A simple way to relax the mind for free, without a vacation
April 15, 2014
Recently, I was lucky enough to go on vacation, and escape London for a few days. I know how lucky I am to be able to do this. In these tough times, many people are struggling to pay the mortgage, put food on the table and still have money left over for some fun and relaxation.
What was interesting was something my partner said as we were in Gatwick Airport. “It’s funny isn't it? To relax and switch off, we need to get away from our daily life”. It struck something inside me and set off a train of thought about the accepted idea in modern life that to escape our daily grind, we need to board a plane, and lay ourselves on a beach or next to a swimming pool for a week or two.
Using relaxation techniques however, we are able to escape our daily grind much more frequently, easily and cheaply. We can use visualisation and our imagination to whisk ourselves away, at least in our mind, for a few minutes everyday. I know its not as comfortable as being beside a pool in a warm climate, but using simple relaxation techniques can have significant benefits on our stress levels, blood pressure and ability to deal with difficult situations. It can also significantly improve your mood.
Here is a little exercise for you to practice in your own time. You only need 5 minutes. Focus on a spot in front of you, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Take another deep breath and this time, as you exhale slowly, let your eyes close. Imagine you are standing in front of a flight of 10 steps going downwards (or upwards if you prefer). As you descend/ascend each step, you begin to feel more and more relaxed right through your body. All tension is released and your muscles and nerves feel completely relaxed. As you reach the last step, you enter a state of profound relaxation where you are completely at ease with yourself, and a warm blanket of relaxation is wrapped around you.
In this relaxed state, take yourself anywhere you feel most relaxed, whether it is on a beach, on the side of a mountain or in a forest – wherever you feel safe, comfortable and able to turn loose. Allow your mind to drift on whatever thoughts or ideas it wants to, and if you get distracted or an obtrusive thought comes in your mind, acknowledge it and allow it to float out again. Don’t get too caught up trying to attain perfect relaxation with zero distracting thoughts.
Allow your mind to connect with your body. If you have pains in your body, like a headache or joint pain, explore the area with your mind and connect to it. You might be surprised what your body tells you when you attempt to connect with it!
Or use the opportunity to give yourself some positive suggestion. Tell yourself you are feeling healthy, strong and well in every way, throughout your body, and that you can handle any upcoming challenges calmly, easily and with confidence. Or simply use it to relax deeply and easily, cleansing your body internally and improving the internal balance of your body and the performance of your internal organs.
The more you do this, the more easily you will find it to access your special place of comfort and relaxation. You can even program yourself to touch a certain part of your body to quickly slip into your place of relaxation, without the need for counting down, such as your ear lobe or a finger.
When you have relaxed enough, or your 5 minutes are up, simply count yourself up from 1 to 5, becoming more awake, more alert and on 5, your eyes are open and you are fully alert.
I am quite confident that doing this regularly and improving at it will greatly help you de-stress, relax more, manage pain, improve sleep – in fact, it will help in whatever you want to focus on and improve! Remember, your mind will respond to whatever you suggest to it – the power of the mind is that strong.