When I am visiting my clients I think to myself, “Slow down and relax.” They are often already dealing with anxiety and I feel like I shouldn’t show up with all of my busyness and commotion. I see their lives changing and I don’t want to make it harder for them than it needs to be. I want them to be able to relax and trust that I can help them.
Relaxing is easier said than done sometimes. Here are a couple ideas that may help you as you try to relax. Remember anything you do will be more effective the longer you have been practicing and the more frequently you do it.
First, you should practice deep breathing. This is the easiest way to relax your entire body. It allows fresh oxygen to reach every part of your body. By taking big deep breaths, you take in fresh air to your lungs and the carbon dioxide that has been in your body is released. You should really focus on slow breathing. Take four seconds to breath in through your nose and hold for seven seconds. Breathe out through your mouth for eight seconds. You should be able to see your stomach and diaphragm movements as you do this.
Second, use relaxing visualizations. To demonstrate how powerful this idea is answer this question; Have you ever bit into a lemon? Do you remember how it tastes as the sour juice sprays into your mouth as you bite down? I bet you do remember, and right now you are salivating and your nostrils are flaring as you think about it.
This kind of reaction to a form of simple guided imagery is an example of how a powerful your mind is. You can also focus your mind on things that will help your body to relax. Meditation and prayer are forms of focused thinking that are commonly used. This type of thinking activates the prefrontal cortex of your brain and brings focus and stability to your thoughts.
Another powerful way to relax is to focus on your muscle groups. Starting at your toes, flex your muscles tightly for 10 seconds and then completely relax them. Work your way up by repeating these steps for your calf muscles, then you quadriceps, and your abdomen and shoulders. When you have finished think about how each muscle group responded to being flexed and relaxed.
Last, Consider adding exercise to your life. The benefits of exercise is well documented, but it always seems to be the most difficult to do. I recommend making something your already doing part of your exercise regimen. Like going grocery shopping on a weekly basis could become a long walk. You can park further away from the front door and take a tour of the store before getting a cart. Attaching a new exercise to an old habit is a great way to succeed.
Taking time to rest your spirit, mind and your body is healthy. As our lives change in ways that we often do not wish or hope they will, it is one thing that we can control. Controlling how we relax has a positive impact on our attitude. And I’m told that a good attitude is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you make of it. Make it a great one!