JUST RELAX! Easier said that done… I love to work, be effective, get things done and check stuff of my to-do list. I also like to be in constant activity and be active. In addition, I tend to worry a lot. About all sorts of things. Sometimes it just feels like my mind won’t SHUT UP. BUT when I do this over a longer period of time, my body screams out in all sorts of ways that I have to slow down. But the problem then, is that when I try to relax, like put on a movie or just lay not the couch, my head can’t really stop thinking about all the things I should do. I usually end up picking up my phone, scroll in Instagram, do some house chores or go back to work. It has resulted in me not feeling my best, which is not productive at all. Anyone else gone down this fun road before?
So in order for me to relax more I wanted to find out how I can do it, and also what the benefits of relaxing are. so that I can really remind and motivate myself to just chill out. Here is what I found:
Benefits of relaxing:
This one is a big bonus. When you are in constant or even low levels of stress, your body shuts down your digestion because it thinks it’s under attack. The body also releases fewer digestive enzymes and less hydrochloric acids which helps the digestion break down fats, protein and carbs. If we stress over a longer period of time this can result in digestive issues such as IBS. So lowering our stress levels improves our digestion because the body goes into rest and digest mode (which is exactly what I need!).
Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain.
When the body is stressed, our muscles tense up, and that is why we get aches in our neck and back. It is the body trying to protect us from an injury or attack (the body is so smart). So when we relax, the body relaxes the muscles and puts its guards sown.
Reduces anxiety and improves mental health.
When you relax you are more able to manage your day to day tasks and actually do them more effective. It also improves your sleep, which of course is a major benefit to mental health. When we calm our mind, we can think more clearly and take better decisions.
Relaxing protects your heart!
When we stress, we increase changes of heart failure, high blood pressure and other heart problems. One of the causes is the amount of adrenaline in our body produces when we stress too much, which takes a toll on the heart.
Relaxing boosts your memory & helps you make better decisions
Studies have found that chronic stress impaired the part of the brain responsible for cognitive analysis and abstract thought. Studies done on mice also showed that when they are stressed, they have more difficulty finding they way though a maze and learning new skills. So relaxing - does the opposite!
Conclusion: Out bodies are so incredibly smart. We are actually meant to function in a relaxed state, and another aspect of it is that when we trust that things will work out, they will. These facts really motivated me to want to relax. So how do I do it in real life?
I also always also love checking out spiritual reasons for things, especially regarding the law of attraction - such as why we should relax & how to do it. The Law of Attraction states that our thoughts and feelings manifest our experiences. So stress = more stress?
So here are some spiritual reasons to relax more & how to do it:
Get back into alignment.
When we stress and worry we are not in alignment with who we really are. This means that we won’t attract the things we desire, but rather more of the things we don’t want to see, such as more stress.
Live in the now!
When we stress, we are either worrying about the past, or about the future, which are things we can’t control from the current moment. Accepting what is and accepting out current situation will always help us let to of that which is no longer serving us.
When we stress we are not grateful for what we already have. It’s impossible to be stressed and grateful at the same time. Writing down 10 things you are grateful for and really feeling it will get you back into a good mood (and help you attract more good things)
Finding the trigger & root cause
Sometimes we get really triggered by certain situations. Maybe it reminds us of something? Using the stressful moment to get to the bottom of things, is one of the best things we can do. For example, you are stressed because you don’t do enough. What is the worst thing about that feeling? When did you experience it for the first time? Accept that situation and you will immediately feel a relief.
All moments happen for us.
This thought always helps me. We can learn something out of every single experiment. Maybe it’s time to quit that job? Maybe it’s time to let go of those negative people? Maybe it’s time to change your diet to a more healthy one? If we really took at it this way, we will see those stressful moments as a gift to push us in the right direction.
Ways to relax the body & mind
Pranayama and breath work.
Have you ever notices that when you are stressed your breath is shallow and in your chest? I actually studied this when I did a teacher training to become a yoga instructor. When we connect with our breath, and use our breath to slow down, it sends signals to the mind that we are out of danger. So take a deep breath, inhale for 5 seconds, hold at the top, and exhale for 5 seconds and just see what difference it made. This helps the body take in more oxygen, which also helps relive anxiety, slow the heart rate and lower stress levels. There are hundreds of different techniques on breath work, and if you want to get more into it I recommend this video.
There are so many articles and books on the benefits of meditation out there, and that’s because it really works. It’s like training our brain not to get attached to all the different thought we are having, and learning just to let go. This is a practice we do over time, but you can feel instantly better just after a 10 minute meditation. It also enhances our ability to focus upon one thing at a time
Take some time every morning or night to write down everything that goes on in your head. Getting it out of your head and onto paper helps you thing more clearly. For example you might see that you have a lot of limiting beliefs about yourself. Like “I’m never lucky”. Then try to change it to “Every thing happens for me to be the best person I can be”.
Clear your environment
Being surrounded by clutter is one of the most stressful things I know. Take some time to clean up your space, your closet and your surroundings. Having to many things stresses us, which had made me want to be a minimalist. I am not there yet, but working on it!
Move your body
Go for a walk, dance in the living room, do some yoga. Getting your body in activity will always bring you our of your head and into your body, focusing on something more positive.
Get out of victim mode & into power mode!
I do this all the time, when something bad happens I feel sorry for myself and I feel like a victim of my circumstances. This only brings we down. Instead its important to know that you have every single tool to change your circumstances.
I can not praise therapy more! Sometimes its hard to get to the root cause of your problems by your self. Having someone else help you our has been life changing for me. We are have different preferences here, and it took me a couple of years to find someone I actually liked and that worked with a method that was quick and effective.
& some additional tips just for the digestion
Eating and focusing on just that helps the body digest the food better. It also makes us chew the food more, which is quite beneficial because there is a reason our teeth and places in our mouth!
Drinking celery juice!
As mentioned above, we produce less hydrochloric acid when we are stressed. Celery juice in the morning on an empty stomach helps the body produce hydrochloric acids again, which makes us digest food better (hello more energy).