HEALTHY LIVING
06/25/2014 08:25 am ET Updated Jun 25, 2014

4 Relaxation Mistakes You're Probably Making

ULTRA F via Getty Images

We've all been there: We get home after a long day, throw ourselves into what we think will help us unwind and... nothing happens. We can't shut off our brains. And before we know it, we're back to being busy because what else are we going to do? With so much going on, we just can't relax.

So how can this problem be remedied? Just because you can't seem to unwind doesn't mean you're an uptight individual who is incapable of finding calm -- the truth is, your inability to relax may be lying in the everyday habits you're naturally practicing. If you're looking for an uninterrupted, serene moment, ditch these relaxation mistakes you might be making -- you may find you'll be able to unwind after all.

You're still on your phone.
smartphone

Facebook newsfeeds, Twitter timelines, Instagram notifications... it's no wonder we can't calm down. If you want to switch off your brain for a while, consider switching off your smartphone. Research has shown that we check our phones approximately once every six minutes (yikes!). Our devices have been proven to stand in the way of our relaxation (and really, it's no surprise -- who hasn't been tempted to check their emails while off duty?). If you're attempting to unwind, it might be time to toss the smartphone.

You're not taking advantage of silence.
silence

When was the last time that you just sat for a moment in total silence? The truth is, when we tune out the soundtrack of our lives -- whether it be the murmur of a TV or even the sound of our neighbors -- we can reap many relaxing and mental benefits. Silence is known to be incredibly therapeutic, and it can even boost your ability to focus and your capacity for creativity.

You're reading a book on your tablet.
tablet

If you're in bed trying to soak up some calming moments with literature before you drift off to sleep -- 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 shut-eye, making that relaxing reading habit more of a nightmare. Next time, swap your touch screen for a good ol' paperback book. You'll be more prepped for a relaxing rest.

You're thinking about relaxation too much.
relaxation thinking

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.

This GPS Guide is part of a series of posts designed to bring you back to balance when you're feeling off course.

GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

PHOTO GALLERY
HuffPost
BEFORE YOU GO
Health Benefits Of Relaxation
PHOTO GALLERY
Health Benefits Of Relaxation

CONVERSATIONS