Does your mind ever run too fast for you to keep up? It might be time to relax. Do you ever clench your jaw and get annoyed at people for speaking too slowly? It’s time to relax. Have you ever looked in the mirror only to see a bug-eyed, frazzled version of yourself staring back at you? Ok, now it’s definitely time to relax. But, how?
To find stillness in the midst of chaos is a challenge. However, by overcoming the greatest obstacles, we reap the greatest rewards. To name a few, relaxing is directly correlated with a slower heart rate, decreased stress hormone production, improved energy and mood and even fatigue reduction. So, less stress directly leads to health, happiness and, in some cases, more money (because you won’t need to make three trips to the coffee shop every day).
Utilize these four foundational steps to find relaxation:
Step 1: Close your eyes.
Find a comfortable seat and close your eyes. The inability to close one’s eyes shows a heightened state of stress. If you want to feel less anxious, take time to seal your eyelids down.
Step 2: Breathe through your nose .
With your eyes closed, breathe in and out of your nose and only your nose. Forget the shallow breaths and breathe deeply.
Yogis practice ujjayi breath, also known as victorious breath. This audible technique releases frustration and calms the nervous system. To practice this, take a deep inhale through your nose and then exhale while constricting the back of your throat. A better name for this mechanism might be Darth Vader breath because, when done correctly, you should sound like you’re breathing through a mask.
Step 3: Let your body be heavy.
You may notice that, while you were focused on keeping your eyes closed and breathing deeply, your muscles tensed up. Use steps 1 and 2 as tools to give yourself permission to be heavy. Imagine every bone and muscle sinking down into the floor or chair.
Step 4: Be still.
Use steps 1-3 to sit in stillness. Fidgeting indicates stress. See if you can sit in complete quietude. Set a timer if it helps. Start with a minute and then work your way up.
Continue to remind yourself to keep your eyes closed, breathe deeply through your nose and let your body be heavy as find your inner tranquility. When you open your eyes, you’ll be ready to take on the world with your heightened clarity and happier heart.
Time to take control by letting go of control. In other words, just relax!