Learn to Relax
Relaxation is a skill that can be perfected.
We're born knowing how to relax. Babies
instinctively relax and sleep when their bodies and minds need a
break. Over the years, we learn to control our urges to sleep or
relax, since we must remain alert as we attend school, learn
professions, go to work, or care for a family. We often spend
years conditioning ourselves to work and perform despite
feelings of tiredness. In many ways this is appropriate, but it
can impair our ability to actually let go and relax when
we want to.
Relaxation is also a uniquely individual
activity. While some may find sports relaxing, others find them
stressful. Napping or reading a good book might be your idea of
relaxation, but the inactivity might drive your best friend
crazy. Finally, many people need, or want, a structured
relaxation program, such as a course in meditation, martial
arts, or yoga, while others prefer to be spontaneous and avoid
structure at any cost.
Tips for the Relaxation-Impaired
- A good exercise to try is the "Relaxation
Response" technique. Although this method requires some
practice, it has been used for decades as an aid in
relaxation and symptom improvement in various medical
conditions such as high blood pressure.
- Practice other positive health habits.
Stay healthy even when stressed out. The healthier your body
is, the better it can function in all areas including
relaxation. An exhausted, burnout state isn't going to bring
on healing, strengthening relaxation.
- You might have to force yourself to take
emotional "time out" for relaxation. This, too, is a skill
you can develop and perfect. Practice shutting out stressful
thoughts and images for a few minutes at a time to start
- Accept help. There are lots of good
resources to help you get control of your stress.