Relax your body and your mind will follow. Your mind and body relax together. They are in constant communication. If you can relax one, you will relax the other. But it is hard to relax your mind. The more you try to relax your mind, sometimes the more tense you become. It feels like you’re chasing your tail.
Do not try to relax your mind. In mind-body relaxation you learn to relax your body and your mind will follow. This is the key.
To see how well this works, try this simple one-minute experiment.
If you did this simple exercise, you’re already breathing more slowly and feeling more relaxed. What’s amazing is how quickly you can relax once you know how. You relax your mind by focusing on relaxing your body.
There is a simple and reliable technique for relaxing your body. If you follow the steps you will almost certainly relax. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t been able to relax or meditate before. You were probably trying to relax your mind, which is why it was so difficult.
You relax your body by focusing on feeling grounded and centered. You become grounded by scanning your body, and feeling your skin touch the ground. You become centered by turning your focus into your body as you scan, which helps turn your mind away from your tension.
It’s normal to be distracted every few seconds. There are a few basic types of distraction. Usually you will be distracted because you stopped focusing, and your mind begins to jump from thought to thought. You’ll be distracted when you’re in a rush to relax, and you start to think about what else you should be doing. You will be distracted by negative thoughts such as fears, worries, resentments, and dwelling on the past. Finally, you will be distracted by becoming aware of how physically tense you are.
When you are distracted, don't become frustrated, and don’t try to relax your mind. Instead return to focusing on feeling the contact you make with the ground, and you will gradually relax. (Reference: Mind-Body Relaxation)
There are three classic relaxation postures. You can relax lying down, sitting on the floor, or sitting in a chair. They all work equally well. Find a position that is comfortable for you. It’s not about the position. It is about focusing on feeling grounded.
Try relaxing for 20 minutes a day. Start with 10 minutes a day, and let your time grow gradually. If 20 minutes sounds like a long time, consider how much time you waste feeling anxious or angry on a daily basis.
If you practice mind-body relaxation for 20 minutes every day for a year, it will change your life. Mind-body relaxation is not some mystical technique. The benefits of mind-body relaxation are real. It is a medically proven method to relax your body and mind and improve your thinking and health.
Mind-body relaxation is a mirror of your life. Whatever makes you tense in real life, will also make you tense when you try to relax. The way you let go of tension during your mind-body relaxation, is how you will let it go in the rest of your life. This is how it works.
You become aware of how you make yourself tense through negative thinking. If you tend to worry a lot, or if you are fear-based, you will often be distracted by fears when you try to relax. If you tend to anger quickly, you will often be distracted by resentments. You may not even be aware of your tension and how you contribute to it. When you are tense, you tend to focus on other people as the cause of your tension. Focusing on other people is trying to control something that you have no control over.
You develop an emotional memory of how it feels to be relaxed and in the moment so that you can access it later. How can relaxing for 20 minutes a day help you feel relaxed the rest of the day? It is easier to let go of tension and be in the moment if you practiced being relaxed and in the moment earlier in the day. If you reduce your tension, you will feel happier, and that feeling will spill over to the rest of your life.
Once you have practiced mind-body relaxation for a few weeks, do the following experiment to see if it really works. Stop doing mind-body relaxation for a few days. Within a day or two, you’ll begin to lose your emotional memory of being relaxed, and your tension will start to build again. Within a few days, little things will begin to irritate you. A few days later and you’ll be back to your old self.
You don’t learn how to relax. You practice being relaxed. People are able to lower their blood pressure through mind-body relaxation. But if they don’t relax every day, their blood pressure starts to climb again. When you’re under constant stress, you have to work at being relaxed to stay relaxed.
Mind-body relaxation is not just a way to relax, it is a way to change your life. You relax by letting go of the negative thinking that makes you tense. Letting go is what elevates mind-body relaxation from a simple relaxation technique to a coping skill. Let go of your tension and negative thinking, and you will begin to change your life.