Learning to relax equals learning to be happy. Being happy is the foundation for a healthy life. Life – Stress = Health + Happiness. Pretty simple math, or so it seems.
There have been times when I wished I could just hold up my hand and call for a time out. Just make everything stop. The noise, the traffic the talking, the thinking, just make it all stop. Then I would have a moment to breaaaaathe! Just take a deep breath, feel the air fill my lungs and enjoy exhaling it back into the world, together with all that tension I’ve accumulated. Honestly, you HAVE felt like this before and you know it. Everybody has.
Also Read: Early Warning Signs of Teenage Mental Health
We are driven to stress by our environment, our jobs, our kids, our friends, traffic and, of course, ourselves. Yes, we contribute as well. It’s nobody’s fault that we worry about this or that. That is something only we can influence. So, maybe, I should rephrase the sentence about stress to: We make our own stress and blame it on our environment, our jobs, our kids, our friends and the traffic. Yes, I think this is much more accurate and to the point.
Why am I telling you this? Because I truly believe we can eliminate the stress we cause ourselves just by breathing. Have you ever had your mind racing and you were doing things without even realizing it because your head was spinning with all the things you still had to do? I have and guess what? You can stop that. I read that the Dalai Lama has a simple piece of advice when you’re thinking in circles “Drop the Thought”.
It works for me and it can work for you. This is how I do it:
- Just imagine you are writing that nagging thought on a sheet of paper
- now crumple the paper up
- and throw it in the trash.
It may sound silly but you can train yourself to stop thinking unnecessary thoughts and focus on what’s really important.
When I think “ok, I can’t take anymore,” that’s when I realize I’m doing it again, overthinking. Now that I’ve recognized the problem, I can deal with it. How do I do that? Very simple. I sit down in a comfortable position (on a chair, the couch, the floor, on the toilet at work, it really doesn’t matter), close my eyes and I start consciously breathing. I concentrate on the sensation of the cool air slowly being drawn up through my nostrils, slowly getting warmer, as it fills my lungs.
Then I hold my breath for the count of 10 (if you can only hold your breath to the count of three that’s fine too) and slowly exhale through my mouth, while concentrating on the feeling of the warmed air rising up from my lungs and exiting through my mouth. Do this a few times until you feel you are becoming more relaxed, and you will become more relaxed.
Once you get to that point just think (visualize) that you are inhaling light and peace (sounds corny but it works), while you are holding your breath imagine releasing this feeling of light and peace into your body. Now imagine you are collecting all the stress and negativity into the cavity of your mouth and then exhale, letting it all leave your body. You can physically feel the relaxation kicking in.
You don’t believe me? There’s only one way to know for sure; try it. Seeing, or in this case feeling, is believing. You’ll be HAPPY you did. The body and the mind are an intricate duo. They need each other to be whole. If you’re unhappy it will reflect in your body, your health. The same goes if you’re happy. There is truth in the saying “Laughing is the best Medicine”.
Go ahead, breathe, and relax into another wonderful day!