The Daily Good Feeling: Relaxation

cropped-pool-690034.jpgFor years it was impossible for me to relax completely. Maybe you can relate… I was struggling with various levels of anxiety: sometimes they veered into light flutters of nervousness, other times into spirals of depression – and everything in between.

Even on the best days, even during the best moments, a certain level of fear was still there, like a speck of chewing gum stuck in the grooves of a shoe.

I fought that fear mightily. I went to shrinks. I read self-help. And it got better… then it fluctuated. Again.

To put it simply: I could never quite relax. Not 100%.

Too many “what if’s”.

It seemed decadent. The world is suffering… somewhere… somehow…

Somebody, up there, was watching and if “they” caught me slacking off… well then…

And STILL.

There was something inside of me that wanted to relax.

Profoundly.

With every pore of my being.

One blessed day, I got the bright idea of going back in time, as far back as I could, to a moment when I was completely, entirely relaxed. I did find that moment – before the age of seven, in the garden of my grandmother, under the big chestnut tree.

I had the good sense of staying there for a while and that moment began reverberating through my many levels of anxiety.

Then, another blessed day, I healed in ten minutes (and with the help of an incredibly talented therapist) THE source of my great and big anxiety: the moment I had found out my father died.

I don’t mean to bring you down… only to point out a couple of things:

  1. there was a time when you could relax completely.
  2. if you cannot relax anymore, it is because something happened that left you with anxiety.

But it can be healed.

In the meantime, cultivating relaxation is a worthwhile thing to do – and very much doable.

10 Ideas for Cultivating Relaxation

  1. The obvious: a hot bath, a massage, a foot rub… you know what you need.
  2. Think back to a relaxing time: a moment on the beach, or in a forest, or in a hammock…
  3. Literally talk to your body and gently tell it to relax, one part at a time: “Relax the top of your head. Relax your ears. Relax your mouth. Relax your neck. Relax your armpits!” (bonus points for laughter!)
  4. Stare at the sky and try to find shapes in the clouds.
  5. Pick weeds in the garden, color in an adult color book… – engage your mind in something fun and easy, that absorbs you completely.
  6. Spend time with an animal, if you can (go to a farm if you have to). Pet them and notice how their bodies are completely relaxed (usually – but I don’t recommend that you pet them if they are in a fight…). Let this relaxation rub off on your own body.
  7. Wiggle your tows. Relax. Notice how pleasant this relaxation is. Repeat.
  8. Listen to birds chirping. Really listen.
  9. Give yourself an inner hug, the way your best friend would (on the outside, of course…).
  10. Lay on your bed and imagine you are a rag doll.

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