|Posted by Joshua Bledsoe on October 1, 2010 at 3:36 AM||comments (0)|
We've all been there, and we've all heard the same thing from our well-intentioned friends. The conversation usually goes something like this...
WIB= Well-Intentioned Bystander
WIB: Hey, you doing ok? You don't seem like yourself today!
You: Yea, I'm just really stressed out!
WIB: What's wrong?
You: Well, [insert explanation of stressor(s) here] and it's just really starting to wear on me!
WIB: You know, you just need to learn to relax!
This WIB has unknowingly hit on something very important, and that is that almost all of us must LEARN to relax! Our fast-paced lifestyles have made it very difficult for us to truly relax. What follows is mental relaxation that involves using the mind to tell the physical body how to relax. I've categorized this as "Mental Training" because we aren't going to be doing any real physical activity, we're just going to let the mind release the tension and stress we are carrying in the body.
Turn Off Your Distractions (Physically and Mentally)
Find a place of solitude, away from the distractions of your daily life. Turn your phone to silent, turn off the TV, turn off the music (or put on soothing atmospheric music), dim the lights and turn off the computer. No Facebook. No Email. Just You!
Give Yourself Permission
Tell yourself that you're going to spend time working on you. Tell yourself for the next little while you're going to be "unplugged." Many of us unconsciously "run away" from mental relaxation. In the back of our minds, we know we have things to do and places to be. Giving yourself permission to relax and accept that for the next ten minutes or so you are going to relax!
Lie on your bed/floor* or sit in a comfortable chair. If you choose a standard desk chair, maintain good posture while you relax. Keep your feet on the floor, knees over your feet, torso lifted and eyes/ears to the horizon.
Close your eyes, and focus on your breathing.
Observe your breath, dont try to manipulate the breath.
Observe your body, notice any areas that are tense or even painful.
Now, mentally go through every part of your body and release the tension in that body part with each exhale.
Something like this: