How You Can Learn to Finally, Really Relax

How You Can Learn to Finally, Really Relax

Relaxation strategies for the long-term:

  • Classic relaxation techniques include meditation, deep breathing, visualization (e.g., picturing yourself at the beach or another relaxing environment), getting a massage, andprogressive muscle relaxation.P
  • Psychology Today offers this five-step process to change your physiology to quickly make you feel more relaxed. It starts with orienting yourself and feeling more connected to your surroundings, then goes through slowing your breath and coaching yourself into a more relaxed state. P
  • Practice mindfulness, which simply means paying attention to the present moment. Often, it’s hard to relax because your mind is busy somewhere else. Consider enrolling in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program, an eight-week course that teaches people with chronic illnesses or medical conditions how to calm their minds and bodies. P
  • Try something different and active. Maybe a break from the everyday routine to take a painting class or water skiing would be relaxing to you.P
  • Raise your laugh quota. Spend more time with people and things that make you laugh (or convince yourself that everything is funny) and you’ll find greater relaxation and a better mood.P
  • Remind yourself to relax. I’ve always had a hard time falling asleep and relaxing, but lately this one deceptively simple technique has been doing wonders: think of restful language. Often we don’t even realize how tense we are, but thinking or reading words like “relax” and “let go” can turn that all around.P

A dream experience: driving a Bentley Continental GT

I am driving on I-95 northbound on a beautiful, clear morning  behind the wheel of a luxurious dashing green Bentley Continental GT.  The interior looks sexy, handmade craftsmanship with exquisite trimmings.  I put my hand on the soft, contoured dashboard to feel the suppleness of the leather, admire the sophisticated details of this beauty on wheels. It feels real, it screams success! The road beneath me feels smooth like rolling on clouds; I hear nothing but the powerful, fine-tuned engine purring as I step on the gas pedal, feeling like the master of the road. The handling of this vehicle is impressive; firm yet excellent steering response, total control with elegance.  I feel victorious, driving the symbol of refinement and excellence at its best, results of hard work, thriving relationships and profitable businesses. As I grip the hand crafted remarkable soft steering wheel, feeling in command, on top of the world, I accelerate on the open road leaving the ordinary and monotonous behind.

And that’s when the magnificent Bentley Continental GT with its real owner drove off leaving me way in the rear unable to maintain any longer. My old truck tried to keep up with the Bentley for a great distance, while I admired and experienced one of the most fantastic and vivid visualizations I have ever felt. I was transported inside the car, in place of the driver, feeling everything as if I was really driving it. I could see the road in front of me, so present, living it. I could hear and feel the car’s engine, steering and thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in fine luxury of what I think it feels to ride a Bentley and what a fine experience that one was.

How to eliminate a habit

First, I must honestly acknowledge that I want to eliminate that habit. I am going to use “smoking” because I used this method to quit smoking almost 10 years ago. You can cite whatever displeases you, but for starters go with a small problem or habit maybe not too over bearing like smoking but perhaps an attitude that bothers you. I didn’t fully understand what I needed to do or feel but was very eager to experiment with it.

  1. Understand that there can be no doubt on me about quitting smoking, I weighed the consequences, what can happen if I don’t quit, how I was not happy about it and neither the people I love. Next, I forgive myself for not being able to do it before but accepted that now it is the time to do it and thank myself for doing it, in taking this important step. This mental clearing process is fundamental to me to conquer any obstacle that prevents me to be happy. You cannot go on if you half want to change something within you. It is all or nothing. You must be true to yourself because after all you will be the only one getting fooled by your own self as the mind completes the picture one thinks about.
  2. Once the first step is achieved, I go to my IMAX 3-D mind screen to start visualizing. For more information about visualization and own experiments with neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) , see my post about the visualization process . At the center of that screen is my problem or habit to break. I see myself smoking my brand of cigarettes in my favorite place as normal as any memory I can recall in color, the smell of cigarette and taste. I am just watching myself for a moment making sure I can see that.
  3. Now I see that image fading away in color, like when about to shut down your PC, the screen fades to black and white and it is not as clear and as vivid as it was. I see myself still smoking but in black and white. As I inhale, I notice that my cigarette taste like dirt and l just inhale a mouthful of dirt.  The taste gets into my mouth, my teeth, the smell is foul like sewer odor and as I try to puff I start to gag. I am aware of this awful taste, the offensive smell and I can see it, taste it and smell it very vividly, chocking me while I continue to puff. Imagine also waking up next day after heavy smoking with this aftertaste in your mouth.
  4. Now I can see this image of me smoking getting smaller and smaller, grainy, soundless, fading, while the taste and smell of dirt is still vivid in my mind. The picture of me smoking grows smaller and smaller, un-distinctive and I move it to the left of my screen. I then imagine in the center of my screen a colorful vision of me looking fit , smelling good, sounding happy, laughing. My skin and hair looks radiant, my body feels energized y lungs feel clear, I can hear better, smell better and see better, clear, vivid, real. My taste is fresh and I see myself as a healthy human being.
  5. Make these images big, larger than life. My image covered the entire screen and you know IMAX screens are huge. I can see the whiter of my teeth and the healthy texture of my skin in detail, my skin feels and smells so good like a load of fresh laundry. My voice is clear, like a singer striking a high note, strong and confident.

Changes did not happen overnight and that didn’t discourage me. I cut back on my consumption and smoking intervals. Check your feelings constantly, making sure you are committed and not given in to temptation because of problems, work, etc. Use the thought clearing process to anchor your convictions. With practice and determination I did it and now so can you.

Part 3: Visualize- Engage the Senses

My experiences with visualization started when I got involved with NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming and The Silva Mind Control Method. I talk loosely about these subjects as they are complex and take years to fully master it.  As I review these programs I take in the information and put it into practice. I fine-tune it to meet my needs and modify it as I see it fit. This method I am going to talk about worked for me but you may need to adjust it to meet your needs.

In my previous post, I talked about meditation and the sense of awareness. I cover in some detail about visualization so I encourage you to read it.

The visualization process:  I am going back to my huge IMAX 3-D mental movie screen. I have the best sit in the house right center of the screen so I can see and listen to everything so vividly, like no other place. At the center of my screen there is an object. I will visualize a Lemon because that was my first experience. This lemon is at the center of my screen, floating.  I can see it in rich detail as in high definition. Look at the lemon closely; visualize it going around 360 degrees right in front of you, my screen is in 3-D remember but I don’t need special glasses to see my H.D. lemon. I can see the texture of the lemon’s skin, smooth, round, the vivid color of green perfect in every way. I can also touch it and it feels firm, ripe, and ready to eat.  Visualize this, see the details, colors, and feel it as real as it is!

Now I am about to slice the lemon. I have magnificent chef’s knife with a well crafted wood handle and a sharp blade of the highest quality. I am not seeing myself slicing the lemon; the knife is doing it on its own accord, just as I wanted slicing the skin slowly and effortless filling the air with the distinctive lemon aroma. Take a breath, smell it, you know what lemons smell like but you haven’t smell a lemon like this one.  I have now two lemon slices of equal size right in front of me. I can see the pulp of the lemon so vividly, so juicy, so perfect that I can taste it.  I sink my teeth in the lemon and immediately taste the bitterness of this fruit, my eyes water, and my mouth pucker. It feels cold, juicy and sour.

Enjoy this moment, be aware of it, feel it as if real, practice it and you will feel that your mind had created a mental picture of something that was no there and made it real engaging all your senses. When I tried this my mouth puckered and my eyes got watery. I could “see” and feel biting the slice of lemon as if was real because I made it real.

You can come to this state at your command. Remember the mind is ready to put forth whatever we think of and the body will follow. You can use this to attract anything you want, solve any problem you may have, afflictions or to take you wherever you want to be. Possibilities are endless and you can have fun doing it. Most of all, you will feel a change in you. The degree of realizing this depends totally on you, your efforts, beliefs and what you think about. It is different and you may not feel comfortable doing it but do not resist it, let it happen, welcome change to a higher version of you.

Part 2: Breathing and Meditation: Awareness

Over the years, everything that I have come across in any personal growth subject talks at some point about the importance of breathing. It may sound like an oxymoron, but we do take breathing for granted. We go about our day concerned about our problems, stress, etc… and forget that we breathe.  Breathing is everything and does have a lot of influence in relation to a person’s well being and mind state. A calm breath usually indicates a calm mind, in control whereas a rough, superficial breath may suggest a racing mind, out of control, erratic, impulsive and so it is the person.

My experiences with breathing have been through the foundation of breath in Systema, Russian Martial Art, Pranayama Yoga or breathing control techniques and through the work of Dr. Andrew Weil in Breathing, the Master Key of Self Healing. There are many breathing variations, each with many benefits and purpose but for now let’s concentrate on breathing normally without restriction just being aware of your breathing. Sit at a comfortable position, cross legged or leg straight no matter, but with your back straight. If you prefer, you can lay on the floor arms by your side and legs slightly apart. Relax!

Everything starts at the breath, preferably at the exhale.  Breathe in through nose out through the mouth. Sometimes I do better breathing in and out through the nose only, but no matter which at this point.  Take full breaths feeling like the ebb and flow of a wave filling the belly on the inhale and releasing fully on the exhale.

This awareness will immediately point out the areas of tension in your body. Start from the top all the way to your toes. Eventually you will be able to start from any side or part of your body, but to keep it as a routine, start with the head.  Become aware of the areas you feel tension in your head, your temple, and your jaw and neck area. Select the area of tension and continue breathing normally and fully. The breath should never stop. It must be fluid and full. While been aware of the tension in that specific area move your awareness through your breathing and “breathe through” that area of tension. Visualize Breathing in through the tension and on the exhale breathe out the tension. Practice this awareness and breathing until you feel comfortable, peaceful and relaxed.

Practice is only half of the process. Once in relaxation you can start meditation. Move your awareness to your mind, your thoughts. What are you thinking? Is it positive? Something troubles you? Put these thoughts aside for now and replace it with a positive image of you, looking alive, living life in happiness. “See” this through your own eyes; you are looking straight at you. Now, move this awareness to the back of your eyeballs, visualize them at the center of your brain as if you were in the observatory of a tower looking on and beyond through a panoramic view of 180 degrees which are your eyeballs.   You can view it 360 degrees if you want too, it’s your own vision after all, and there are no boundaries. It may take some time to visualize, do not rush it. You want to feel it until it is right how you want it. Some call this place the cave, but you can call it whatever you like, it is your special place of awareness. I have many names for it and use it invariably depending on the situation: the chamber, my corner office with a beautiful view, the center of command like NASA’s mission control or one we see at an action movie. Sometimes I visualize myself in an IMAX movie theater with superb 3-D audiovisual qualities.

The idea to me is being there at the center of my mind looking through my eyeballs, being aware of everything until I become part of everything. Move your awareness to this place.