How to Relax Your Stressful Thoughts

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When your thoughts seem to be swimming, you may wonder how to relax your mind. And because learning how to relax your mind can bring benefits for your health and wellbeing, it's worth taking a few minutes to learn how.

Strategies for Relaxing Your Mind's Stressful Thoughts

Here are some simple tips for how to relax your mind.


Meditation helps you learn how to relax your mind in a few different ways. One meditation session can calm your physiology and relax your mind, but many sessions over time can help you to feel less stressed when you face stress in the future--you can become more resilient to stress with the help of meditation.

Meditation can clear your mind from thoughts that are stressing you, and over time, regular meditation can lead you to be less reactive to stress, and more resilient in the face of your stressors.

Mantra meditation, one of many useful meditation techniques, is a good place to start because it's simple.

Press Play for Advice On Clearing Your Mind

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how to clear your mind when your thoughts keep racing. Click below to listen now.

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Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is a strategy that shows you how to relax your mind by changing habitual thought patterns that trigger your stress response.

Because we react to stressors that are a perceived threat to our wellbeing, if we can alter our perceptions to be more optimistic (and more accurate), we can learn how to relax the mind and experience less stress. Cognitive restructuring techniques can help you combat common cognitive distortions.

Gratitude Journaling

Shifting your focus from what stresses you, to everything you have to be grateful for, is one of those "how to relax your mind" tips that works quite well.

Research on gratitude shows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude brings many benefits, and maintaining a gratitude journal is an easy way to accomplish this shift in focus. After a few weeks, you should find yourself zeroing in on the things in life that help you feel grateful instead of stressed, and a more relaxed mind will follow.

Talk to a Good Friend

Gaining social support from trusted friends can help you to process what you're feeling, and supply you with an influx of new and helpful ideas for how to manage your stressors, which can help you know how to relax your mind by helping you feel less burdened by your stressors. That's why maintaining a supportive circle of friends is important.

Getting out of a rumination rut by talking things out with a trusted confidante can help you feel more relaxed and provide the clarity you need to take action.

Learn About Stress Management

Learning more about stress and stress management and having a toolbox of habits and strategies that relieve stress can help you feel more equipped to handle whatever comes.

4 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EM, et al. Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(3):357-68. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018

  2. Shurick AA, Hamilton JR, Harris LT, Roy AK, Gross JJ, Phelps EA. Durable effects of cognitive restructuring on conditioned fear. Emotion. 2012;12(6):1393-7. doi:10.1037/a0029143

  3. Kelly JD. Your Best Life: Breaking the Cycle: The Power of Gratitude. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2016;474(12):2594-2597. doi:10.1007/s11999-016-5100-0

  4. Hejazi RA, Mccallum RW. Rumination syndrome: a review of current concepts and treatments. Am J Med Sci. 2014;348(4):324-9. doi:10.1097/MAJ.0000000000000229

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.