Are You Totally Relaxed?
Relaxation is the state of being free from tension and anxiety. Some of us say that we just need to loosen up, unwind a bit and let go. A scientist would define relaxation, “to restore a system to equilibrium or balance”. I prefer to use the scientific definition because it is inline with the healing force. That is, to bring our system back into balance or homeostasis.
Relaxation is a learned response and must be done systematically to reap its full benefits. When we enter the deeper stages of relaxation, we get a substantial cognitive boost, our cells repair or regenerate themselves, and our body reaps physiological benefits. With this in mind, the key is be able to bring your whole being into a relaxed state.
As I mentioned in the last blog, to relax we need to have a few things in place.
- A stable and comfortable body. If the body is comfortable, then it is easier to relax.
- A balanced breath with little to no pause to regulate the nervous system and
- A process that is repeatable and systematic.
Although I am partial to a systematic practice because of its complete benefits, you can choose something that resonates with you. The key is to just take action and establish a habit of relaxation, whether it be 5 or 10 minutes, once or twice per day. Keep in mind that there are 5 levels of relaxation and their practices. These are:
1. Physical Relaxation
Physical relaxation is for the body. Relaxing the physical body :
- Promotes balance to the nervous system
- Calms the mind
- Produces emotional stability
- Is managed with exercise and stretching
This is the most known to everyone. This happens when we let go of bodily tension. One great way to release physical tension is to exercise with stretching. Yoga is one such example and a great way to release physical tension.
2. Nervous System relaxation for our central and peripheral nervous system.
This is a bit more complex practice and relies on the ability to breathe diaphragmatically.
When we use our diaphragm muscle to breath rather than our chest muscles, we keep stress in check. It balances the inner organs, regulates heart rate, blood pressure, gastrointestinal motility and our overall vital energy.
3. Emotional Relaxation
Do you consider yourself overly emotional? Emotional Relaxation brings stability in our moods. It is managed by our desires. When we get what we want we tend to be happy, when we don’t, we create a negative emotion. We can manage our emotions by paying attention to the source of all our desires—our wants and needs. Other practices to consider to relax emotionally is to let go of chronic negative feelings by journaling, self talk, finding the root cause, working with the physical body through yoga asana because the mind and body are one.
4. Mental Relaxation
Mental Relaxation builds resilience. A tense mind is one that is disturbed, distracted and stupefied. To overcome the three conditions of a tense mind, we can use the practice of mindfulness and meditation. Learning to direct and focus our awareness allows a mind to be relaxed—clear, tranquil and one pointed. These are the three qualities of a person who is established in being.
5. Spiritual Relaxation
Do you know your purpose in Life? To know your purpose in life you experience spiritual relaxation. You are established in being and are able to take action on what you set out to do. Seeing yourself with a purpose in life allows you to connect to your core of being and then no matter what obstacle falls on the path, you have the resilience to move on without much difficulty. Spiritual relaxation is managed with meditation and should be learned with a systematic method to give sustainable results.
What is the outcome of relaxing into being on all 5 levels?
- Acceptance of what is
- Tolerance of yourself and others
- Intuition & Clarity
- Resilience and Endurance to day to day happenings
- Joy while living in the moment
- Positive Thoughts
When any of these levels are out of balance we experience a mind hijack and become out of balance. When we learn to focus our awareness— a sequence to focus the energy of our mind— we are able to access and experience all 5 levels.