Let’s talk about how to quickly and effectively relax. Many people forget to actually relax and take time off during their day. If our life is very busy and there are many things on our mind then we can get lost in trying to achieve something. We get stuck trying to meet our own or other people’s demands or fighting circumstances. This way we can end up being locked into a state of mental or physical stress (mental stress always manifests in the body).
In addition states of stress tend to self-amplify and can lead to a stress-cycle. This is because when we are under stress it becomes more difficult to actually feel our body and have awareness for what’s happening in our mind. Thus we may not be able to recognize where we are holding on to something either with our mind – in a way where we tense up, or where we are literally “holding” something with our muscles (unnecessary tension) with our body. So how can we quickly get out of such stress-cycles and reset our body and mind to return to optimal functionality and also take a fresh perspective on things? How do we take a break?
A very good solution for dealing with stress is having a meditation practice, but what works very well is: Closing your eyes. Simply sitting down somewhere, taking a few moments (5-10 minutes), closing your eyes and entering the space of your “internal world”: feeling your body, emotions and noticing your thoughts. I recorded a short meditation (7:20′) for this that guides you through this process of closing your eyes and exploring that space on the inside. A space with sufficient room and time so that you can recognize what is present in your body, emotions and mind and to allow for the possibility of effortless relaxation of unnecessary tensions. As the stress dissolves you can experience how you can quickly return to a much higher state of functioning and harmony within yourself and the world. You can then see for yourself how simple relaxation and self-awareness unleashes your natural capabilities and intelligence.
I hope you enjoy the short meditation I recorded for you. It’s about 7 minutes long. Have a listen and see what it does for you. If you really want to benefit from this then I encourage you to consciously take time to relax as often and regularly as you can. Starting with once a day is good. Choose a time where you could use a break, like in the middle of the day or when you are commuting and have a fixed time where you will be undisturbed. Feel free to use the meditation I recorded or just take it as inspiration and experiment for yourself. Once you get into the habit of doing this it will become second nature. In the beginning you might have to make a little effort to get started. By doing this you can actually change your mental and physical set-point. Not only will you be more relaxed and productive after you took some eyes-closed-time, but it will be affecting your whole day. Even better: the effect is cumulative. As you develop more self-awareness and learn to effectively relax excess tensions in your mind and body your stress-management is just going to keep improving: You can reach a new set-point in your overall stress-level and thus your performance.
Another thing you can combine with this is to practice visualisation. Picture in your mind’s eye a result you want to achieve. You can also use words or a short phrase. This can be how you want to optimally spend your day or week. You can also visualise a goal that is important to you. It is important to focus on the result ie. see yourself already having achieved it. Try to give it as much detail as you can and really feel it. Now why would you do that? I love the story of Roger Bannister who was the first person to run a mile under four minutes. At his time everybody believed that it was physically impossible to do so. But he kept believing that it was (and visualising himself achieving it). It is said that he would visualise himself crossing the finish line, the time being announced as 3 minutes and with the crowd cheering. This is exactly what happened. Believing that it was possible for him allowed him to actually do it (apparently he only trained for 30 minutes a day). After he had shown that it was doable other athletes followed and his record was broken just 46 days later.
If we want to do something we haven’t done before or thing is impossible, then we have to condition ourselves to believe that it is possible. This can be done using visualisation. It also helps to align your behaviour with your values. You begin to expect the desired result and your behaviour moves along with that. It’s very useful and even one minute or two minutes of visualisation here and there can have a positive impact. I hope you enjoy the meditation I recorded, and I see you next time.