Relax Into Being
There are times when you’re tired, but napping just isn’t an option. During these moments, you might wonder whether taking a quick rest
—closing your eyes, putting your feet up, and clearing your mind for a couple of minutes—would be beneficial. The answer is yes.
The Perks of Systematic Relaxation
Sometimes referred to as quiet wakefulness, resting with your eyes closed can calm your mind, give at least some of your neurons a break (since you’re not actively thinking or ruminating), and let your muscles and organs relax. It can also reduce stress, improve your mood, and increase alertness, mental clarity, creativity, and motivation. All of these changes can enhance your productivity.
When we enter the deeper stages of relaxation, we get a substantial cognitive boost and helps your cells repair or regenerate themselves, and physiological benefits. The key is to have train your mind to bring your whole self into a relaxed state of being.
Your body and mind need rest. Think of taking a rest as giving yourself a break or time-out from the hectic pace and pressure of daily life. Resting doesn’t even have to be done lying down, although lying down on your back provides the most restful position. There are times when the ability to lye down is not available so in that case you can do it while seated, by focusing on the breath as it moves through the body. The important thing is to give your mind and body a chance to recover and recharge before you drain your vital energy reserves.
Relaxation is a learned response.
How many times have you heard someone say, just relax? Probably many times. But most people don’t know how to relax. Relaxation requires that it be systematic with stability and comfort in mind. It is best to learn from someone who understands the underlying neurological principles of relaxation, so that it is effective at the same time sustainable. You want to have a few things in place.
- A stable and comfortable body. If the body is comfortable, then it is easier to relax. When I say comfortable, I don’t mean without attention, because then you fall asleep. Falling asleep is not relaxing. Keep this in mind.
- A balanced breath. Establishing a breathing pattern that is smooth, even with little to no pause is ideal to bring the nervous system under conscious control. Learn to breathe diaphragmatically. This is essential to eliciting relaxation. There are no shortcuts to this step.
- A process that is repeatable and systematic. In other words, start and end your practice the same way each day. In a systematic relaxation practices, start at the head and work your way to the toes and then back up to the head, making a complete circuit.
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.