We live such stressful lives that most of us actually have to learn how to relax these days. Are you one of those people who needs to fill every moment with something ‘useful’, can’t stand to be kept waiting, or gets furious at how long it takes for the lift to arrive? If so, you need to learn to relax and rest a little. Your stress and your blood pressure will come down, you’ll stop being in ‘alarm mode’ with your muscles and mind alert and ready for action, and your whole self will be able to rest and refresh itself. If you have any doubts whatsoever about the effects on your body of being tense, then just clench your fist for 20 seconds and observe carefully what happens to the circulation in it. Notice those white patches? And the red bits? That happened in 20 seconds. Think what happens to your neck, spine, shoulders, etc. by having your shoulders constantly raised, your muscles tensed — often for years. Time to do it differently if you don’t want to end up with a stiff, aching body and a similarly rigid mind.
And what about your mind? Well, the same holds true. If you don’t relax and allow yourself time to just be, to think, to ponder and smell the roses, then you’re not only missing a great deal of the pleasure of life, but you’re also missing out on a good deal of the natural function of your brain, the really creative stuff, which usually only comes to the fore when you’re not actively doing anything.
Whether you choose to learn a specific relaxation technique, to shut your eyes and listen to a favourite piece of music or to use a relaxation or meditation tape or CD, please do take at least 20 minutes a day and relax.
Meditation or Spiritual Practice
Some people may feel that relaxation and meditation go together. That can be the case, but not necessarily. There are so many benefits from meditating regularly- that it really deserves a separate place of its own. Some would say, if you can add only one more thing to your routine (you are a busy person after all!) then the thing to choose would be meditation.
There are numerous ways to meditate, from the very simple to the elaborate. If you want to learn transcendental meditation, you will usually need to go to a Meditation Centre to do so. However, there are many books on the market to teach you or you could use a meditation tape as a guide to begin with.
From lowering your blood pressure, to improving your circulation, from helping your memory to relieving stress related illness, meditation has a better track record than any medication. It has been well researched over the years and we would highly recommend that you try it. Always start with some conscious breathing if only for a minute or two and then allow yourself to suspend the day, and all that it contains. Soon you will be able to find a place of absolute peace and silence that already exists inside/you. Wonderful!
If you belong to some church, synagogue or other religious community, then you’ ‘probably familiar with religious practice, if not necessarily spiritual. You could have a spiritual moment watching a sunset, singing your baby to sleep or walking in a forest. Sitting on the beach, listening to music or silently holding someone’s hand may lift you to that place of blissful peak experience. Whatever is good for you, try to treat yourself to it regularly and enjoy. It will enhance your life and health.