How often have you felt that way, even after having a nice, relaxing weekend? We all tend to put WAY too much stress on ourselves everyday and it's mostly stuff that we actually can't control. The hectic pace of modern society certainly doesn't help, either.
When we're stressed, our bodies are literally in distress and the only best way to de-stress in to relax. The problem is that if we're stressed, we often can't relax and we wind up being caught up in a vicious circle and just gets wound tighter and tighter. Aaagh!
Sure, we can live an adequate life being clenched up and tight, but it isn't the way we were meant to live. All of us, humans and creatures alike (I believe) were meant to live a life of untroubled trust...knowing at our core that we are supported by a universe that doesn't want to hurt us, but only wants to teach the dance of life. But how do we get to that point from a starting place of high stress and anxiety? I consulted a few experts in the field and compiled their answers into a short list of ways that can help even the tensest person to slow down and relax.
1. Relax your need to relax. The more you try to relax, the harder it'll be. Start by checking your physical state. Ask our self: how's my breathing and is there tension in your body? If so, where is it? Is your stomachin knots? Then, check your mental state. Are you calm and peaceful or tense and plagued by fear? The experts say that the next thing to do is to simply take a deep breath and tell yourself that it's alright to feel the way you're feeling. Yep. You don't need to do anything else right now. Don't you feel better already, just knowing you don't HAVE to try and relax? Go ahead...take a few more deep breaths. It's ALL ok.
2. Relax your attention. Find a spot on the wall and stare at it. Then, without moving your eyes, widen your focus to include everything in your visual field. Think of your spot, or target, as important. Everything else is unimportant. (And this is where it gets interesting.)Then think of everything as important; everything you can see without moving your head or eyes; top to bottom and right to left. It's all good. It's all important. You may have noticed that your mind felt calmer and you had less tension when began thinking that it was all good and important. You probably loosened up a bit when you took your attention away from the single target spot. I hope so. I know I did.
3. Relax into whatever's happening. You've heard the saying, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," right? Well, this is the same kind of thing. You probably can't change a lot of what's going on in your life...that's why your stressed...so why not just accept it and relax into that feeling? "Goin' with the flow" makes your life much easier.
4. Relax the standards you can never meet. If you're anything like me (and no, I don't mean a frog!) then you set yourself for failure by setting impossibly high standards for yourself, your mate and, most probably, your kids. Striving for the trappings of "happiness" will, in reality, take you farther away from the real thing.
5. Relax your resistance to uncertainty. Doing anything new and unfamiliar, even like doing these few simple relaxation tricks, can be scary and forces us "to confront life's inherent uncertainty." This is especially true for relaxation which implies giving up, or reliquishing, control. And nobody enjoys doing that! In one form, or another, each of us is a bit of a control freak. As Life Coach Martha Beck says, "When faced with what we don't know, we go the Hamlet route, deciding we would 'rather bear those ills we have, / Than fly to others that we know not of.' If we just clench up tightly enough, says the birth-rattled infant within us, nothing unexpected or unpleasant will ever happen again."
Humans are the only creatures who seek guarantees from life. And life never guarantees anything. So, we can choose to stay clenched up and tight, trying to control the uncontrolable (frustating, at best, and never works...at least not for very long) or we learn to relax our grip on the world which starts with losing the illusion that we are in control. We aren't; not humans, not frogs, not anyone..no one can control everything, not even for a short time. When we finally learn, and accept this, then and only then can we ever hope to truly relax nd live a truly fulfilled life.
I don't know about you, but I feel better already. I have a full week ahead and I'm sure I'll be referring back to these suggestions often over the next few days. I hope you all have a wonderful week and find these de-stressing tips helpful.