The beauty of conscious relaxation is that you get to take care of yourself whenever or wherever you want to relax. However, relaxing isn’t as easy as some may think it is. Some people just don’t relax. Either they are going ‘balls to the wall’ or they are asleep (and the sleep probably isn’t that restful). Sometimes, you have to force yourself to take that step. Make a conscious decision to relax.
1. Take deep, long breaths.
“When the Breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the Breath is still, so is the mind still.”
You need to learn how to breathe. Most people suck in air using the intercostal muscles of their chest, but the right way to breathe is with your diaphragm, also known as belly breathing. This kind of breathing helps you relax and control your heart rate.
This is also known as clavicular, or collarbone breathing. This means you are breathing primarily with the upper chest and lungs. High breathing is shallow and inefficient, since a large amount of oxygen fails to reach the lower lung. This is the worst form of breathing, and it is the one you revert to when stressed or angry.
This is the best possible form of breathing. It utilizes your lower abdomen and diaphragm to pull air in and out of your lungs. To practice low breathing, breathe into your stomach as you suck air through your nose, and your stomach will compress first on your exhale, following the breath up. Your chest and shoulder blades will not move much – only your stomach.
As you might expect, this is somewhere in between high and low breathing. It’s “better” than the former, but not as good as the latter.
There are four phases of proper breathing.
- Inhale: This should be a continuous, long breath.
- Pause & hold: This is a pause before exhaling. You should not move any muscle during this process.
- Exhale: This should be a controlled, relaxed, continuous exhale.
- Pause After Exhaling: This is just like the first pause and starts the cycle over again.
2. Find a place that is quiet that you can do this without interruption.
3. Choose a word or a phrase to focus on.
Something that is important to you. You could use the word “relax”, “quiet time”, “peace”, or whatever appeals to you.
“The right sentence read in the right time can change a person’s life.”
4. Make yourself comfortable.
You can either sit or lie down, whichever one you prefer.
5. Tense your toes.
Start the process from your feet and work your way up. Concentrate on each area until it feels calm and heavy. Tensing and relaxing your toes, you actually draw tension from the rest of the body. Try it!
- Lie on your back, close your eyes.
- Sense your toes.
- Now pull all 10 toes back toward your face. Count to 10 slowly.
- Now relax your toes.
- Count to 10 slowly.
- Now repeat the above cycle 10 times.
6. Be passive.
Do not allow negative thoughts to interfere. If they do enter your mind, just dismiss them. “No problem”, or “Oh well”. There is nothing that you can do at the time and worrying about it will only make your emotional well being worse.
7. Imagine a relaxing situation.
8. Continue on with the breathing, consciously relaxing, and repeating your word(s).
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