure to make a positive impact.

1.   Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises are simple, can be done anywhere, and can help you relax within a few minutes. They can be performed while standing, sitting on a supportive chair, or lying down on a comfortable surface. Just make sure to adjust your posture accordingly.

When lying down, position your arms slightly away from your body with palms facing up, and keep your legs straight or knees bent with feet flat on the floor. If seated, rest your arms on the chair arms, and if standing, ensure both feet are firmly planted on the ground, approximately hip-width apart.

Don’t forget to wear loose clothing so as not to hinder your breathing. Follow these steps when you’re ready.

Take a deep breath slowly through your nose for four seconds. Hold your breath for five seconds, then exhale slowly for eight seconds. Repeat this 4-5-8 sequence ten times or more as you or your friend desire, and feel free to modify the time intervals to best suit your needs. During the exercise, focus your attention on your breath.

If this method is causing you or your friend difficulty instead of relaxation, stop doing it immediately.

2.   Active relaxation

Relaxing doesn’t always mean moving less. You can be more physically active to help maintain positive mental health.

The NHS advises that adults engage in 30 minutes of daily exercise, while children should aim for 60 minutes. It can involve any activity that increases your heart rate, such as walking, jogging, cycling, running, and swimming. You can also use a smartwatch to keep track of your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and many more.

If you prefer an activity within your home, try meditation. By releasing physical tension, meditation allows us to let go of the worries buried within our minds. If you’d like to learn more, the NHS provides a seven-step meditation routine that you and your friends can follow together on its website.

3.   Spending some time in nature

When engaging in active relaxation activities like walking and running, why not take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature?

Immersing yourself in nature and green spaces can enhance your mood and reduce stress. Take gardening, for example. Studies show that engaging in hobbies like gardening can positively impact mental health, as the connection between individuals and plants can foster self-care and reduce stress.

If you somehow can’t go outside, bring nature into your living environment. Consider purchasing indoor plants and flowers to create a natural atmosphere inside your home. You can also cultivate herbs on your kitchen windowsill or adorn your space with pictures depicting nature.

Even better, you can create a communal garden that you share with your friends, allowing you to engage in a calming hobby while socialising with your loved ones.

4.   Relaxing with music and imagination

When you can’t physically get away, music and imagination will take you there.

Close your eyes and try to think of somewhere relaxing and peaceful. It can be a place from your memory or your imagination. Focus on the details of this place and allow your thoughts to wander and your body to unwind.

You can also incorporate music into this exercise for more health benefits. Regardless of your musical preferences, whether it’s classical, country, rock, pop, or any other genre, decades of scientific research on the brain’s reactions to music have consistently demonstrated its powerful impact on our health.

It can lift our spirits and provide solace during difficult times. It also has the power to alleviate stress and anxiety, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation.

Music can enhance our memory and cognitive function, improving our ability to retain information and process thoughts. At the same time, it can help with concentration and focus, allowing us to delve deeper into tasks and activities. If you or any of your friends have difficulty falling asleep, turn on calming music.

Lastly, music can enhance physical performance by motivating and energising us during exercise or physical activities. This is why many people listen to music while exercising or doing chores.

5.   Embracing your creative side

Did you know that creative hobbies can boost your mental health and help you calm your mind?

Creative activities such as drawing, colouring, singing, playing music, writing, baking, and dancing are enjoyable outlets that can provide a sense of fun and fulfilment. It can also work as a healthy distraction from personal concerns, allowing the mind to find solace and focus elsewhere.

Embracing creativity means embracing the five pillars of well-being — connect, learn, be active, give, and take notice.

There are many ways you can get creative. First, browse online demonstrations that can help you develop skills. Then, find inspiration from around you — take pictures or write down the details that intrigue you. Take a look at the pictures and notes when you want to make, draw, or build something.

Incorporating these five mind-calming activities into your daily routine can significantly contribute to your overall well-being and mental tranquillity.

Take the time to learn and share the knowledge with your friends, and help them navigate the challenges of life with greater ease and resilience.