One of the best benefits of being a writer is learning about a subject you are intending to inform your readers about while not being an expert. Ideally, we have a reservoir of knowledge from which we draw, but speaking for myself, I have an incomplete education on so many things I want to share that I can hardly help informing others without informing myself.
One of my favorite books comes to mind. I’m referring to Illusions by Richard Bach. His tongue-in-cheek treatment of the job of a Messiah is based on a fictional book he was given titled Messiah’s Handbook & Reminders for the Advanced Soul. One passage from the book states “Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, teachers.”
With that as justification for doing an article on the art of relaxation when I am not a master of it myself, I forge ahead, armed with some excellent information that may help if you’re in need of it.
Is Relaxation Natural?
I dare say it is a natural state. Our brains are versatile enough to help guide us through dangerous situations by substituting in non-relaxed emotions. This is definitely a survival mechanism. However, we are talking about times when we are at rest and not in danger.
Being stressed is a reaction to perceived or imagined threats to survival. It can manifest in many environments, including confrontation with a grizzly bear, confrontation with an employer, a shortage of money and many more scary scenarios.
When we are freed from places and situations that pose danger, we will relax if we haven’t already entered onto a spectrum of mental illness. One of the symptoms of this condition is worry when nothing is threatening us in the moment. When we look upon a gorgeous sunset, smell a pine forest or listen to the crashing waves of an ocean, we should return to a state in which nature soothes whatever ails us.
The Science in the Art
Learning how to relax can be a difficult task for those who have become accustomed to having their nerves on edge. Some can even become addicted to it. There’s been a need for relaxation for many centuries and ancient practices were devised by wise people throughout time to help calm us down. I would like now to share some techniques which I’ve found from various sources.
Businessinsider.com published an article in 2013 that suggested 10 proven ways to relax. Clearly, people in business need to relax. Among the 10, there were such interesting techniques as listening to mellow music, having a makeout session, watching a funny movie, taking a yoga class, eating chocolate and creating a mental trigger. This last means to decide upon and do some particular routine before tackling a strenuous activity. For instance, one could focus on a stone or other object that brings comfort. Or, doing some jumping jacks could shed some anxiety. Also, ignoring your phone is one of the 10 with promise.
In his book Change Your Brain Change Your Life, Dr. Daniel G. Amen has reported that the basal ganglia in the brain set the anxiety level of the individual. He has written prescriptions for setting or resetting our basal ganglia to a relaxed, healthy level. He instructs taking 20 to 30 minutes per day to train relaxation through guided imagery. We can focus on imagining our safe haven where all is ideal according to our own customized wishes. He gives other prescriptions such as diaphragmatic breathing and training the mind to stop automatic negative thoughts. There are others. He provides detailed routines that have been successful for his patients.
One of the most common methods to bring about relaxation is meditation. These are usually accompanied by breathing exercises that help calm us. This is one of those ancient techniques that has brought deep relaxation to many.
Take it Easy
There is an abundance of techniques that could be a solution for you. Find your way to something that makes sense, hopefully a tried and true method proven through use over many years. And may you find peace in your application.