Relaxation and meditation/mindfulness

Relaxation techniques can help you feel less stressed, improve your sleep quality, increase your concentration and memory, and reduce symptoms of anxiety. There are many things you can do to relax, and incorporating these into your daily life can help with your overall wellbeing.

Try some of these simple relaxation techniques:

  • Take a break. Stepping away for just a few minutes can help you feel calmer and will allow you to collect your thoughts. You could read, take a warm bath, watch some television or walk the dog.
  • Focus on your breathing. Count to five as your inhale, then count to five as your exhale, and repeat. This has a naturally calming effect.
  • Listen to music. It can connect you to your emotions and distract you from worrying thoughts. Try closing your eyes and focus on the music and let your worries fade away.
  • Imagine you are in a calm place. It might be a memory of somewhere that you have already been, or a place you have constructed in your imagination. Try closing your eyes and focus on what this place looks like, what it sounds like, what it feels like. Just let your mind drift and your body totally relax.
  • Active relaxation. Try some yoga or pilates, or go for a walk.
  • Get creative. Painting, drawing, crafting, playing an instrument, dancing, or cooking are always to get in touch with your creative side, and will help you to feel more calm and relaxed. Adult colouring books are popular for this reason.
  • Get out in nature. While walking in the countryside or nearby park, be mindful of everything you see and hear on the way. You might even try your hand at gardening.
  • Technology detox. Using your smartphone all day and constantly being contacted can cause stress. Try turning your smartphone off for an hour or two, taking a break from the TV, or leaving your inbox alone while you focus on a project or piece of work.
  • Un-tense your muscles. Simply sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Clench and release your toes and move up your body, tensing and un-tensing your muscles. Take time to notice any areas that feel tense, tight or tired and pay particular attention to these areas.

Practising meditation or mindfulness is a useful relaxation technique. The purpose is to free the mind from stress and worry, and reach a state of happiness, peace and calm. It is difficult to be happy if our minds are full of worry, but with regular practice can train ourselves to cope with stressful situations, even during the most challenging of times.

Dr Peter Malinowski, Reader in the Natural Sciences and Psychology, and experienced Mindfulness Practitioner has written some useful information about the practice of mindfulness and how it can be applied during uncertain times. 

Peter has recorded a series of videos to help understand the process, including guided mindfulness sessions for practice:


Resources to support relaxation and meditation

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

Staff can use the Vivup EAP service to speak to a trained counsellor 24/7, 365 days a year. To access the support line, call 0330 380 0658 and mention you are LJMU staff or visit the website.