Skills Centre

How to Relax & Reduce Stress

Learning how to relax, as a way to reduce stress and anxiety and to promote good sleep, is a key life skill.

People often feel like they don’t have the time to relax, but by learning, applying and finding the time to practise some simple relaxation techniques you can get more done and improve your quality of life.

The key is to balance stress and relaxation in such a way that we optimise our life experiences, remain healthy, achieve goals and reach our potential. In order to do this, we need to listen to what our bodies and minds are telling us and learn how and when to relax.

There are many different relaxation techniques to suit different personalities and lifestyles, try a variety of different techniques to find out what works for you.


Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Try not to worry so much. Although this is very often easier said than done, sometimes it is possible to distract your mind from unnecessary worry by taking part in some other engaging activity to keep your mind busy. The simple act of smiling can help lift your mood, release tension and ease difficult situations. Do something that will make you laugh, chat to a friend, watch a comedy or read an amusing story. By smiling and laughing you will naturally release tensions and feel more relaxed. Laughing is a powerful stress-reliever.

Have Achievable and Realistic Expectations of Yourself

Everybody has strengths and weaknesses, be aware of yours. Learn to utilise your strengths and accept your weaknesses.

Don’t live in the Past

Learning from past mistakes is important. Holding onto past mistakes and letting them dominate the present is stressful. Live life in the present, don’t dwell on the past.

 Learn to Say ‘No’

Don’t let people push you to exhaustion, you are no good to anybody when you are over-stretched and you are likely to become resentful. Learn to be assertive and say ‘no’ when you feel you do not have the capacity to do something as well as you would like.


It is a well-known fact that exercise, in whatever form, is useful for stress relief and for aiding relaxation. Go for a walk, swim, run (even just up and down the stairs), put some music on and dance, punch the air around you – find some form of exercise that you enjoy.

 Exercise your Mind

Stress can be caused by boredom or under-stimulation of your mind. Learn a new skill, take up a new hobby, join a local group or society, play chess – find something to do that stimulates your mind.

 For more information go to the Learner Wellbeing section of the Members Area.