Many people think of relaxation as optional, or as a luxury, or as doing nothing. If you have such a mindset, you might find that it is helpful to re-think your perception so that you make relaxation as important as other items on your to-do list.
Consider your current relationship to relaxation. Here are a few questions to prime the pump:
I’m not suggesting that you turn this into a big analysis. My intention is to help you to get in touch with your mindset about relaxation. I am encouraging you to gather mindful information. I am also encouraging you to relax regularly so that you experience a life-changing empowering practice.
Start where you are. When you acknowledge your starting place, it’s easier to know what the most appropriate next step is for you. For example, you can start by relaxing for 60 seconds every hour.
When I suggest that people spend 60 seconds to relax every hour, I usually suggest that they do intentional breathing. This is especially helpful for those who associate relaxation with "doing nothing," so I give the assignment to "do something": breathe! To breathe intentionally for 3 breaths — even when you take long and slow breaths — rarely takes as long as 60 seconds.
There are many other valid focal points in addition to or instead of the breath for a 60-second, regular relaxation. Visual focal points such as a beautiful view from a window or a favorite picture or icon can hold your attention and prompt relaxation. The chosen visual, of course, needs to be something you associate in some way to relaxing.
Listening to a brief music clip or closing your eyes to listen to the silence or music from inside can also stimulate relaxation when that’s your intention.
You may find it helpful to give attention to your shoulders or your forehead or your neck — anywhere you typically hold tension — so that you can tighten and then relax the muscles. Simple as this is, you may not be aware of the stress you carry until you take a few seconds to notice by tightening and then relaxing the muscles.
People who meditate regularly find it easier to relax. People who relax regularly find it easier to meditate. Relaxing and meditating are not the same, but certainly one can be used in place of the other for somewhat similar benefits.
So, when is the next time you will relax?
I have recorded many guided meditations.
My free guided mediations are under 5 minutes.
My other Guided Meditations are longer,
promoting relaxation and other positive benefits.