Meditation Series #6: Chill Out Man
Learning to Relax is the subject of this week's meditation series. Funny, it seems counter-intuitive to think you have to learn to relax. But most of us (Americans/Westerners) have to really try to relax. In contrast, the Italians cherish “La Dolce Far Niente.” The sweetness of doing nothing.
I'm sure you have encountered a friend or family member who tells you to just relax. Don’t you just love that? Telling someone to just relax is like telling someone who is allergic to just stop being allergic.
Some of us are more nervous than others and it is just a part of our genetic makeup. However, we certainly are not doomed to be that way forever; we can change our focus and perception and truly learn how to relax.
For some of us, being relaxed is natural, and for others, it is a learned behavior. That is the beauty of relaxing - if you do not know how you can learn! It may take some trial and error, but it certainly is a learnable characteristic.
With time and practice you, too, can "just relax."
The first step is to DECIDE. Everything starts with a decision. It is a very powerful thing to d. Although, often time, we don't realize it.
Once you have decided to incorporate relaxation into your life, the next step is to take action. A great way to learn how to relax is to practice meditation. There are several forms of meditation and any library, YoutTube or Google search can get you started.
If yoga is your choice of relaxation, then grab a mat and a class or a DVD maybe. Even go all out and buy yourself a yoga outfit. Again, there are tons of free classes on YouTube for all levels and styles. I would suggest a Yin or Restorative style practice for the goal of relaxation.
One of the most important tools to gather, however, is the tool of time. Schedule your relaxation session and let everyone know that you are not to be disturbed. If your family wants a happy you, then they need to respect that space. If staying home and trying to relax proves to be fruitless, join an exercise, yoga or meditation class. In the Yogic tradition, the asanas (the postures & movement) were designed to prime you for the meditation or stillness practice. Maybe you need to physically exhaust yourself to be able to appreciate true relaxation.
Another successful tip for learning to relax is applicable to any situation. When you grab a friend and incorporate them into the equation, you give yourself a partner to whom you must answer. Accountability! Yay!
Having someone to answer to is golden. When you only have yourself to answer to, it is too easy to make excuses and blow thing off. A good friend, however, will not let you get away with that. Lovingly, of course.
Next, it is very important to create a time, a space, and a place for your relaxation mode of choice. Choose a designated spot, perhaps in your bedroom where you can close the rest of the world out or the meditation space we discussed previously.
Make a small corner of that room available for your yoga mat, something serene to look at on the wall, and maybe even some candles. This space and ritual will encourage you to stick with your commitment to yourself, as it will allow you to commit to the art and act of relaxation.
Learning to relax is something that is very doable if you just put in a little time and effort.
If you enjoyed this post and are wanting to THRIVE, not just survive, consider working with me as your personal health coach. Together we will make an actionable plan based on where you are and where you want to be. All of my plans include a comprehensive health history, food plan, recipes, shopping lists and a plethora of support materials, not to mention all the mindfulness tools & techniques I teach you to put those gremlins to rest for good!
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- Dr. Lara
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