Relaxation - Exploring Various Techniques to Achieve a Relaxed State
One of the definitions of relaxation is "a feeling of refreshing tranquility and an absence of tension or worry" (the freedictionary.com). Allowing the body to relax, allowing the mind to cleanse and allowing the tension and stress to melt away is a foreign world to many people. Looking around and seeing the lifestyles of people and families and how they are always "on the go", have their time filled up with doing things and having to go here and there of do this or that, I wonder if the art of relaxation has been totally forgotten in our culture. And I wonder how much this activity and busy-ness plays on our health. Anxiety and panic attacks are common in our culture. Chronic anxiety and stress can lead to a multitude of physical problems and certainly decrease the enjoyment and abundance of life.The quest to move up the corporate ladder, earn more and more and have more and more, and accomplish are not bad things in and of themselves,but that keeps the body in a constant state of tension. Learning the art of relaxation may certainly be a vital factor in enhancing overall health. Relaxation can also be a state that is learned and practiced on a regular basis.It is well worth pursuing.
One of the simplest ways to promote relaxation fairly quickly is deep breathing. Taking slow deep breaths in and out and keeping the mind focused on the breathing can lower stress levels and put the mind and body at relative ease. It is sometimes easier said than done, and some folks dismiss the fact of how truly effective this can be because of the utter simplicity of the action--breathing! This is totally free and can be done anywhere such as in the slow, slow grocery line when you are in a dire hurry, in rush hour traffic when you are late for an appointment,when you are about to give the make-it-or-break-it speech to the biggest client yet, or when the children are on your last nerve and you just need a real break!
A variation of the above is to sit comfortably and simply take a 5-10 minute break focusing on breathing in and out and doing this every day, making a habit of it. As the mind wanders, and it will, allow the thoughts that come to your mind to easily pass on through and non-judgmentally bring the focus back to your breathing.
Another way to promote relaxation is called progressive relaxation and entails getting into a position of comfort and progressively tightening and relaxing different groups of muscles while envisioning yourself progressively becoming lighter and lighter until you have reached a state of total relaxation. One of the things that can be done with this process is to put a word to the state once you reach the relaxation stage, and like Paslov's behavior modification theory, once you have adequately "trained" yourself to be in a state of relaxation,you can call on the word and your body will remember that state. This takes some time and effort, but can come in quite handy when you feel tension and anxiety rising.
Water has long been a way to promote relaxation and if you have a swimming pool or spa hot tub accessible, climbing in and settling your body in the water has an ahh feeling of relaxation. Allowing the water to hold your body and allowing the body just to float in the water has a certain amount of relaxation in and of itself. If there are massaging jets, placing the body in a position to receive the soothing pressure of the jets on the back, neck or other muscles has a relaxing effect all its own.
Massage is another way that promotes relaxation. There are massage chairs and other equipment in which you can use if you are alone, but most of the time, a massage requires another person to perform the massage. There are many different kinds of massage and, depending on the purpose of the massage, some promote more relaxation than others.
Another way that promotes relaxation is a far infrared sauna. Simply sitting in the sauna with maybe some soft music and allowing the body to heat,mobilize and release toxins has a certain relaxation feeling. As with some of the other relaxation methods outlined, simply changing modes to slowing down, sitting and allowing the relaxation to occur is a feat in and of itself.
Regular practice of deep breathing, massage, or using a spa hot tub and/or a far infrared sauna, alone or in combination, can go far in promoting a far more relaxed and healthy state of being that can carry over to your family life, business or professional life, and recreational life. It can promote a more clear state of mind and thinking as well as improved cellular health that can enhance both short term as well as long term health in a very positive way.