Relaxing is usually seen as luxurious downtime, rest time, recuperation time. It’s the lazy Sunday afternoon or the chilled-out beach holiday. It’s when you switch off and tune out, let go and release, mentally, emotionally, and physically. But it only happens here and there for most of us because we’ve got things to do and places to be.
Our daily lives are not for relaxing. Relaxing can’t be a core part of how we live, it can’t be part of our daily experience. Or can it? Can relaxation be a way of life? I think that not only can relaxation be a way of life, but it can be a very effective way of life.
You see, relaxing doesn’t mean being lazy, it doesn’t mean being inactive – maybe that’s why we see it as a ‘one-off thing to do’ because we associate it with stopping and doing nothing. But relaxing isn’t just about stopping and resting, it isn’t just a beach holiday or a sofa Sunday – in fact, plenty of people could be in those situations and still not be relaxed! Because relaxation is in fact, a state of mind. Relaxing is about how you are on the inside. It’s less about what you are doing and more about who you are being. It’s how you carry yourself and navigate each day.
The benefits of relaxing
When we think about relaxation as a way of being, a way of navigating life, the origins of the word are helpful. To relax is to ‘loosen’ and ‘soften’. So, can you be softer, can you be looser, mentally, emotionally, and physically? Can you embody this, no matter what is going on around you?
When we carry ourselves with softness and looseness, we are more flexible, adaptable, and resilient. We can bend ourselves around challenges and changes, we can melt into our experiences rather than bashing up against them – which is what happens when we’re stressed, rigid, and constricted.
When we are relaxed, we still get challenges and experience tensions, but we are more adept at handling them. Everyone gravitates to the calmest person in a crisis because we know deep down that this is the person who’s going to get us out of it, not the person who’s in a flap!
I often get my best creative ideas when I’m in a relaxed state, when I’m falling asleep or in the shower. Being relaxed enables our full brain to function, whereas being stressed shuts down the advanced parts of our brain. That’s why people with chronic stress, anxiety or depression experience memory loss and brain fog. Being stressed also wreaks havoc with our physical health, it increases our blood pressure, raises our heart rate, and shuts down our immune and digestive systems. All manner of illnesses results from this.
Relaxation returns our brain and body to a healthy state. We get much better results when we’re fully functioning, healthy, and calm. We also enjoy life a lot more.
Here are some ways you can bring more relaxation into your life.
What’s the rush? Is life a race? Who are you racing? What’s the finish line? When you get there, then what?
If you ponder these questions, you may realise the futility of rushing your way through life. If we’re not rushing in the physical world, it’s our minds that are racing. Constantly trying to get ‘somewhere’. But we never really get there – otherwise when we get there, we’d relax. But we never relax so obviously, we never get there! What a paradox.
Learn to take your time. Pull back from the illusory race. Be slow. Be soft.
Be the little tortoise gently crawling along in its own time, be the floating bubble that softly wafts through the air. Imagine something that signifies slowness and softness to you and embody the energy of that thing. Try it now, sit with that energy. What do you experience? Hopefully, a much more relaxed state. Can you carry this with you in your daily life?
Take it step by step
When we’re rushing through life we trip over our own feet. Trying to run before we can walk, trying to know every single step on the long path ahead, trying to control it, to predict it.
To be more relaxed, just focus on putting one foot in front of the other. That’s all. There is no other way through life, to be honest. If you were to walk down the street, how would you get there other than by taking one step at a time? Sure, we might take a few leaps and jumps here and there, some steps may be bigger than others – but still, you just take one step at a time.
Focus on the step that is in front of you and take it. Don’t think about the one after it, or the one after that. Just be present, here, and now. What is the obvious next action? Just one phone call, just one healthy lunch, just one conversation, or maybe nothing at all. Just do this next step and only after that, look at the next one. Try this out and see what happens.
Don’t be so serious
The biggest nail in the coffin of relaxation is being so serious!
Is everything really that serious, that important? Really? Seriousness equals stress. OK sure, there are some things that are serious but for the most part, for most people, what we face in our daily lives is not that serious. Is someone going to die if we don’t send that admin email on time? If someone doesn’t like the meal I cooked, is the world over? Will my entire business fail if one client rejects my offer? No. So, perhaps it’s not that serious after all.
Stand back and see the bigger picture. Don’t make mountains out of molehills. We’re on a rock, in space, spinning at over 500km per second, circling a huge ball of fire. With that in mind, what could really be that serious? Maintain perspective and loosen up!
Don’t forget to laugh
Laughter is good for the mind, body, and soul. It loosens and softens every aspect of our being. It diffuses so much unnecessary and unhelpful psychological and emotional stress. When was the last time you had a really good laugh? I’ll be honest, I don’t do it often – because I take life too seriously! I know I’m the one giving you tips but they say we teach others what we most need to learn, and I am absolutely doing that right now! This is my journey.
So, find something that makes you giggle. Maybe you can even have a chuckle at yourself.
I have been relaxing more recently and simple things like slowing down and taking one step at a time have been the most pivotal. I catch myself when I’m running ahead in my mind or actions, and I stop. The more I do this, the easier it becomes, and I hope it will soon become habitual. Because, when I’m relaxed I feel better, I perform better and I’m more creative. I’m happier, healthier, better to be around and I spread better energy to those around me too. It’s a win-win.
I hope you try out some of these tips, and do share with me in the comments what helps you to loosen up in life?
Read more about Pinky Jangra and her other articles HERE
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