Have you ever been told to, “just relax”? This well-meaning piece of advice is one of the more useless directives that can come our way. Sure it’s probably true that in that moment, and many others, that we do need to relax. However, when we’re in the grip of fear, anxiety, or anger, relaxing is often the hardest thing to do and it’s definitely not something we can pull off “just” like that – like choosing the 2% milk over the skim milk.
You see, relaxing is not always easy. It is not something that most of us can just switch on and off. Especially in our high-speed, over-scheduled, multi-tasking world, relaxing needs to be practiced. Mercifully, there are many ways to practice relaxation. Some of the healthier approaches include, yoga, meditation, prayer, Reiki, massage, acupuncture, and many others.
The more we practice relaxation the easier it is to call up this relaxed response. It becomes like muscle memory for an athlete or musician, through practice the muscles remember how to throw the ball and reach for the chord. The same is true for relaxation. The more we practice it the easier it is for our bodies to relax, for our muscles to sink down and release, for our heart rate to slow, for our breath to deepen, for our minds to see the positive opportunity, and for our spirits to connect to the calm deep within us.
Once, while in the dentist chair for a particularly long stretch of dental work, I had my hands on my upper legs and continued to offer myself Reiki and to send Reiki energy into the room. As I sat in the chair, I felt the peace of a deep savasana (the relaxation pose at the end of a yoga class). Every muscle in my body became heavy and I felt deeply attached to the chair. My breath was slow and deep even as the noise, pressure, and drilling continued around me I was able to relax.
Can I do this all the time? Hey, I’m not perfect, but I do know that this is the dividend from consistent practice of relaxation techniques in whatever form you practice them (Reiki, meditation, yoga, etc., etc.). The payoff is that in the chaos of the external world, in the pressures put on ourselves from our demanding lives and our perfectionist minds, there is a place of peace.
The queue for me is not the phrase, “just relax,” – in my mind, it’s usually, “Breathe” or “Notice” or “Reiki, Reiki, Reiki” but these queues help me quickly access the relaxation that I have been practicing on a daily basis.
So, what works for you? How do you, “just relax”?
Wishing you the peace of the universe!