It’s true: relaxation is something that you have to practice. As irritating as this may seem at first. But in this blog post, I’m going to teach you how to practice relaxation simply and quickly.
Why We Need To Practice Relaxation
This isn’t because relaxation is elusive or you’re just not the kind of person who relaxes (though, both may seem true from your perspective at the moment).
This is because as Aristotle tells us, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Similarly, relaxation is not an act, but a habit.
Likewise, Archilochus, a Greek soldier from ~650 B.C.E., said something that has since become part of the lore of warfare: “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” (Read more about this in my blog post, “We Fall to the Level of our Training”.)
In other words, if you just hope to relax without training yourself to do so, it will be very hard. Just like it would take a tremendous amount of will for a coward to become a hero, so too, it’d take a tremendous amount of will for a high strung person to relax at will.
First, you must learn how to practice relaxation and then practice relaxation. Then, and only then, can you relax at will.
Thus, the question becomes: how can you practice relaxation?
How To Practice Relaxation
There are many ways to practice relaxation, but let’s face it, you don’t have a ton of time to waste.
So, here are a few quick, simple ways to relax in ten minutes or less:
Use Deep Breaths To Practice Relaxation
breath more deeply for (at least) 3-5 minutes while focusing on your breath: many people breath from their chests, but this can cause a shortness of breath that can elevates stress and anxiety. In fact, a leading theory on panic attacks is that they are caused by anxiety + shallow breathing.
So, when breathing–especially to relax–remember that a deep breath should start in your stomach and end at the top of the shoulders: push the belly button out in front of you, expand the chest, and lift your shoulders. If you’re particularly tense, you’ll likely feel a bit of a stretch as you breathe like this.
Pay attention to your breath and release any other thoughts that arise. At first this may be very hard. Just keep at it, it may take some practice.
In this video, I explain how to breathe deeply (and yes, I have a long-haired cat that loves to sit in my lap at home so much I don’t think about it until I’m editing video! — My office is hypo-allergenic, however):
How To Breathe While Doing Breathing Exercises
Use Breathing Exercises To Practice Relaxation
do breathing exercises for (at least) 3-5 minutes: my favorite breathing exercise to teach clients is a simplified version of a qigong exercise called the Microcosmic Orbit. Many people find this process deeply hypnotic.
It’s very simple: sit in a chair and focus your attention (as much as possible) on the feeling of sitting on the chair (“root chakra”). As you do, breathe in deeply. Hold your breath for a count of three. Release and wait three seconds before breathing deeply again. Repeat.
In this video, I teach the Microcosmic Orbit process more thoroughly:
How To Do The Microcosmic Orbit – A Simple Breathing Exercise
Use The Gratitude Game To Practice Relaxation
focus on gratitude: play “the gratitude game” — think about all of the things you’re grateful for in your life or immediate experience and why you’re grateful for them. This may seem foolish at first, but the more you think about the things you’re grateful for, the more your mood and perception changes.
In this video (part of my Mastering Monday series), I teach you how to play in more depth:
How To Feel Better With The Gratitude Game – Mastering Monday 3
Use Hypnosis To Practice Relaxation
check out shorter, less deep hypnosis: on my YouTube channel, I post shorter, less intensive hypnosis audios and paraliminals. “Calm, Comfortable, Carefree” (a free 40 minute hypnosis audio for stress relief) takes the time to help you deeply relax and work on releasing stresses.
But this video “Relaxation Hypnosis” helps you to get a bit more relaxed in ten minutes
I wonder which of the above methods you find most helpful… When would be the best time to focus on breathing more deeply for 3-5+ minutes? Would the Microcosmic Orbit help you relax at times that normally give you minor stress or anxiety? When could you next take a minute and focus on gratitude? Could you take ten minutes and watch a YouTube hypnosis video?
By the way, if you combine the Microcosmic Orbit and focusing on gratitude, you’ll create a very powerful relaxation experience similar to self-hypnosis.
(And notice as well, if anything is blocking your relaxation. These things are important to know for later…)
Now that I’ve given you these methods, I wish to propose an existential experiment: take 1 of the above methods to relax and do it daily for a week for 10 minutes at a day (5 in morning, 5 in evening is fine). Later on, combine them if you want, but for now, just choose one. It’s a minor change, but for now, that’s a good thing. Small, simple, definitely doable.
Contact me and let me know how that works for you: (720) 432-1806.
And if you’d like to explore more about how 180 Theory can help you with stress relief hypnosis, check out our services page on stress relief hypnosis or this audio: