Ever had a long day and throw yourself into what you think will help you unwind and nothing happens? You just can’t seem to shut off your brain, and before you know it you’re back to being busy because what else are you going to do? With so much going on, you just can’t seem to relax. Just because it may seem like you can never unwind doesn't mean that you’re incapable of it. Your every day habits can have an effect on your ability to relax.
You’re on your phone
If you want to switch off your brain for a while, you’re going to have to switch off your phone as well. Research has shown that we check our phones about every six minutes, and when we do check our phones dopamine is released. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure. With our bodies releasing dopamine after checking your phone, you can’t truly relax.
You’re not taking advantage of silence
Tuning out the soundtrack of our lives- the murmur of a TV or the sound of our neighbors- is vital for relaxing. Sitting in total silence has so many mental benefits. Silence is known to be therapeutic, and can even boost your ability to focus and your capacity for creativity.
You’re reading a book on your tablet
If you're in bed trying to soak up some calming moments with a good book before bed—but you're doing so through the illuminated screen of your iPad—you might want to think twice. Studies have shown that the blue light emitted from our screens can actually disrupt our sleep, making that relaxing reading habit more of a nightmare. Next time, swap your touch screen for a paperback book. You'll be more prepared for a relaxing rest.
You’re thinking too much about relaxing
It's a common cycle with stress and anxiety: The more you think about something, the more strung-out you feel. It may sound counterintuitive, but the same can be said for relaxation. The more pressure you put on yourself to be calm, the further away you're going to drift from it. Instead, focus on positive thoughts, some of which may not have anything to do with relaxing. Looking on the bright side can force stress out of the brain, allowing your mind to solely focus on other, happier things.