Learning to Relax (1)
By: Beth McHugh 2006
Continually stressed to the max? Do you have days when you want the world to just stop? Perhaps learning to relax should be on your agenda: here are some helpful tips on getting back into your comfort zone.
The first thing to remember is that we all know how to relax. We really don’t have to learn how to relax because we are born experts on relaxation. Watch any baby or toddler: these guys have a PhD in chilling out. We, too, once possessed that skill but somewhere along the line, we unlearned it. We may be old dogs now, but we don’t have to learn new tricks. We already possess all the skills we need to relax, we just need to get in touch with them again.
One of the first things you may notice when you watch an infant sleep is the way they breathe. They breathe from their bellies. When they lie down sleeping and draw in a breath, their stomachs rise and fall. This is the correct way to breath all the time: awake or asleep.
Adults seldom breathe correctly, especially stressed ones. Take a moment to notice how you are breathing now. Is the breath going down into your belly, or are you breathing shallowly, with your shoulders rising and falling as you inhale and exhale? Or worse, are you holding your breath? Use this opportunity now to breathe in deeply and slowly. Place your hand on your tummy so that you can feel the breath going down into the base of the lungs and moving the diaphragm. If it feels unusual or uncomfortable breathing down into your belly, it simply means that over the years you have changed your breathing pattern from deep to shallow. This is not a problem, as you can easily retrain yourself to breathe properly, and quickly re-establish the natural, normal breathing patterns of a child.
Next blog: Letting your inner child