Peace and relaxation

A 60-Second Practice for Peace & Relaxation

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh 

A while back, someone very dear to me entered intensive care. He’s someone I’ve learned so much from, and yet never met. I’ve read dozens of his books, both listened to and watched countless lectures, as well as been inspired to study Zen because of him.

On Friday, November 14th, after suffering a brain hemorrhage, Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen master and peace activist, went into a coma. For the past few weeks, Thay, as his students call him (teacher in Vietnamese), had visited the hospital on a few occasions due to a decline in his health.

At the age of eighty-eight, he’s lived a long and amazing life.

He’s considered one of the two foremost Buddhist teachers in the world, next to the Dalai Lama, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr. himself. Now, he and his loving community must work to help heal the damage and hope that he can make a full recovery.

I was inspired to write something about Nhat Hanh, who helped me overcome my own anxiety when I was overwhelmed after the birth of my first son. I didn’t know how to pay rent and support my family, and closing in on thirty without having accomplished anything of value in my life, I felt like a failure who was quickly running out of time.

At Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastery in France, a bell sounds at various moments in the day. The bell is used to notify the monks, nuns, and other visitors of important events, such as the beginning of meditation sessions, lectures, and mealtime.

But it’s also used for another reason. Any time the bell sounds, literally every waking soul at Plum Village stops. They all just… stop. And in that moment, while the bell sounds, they practice mindful breathing.

Every monk, nun, and visitor breathes in with mindfulness and breathes out with mindfulness. This is the practice of “going home,” and it’s the practice of reuniting mind and body as one in order to find peace within ourselves.

The way most of us live our lives, we’re halfway in our heads, bouncing around in an endless stream of thoughts, and halfway in the present moment, only partially awake to what we’re doing.

This state of semi-consciousness, or mind dispersion, is a state where we’re unable to attain complete rest, our minds are perpetually clouded, we build up stress and anxiety, and we shut off our own source of creativity. In this state, we can never find peace or complete relaxation.

This semi-conscious state, or mind dispersion, is what the Buddha often referred to as our “monkey mind.”

Our monkey mind is constantly bouncing from one thought to another. We’re doing one thing (body) but thinking about another (mind).

You’re driving home from work while you’re thinking about work, and then bills, and then dinner, and then that dinner date with your old friend coming up, and then your daughter’s school project, and then whatever happened to your favorite band because they seemed to drop off the map, and then “When was that TV special again?”

Then you think about work again, oh and then that sounds good for dinner, and then you look in your overhead mirror and think, “I look tired today,” and then a Sit-And-Sleep commercial for some reason pops into your head and so you start thinking about how you really should get a new mattress soon, and then you think about home again and how the day is passing so quickly, and then…it never ends.

Mindfulness delicately brings the mind to rest and reunites body and mind as one force.

When you walk to work, you’re walking to work, and you’re enjoying the walk with all of your being. You’re not thinking about what’s for dinner or what you’ll say to your boss about that project when you get into the office while walking.

Your body is walking and your mind is at rest. When you drive home, you know you’re driving. You’re not letting yourself be distracted by the passing billboard advertisements or thinking about your overdue bills.

You’re truly enjoying the drive home in peace and quiet. When you’re sitting down to play with your children, you’re fully present for them, giving them your complete and undivided attention. When you live with mindfulness you’re able to truly appreciate the presence of your loved ones.

We can use the same principle of the bell used at Plum Village to find peace and relaxation in our everyday lives. By setting up simple alarm reminders on your phone or posting signs on the walls of your bedroom, restroom, or office, you can create your own “bell of mindfulness.

Set an alarm.

Set an alarm to go off every hour, two hours, three hours, or whatever is comfortable for you. (I do once every hour.) Plan to just sit and be completely aware of your breathing for about one minute every time the alarm goes off. It’s just one minute, so it’s easy to fit it into your daily schedule.

Stop and breathe mindfully.

Every time the bell goes off, I imagine the bell sounding at Plum Village. No matter where I am, I transport myself to a place of peace and quiet.

When this bell sounds, everything stops. I don’t listen to the excuses I try to give myself about “Oh, let me just finish this one thing,” or, “I’ll get to that in just a minute,” I stop everything and just breathe mindfully.

No matter where I am, I stop. If I’m not comfortable, I immediately go somewhere that I am. Just breathe. Let this be your daily vacation time.

No matter where you are, for one minute every hour you’re transported to a place where you can find peace and tranquility. When you come back you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle anything.

Or, use signs.

Toward that same end, you can also post physical signs that you type or handwrite and place them on the wall of rooms you walk into every day, such as your restroom, kitchen, office, and even your car. You can write or draw whatever you want on it as long as it reminds you to be mindful during your daily life.

For instance, you could have a poster or sign that symbolizes breathing meditation in your bedroom that sits on the back of your door. This way, each time you walk out of your bedroom in the morning, you’re reminded to stop and breathe mindfully for a moment before exiting.

If you tend to rush around at the office and build up most of your stress and anxiety there, you can place one on the back of your office door or laminate and place a small one on the surface of your desk.

It doesn’t matter what you use, as long as it reminds you to be mindful throughout your day and helps you find peace and joy in the present moment. Use the bell of mindfulness to ground yourself to the present moment, and find peace and joy in each and every day.

About Matt Valentine

Matt Valentine is a father, husband, and a self-published author. He writes weekly on his blog,, about everything from spirituality to self-mastery. You can get his eBook, The Little Book of Mindfulness, free by joining his newsletter here.

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The Guide to Finding Peace & Tips for Relaxation in Your Busy Life – Unplugged Essentials

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How to relax your mind - find inner peace and tranquility

7 min read

Anahana April 20, 2022


Anxious thoughts, anxiety about the future, regrets about the past. Tension and stress have a unique way of penetrating our consciousness and overwhelming us. Dealing with the stress and stressors of modern life can be challenging.

Fortunately, there are relaxation techniques and practices that you can incorporate into your daily life to help calm your mind and find peace, even in difficult times.

How can I relax my mind?

Although we cannot completely eliminate stress from our lives, we can learn to manage it better. First of all, start by being aware of your stress response and the amount of stressors you expose yourself to on a daily basis. What makes you constantly on the lookout? What brings you the most anxiety?

Once problems are identified, treatments can be sought. The possibilities are endless: from physical movement to nutrition, sleep, meditation and breathing.

We have described four relaxation exercises that will help to relax the mind and are suitable for beginners.

Learn how to meditate

The benefits of meditation are manifold and are felt on both the physical and mental levels. Many studies have shown that meditation has fantastic effects on stress relief, mental health, and even blood pressure control.

There are many ways to use meditation to reduce stress and anxiety, soothe and even relieve symptoms of depression. But although meditation takes many forms, at its core it is a practice of mindfulness training and attention.

Visualization meditation is a great start for beginners. Just as famous athletes practice visualization before a big game to play their best, you can practice calming visualization meditation to help you relax or relieve anxiety.

Follow these steps to do basic visualization practice:

  • Begin by finding a quiet place to sit, either on a meditation cushion or right on the edge of a chair.

  • Set the timer to five to ten minutes.

  • Keep your back straight. One can imagine that from the base of the spine up through the back, neck and crown of the head there is a string.

  • Gently close your eyes.

  • Imagine a quiet place. Let's say you're sitting on a grassy bank of a gently flowing stream. The weather is fine. The sun warms your skin and the cool, soft breeze keeps you warm.

  • Hear the water flowing in the stream. Feel the breeze on your skin. Feel the fresh scent of flowers and nature.

  • Breathe slowly through the lower abdomen. Focus on how the breath enters and exits the lungs.

  • When a thought, feeling, or emotion enters your mind, imagine that thought, feeling, or emotion sitting on a maple leaf floating on a river. Look at the sheet and what is on it. Accept that thought, feeling, or emotion. It is not bad and not good, not scary, not anxious and not restless. Just look at the leaf and let it float past you in the river. Return to focusing on the breath and visualizing on the bank of the stream.

Keep doing this every time you have an extraneous thought until the alarm goes off. Then slowly release the visualized picture. Before you get up, take a few minutes to come out of your meditative state.

With regular practice, entering the meditative state will become a quick and easy process for you. As you go deeper into the practice, you will feel less physical tension in your body.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is another wonderful practice that promotes peace and relaxation. It's pretty close to meditation, but it's unique in that you can practice mindfulness anywhere, anytime. The purpose of the practice is to stay in the present - that's easy.

Here is a basic mindfulness practice you can try while doing some work, such as washing dishes in the kitchen sink:

  • Stand at the sink, ready to do the dishes. Tell yourself that washing dishes is all you will be doing for at least the next ten minutes. Take this time for yourself.

  • Tighten every muscle in your body that you can. Hold on for a count of three. Let go. Repeat this three times.

  • How does your body feel now? Notice if you are concentrating on any particular part of the body. Shake your body lightly to release excess tension.

  • Take three deep breaths in and out. Are there other thoughts knocking on the door of your mind? Ask them to wait.

  • Turn on the tap. Take the time to get the exact temperature of the water - not too hot and not too cold. Focus on how the water looks as it slides over your fingers. Feel how it changes from cool to hot to warm. Hear it flowing from the faucet and down the drain.

  • Add some soap to the sponge. Look at its brilliant color and note its smell. Wiggle the sponge to create bubbles, watching them grow and feel their warmth on your hands.

  • Do you feel that an extraneous thought or feeling comes up? Notice this. Then release it. Return your attention to soap and sponge.

  • Take a washing dish. Examine the dish. Slowly begin to wash it, trying to wash away all the debris.

  • Rinse the dish to see all the dirty spots and soapy water run off. Set it aside to dry. Keep breathing deeply.

Take your time. Continue washing dishes in this way until you're done. Now take a clean cup and pour yourself some herbal tea. To learn more about mindfulness exercises, check out the mindfulness meditation here.

Do yoga

Yoga is another great way to find peace and tranquility when you feel like your mind is in a frenetic state.

The mind-body connection in yoga is phenomenal. The mind-body theory is that what happens in the mind - thoughts, emotions and feelings - influences what happens in your body, which in turn affects your physical well-being. At the same time, how you feel physically and how healthy and fit your body is affects your thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Yoga is a mind-body connection practice that aims to improve all aspects of your being. Although it may seem that asanas only affect the physical side, they have a significant effect on your mental state. Each posture can strengthen and improve the flexibility of your body by stimulating the organs and working on circulation. Each pose is also designed to stimulate the brain, inducing focus and peace.

Try taking a yoga class or working out at home to reap the many benefits of this practice. No doubt you will leave the mat with less muscle tension, less stress and more focus.

Learn to breathe better

Most of us take our breathing for granted and underestimate its importance in our lives. We believe that since our lungs are constantly working, without our instructions, they should do what they should and do not need improvement. However, this is not quite true. There are right and wrong ways to breathe.

Did you know that most people breathe too shallowly?

Many people breathe only the air that is in the upper part of the lungs. This causes short, weak breaths that tire you out and causes "stale" air to remain in the lower part of your lungs.

To test yourself, place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Breathe normally. Do you feel the hand on your stomach rise as you inhale, or do you feel the hand on your chest rise? If you feel your hand drop on your chest as you exhale, you are breathing shallowly.

Ideally, you should inhale much deeper, drawing all the air into your lungs. As you inhale, you should feel the hand on your stomach rise, and the hand on your chest should barely move.

Breathing exercises are often one of the most valuable techniques for calming the mind and restoring correct breathing. Here is one to start with:

  • Find a quiet place to sit where your back will be supported.

  • Place one hand on the abdomen and the other on the chest.

  • Keep your back straight, imagining that you have a string running from the base of your spine up your back and neck and out through the top of your head.

  • Close your eyes slightly.

  • Take a few deep breaths without thinking about how you breathe.

  • Inhale deeply and as you inhale feel your belly rise and your hand on your belly. Breathe slowly and as you do this say to yourself, "I am breathing in peace and quiet."

  • When you can no longer inhale air, slowly release your breath and exhale. As you do this, say to yourself, "I'm breathing out tension and stress."

Repeat this exercise for five to ten minutes, or as long as you like.

Relaxation tips in no time!

Imagine that you are about to go on stage for a big performance, and your thoughts are running at the speed of kilometers per minute. Try this mental relaxation tip to regain your calm and calm your racing thoughts.

#1 - Find a quiet place

Start by going to a quiet place to focus - another room at home, a break room at work, outside, or even the bathroom.

#2 - Sit if possible

If possible, find a chair where you can sit with back support. Ideally, if you can put your feet on the floor. Now place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.

#3 - Perform short breathing exercise

This exercise is called square breathing. You may also hear it called "square breathing", "four-part breathing" or "4x4 breathing". To perform square breathing, do the following:

  • Exhale all the air from the lungs.

  • Slowly count to four, inhaling only through the nose. As you inhale, you should feel the hand on your stomach rise. The other hand must not move.

  • Hold your breath slightly in your lungs for another four counts.

  • Count to four one last time while slowly exhaling air from your mouth. In this case, the hand lying on the stomach should again fall.

Repeat this exercise at least four times to relax and relieve stress.

How to relax and unwind

Whether it's at work or at home, sometimes we just need to step aside and find a way to relax, to occupy our mind with pleasant activities. Relaxation is different for every person. We each have our own ways of relaxing. For some, this may mean going out for a few minutes and having a nice walk. For others, it might be playing a sport or instrument, meditation, yoga, or breathing. Some simply learn to relax by watching their favorite TV show or popping a bottle of wine.

The important thing is that we all find ways that work for us and allow us to calm down, relax and enjoy a moment of well-being and self-care. Engaging in relaxing activities will help us learn to relax.

Relaxing the Mind: Frequently Asked Questions

How can I stop thinking too much?

To stop thinking too much, meditate regularly. Ten minutes of meditation every day can change your focus and concentration, allowing you to shift your attention when you start thinking about things you don't want to think about.

In some cases, distractions can also be helpful. Just be sure to choose healthy distractions and don't rely on them to keep you from thinking about something serious. Distractions can be helpful in certain situations where you just can't bring yourself to stop obsessing over something.

If, for example, you find it hard to stop thinking about a recent breakup, try taking your mind off your thoughts by spending time with friends, volunteering, exercising, a favorite hobby, or developing new hobbies.

How can I calm my mind while I sleep?

Sleep disturbance is a common health problem affecting millions of people worldwide. The truth is that anxiety and stress often accompany insomnia. Whether poor sleep is due to anxiety and stress, or vice versa, is debatable and can vary from person to person.

However, one thing is for sure: Calming the mind can greatly improve your sleep if you usually have trouble sleeping. To prolong deeper sleep, try these tips to relax your mind:

  • Try a short meditation before bed.

  • Listen to white noise or nature sounds (such as waves or a stream) while you take a nap.

  • Do 5-10 minutes of yoga next to your bed before going to bed.

  • Try practicing mindfulness while falling asleep (concentrating on the breath and the present moment, watching your thoughts, feelings and emotions as they come and go).

  • Listen to a tape-recorded meditation before going to bed.

  • Establish a sleep routine in which you turn off all appliances, dim the lights, and change into pajamas about half an hour before going to sleep.

What relieves anxiety?

Unfortunately, there is no universal answer to this question. Everyone has different things that cause anxiety, and as a result, what relieves one person's anxiety may not help another.

The best solution is to use a combination of the above tips to cultivate a calmer mind. In addition, you can try the following to improve your overall health and well-being and reduce daily stress:

  • Eat healthy foods that include fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and healthy fats.

  • Exercise regularly, including both cardio and strength training in your daily routine.

  • Improve your sleep by developing a sleep routine and giving it at least 6-8 hours every night.

Invest in better stress management and enjoy a more relaxed mood all the time

When the stress of life takes over and nothing seems to be going right, it can feel like a hurricane is raging in your mind. At times like these, it is helpful to have at least a few solid tips for relaxing the mind in your pocket.

Use the techniques, tips and tricks mentioned in this article to enjoy a more peaceful mind, especially in times of difficult stress and struggle, improve your mental health and reduce stress.

Anxious thoughts, worries about the future, regrets about the past... Tension and stress have a unique way of entering our consciousness and overwhelming us.

Although we cannot completely eliminate stress from our lives, we can learn to deal with it better. To do this, you need to have several stress relief techniques at the ready for the moment when you feel that your mind begins to overload with negative thoughts and emotions.

Here are four relaxation suggestions that are sure to help you relax.

Resources for awareness in Anaachana

Vicki on attentiveness


How to relax your mind


How to clear your mind

How to clear your mind 9Ol000

3 relaxation and stress relief exercises

If you often hear from loved ones the phrase: “You look tired, you need to rest”, you feel overwhelmed in the morning, irritable all day, and you have insomnia at night, it's time to take action and learn how to do relaxation exercises.

For many, to relieve stress is to lie on the couch after work and watch a series. But this is an illusion of rest, as the brain and sense organs continue to work. To effectively and quickly relax, you need to perform breathing exercises, play sports, and meditate. It is also important to observe the daily routine, get enough sleep and eat right. We have prepared 3 effective exercises that will help to reduce anxiety and tension in the moment.

Breathing exercise

Movies often show an episode in which the main character begins to breathe slowly to calm down. This way really works. When a person is under stress, breathing quickens and the body simply does not have enough oxygen. If you start to inhale and exhale deeply, then the brain will receive the necessary amount of air for normal functioning.

Breathing practice: Sit or lie down, relax the muscles of the arms, legs, face and upper chest muscles. Start slowly inhaling and exhaling air through your nose while counting to four.

Body Muscle Relaxation Exercise

Muscle relaxation is a technique aimed at tensing the muscles of the body and then relaxing them. Simply put, to relieve stress, you must first tighten your muscles strongly, and then concentrate as much as possible on the feeling of relief.

Set of exercises: Start breathing slowly, try to focus on breathing. Then, while inhaling, tighten the muscles of the hands, clench your hands into fists, while exhaling, relax and concentrate on the process. Then make circular movements with your neck, then raise your shoulders to your ears, and tilt your chin to your chest - as you exhale, feel the pleasant sensations. Then, in turn, strain the muscles of the face, chest, abs, back, legs and catch the moment of relief.


Much has been written about the benefits of meditation, it really helps to get rid of anxiety, feel calm and inner freedom. Practice takes 15-20 minutes a day, but you will immediately feel the effect.

Practice: Find a quiet place, sit comfortably, preferably in the lotus position. Choose a point to focus on. You can meditate with your eyes open or closed.

Learn more