By Richard Pettinger
In modern society there are so many pressures on our time and lives that it can seem difficult to be able to find time for relaxation. Even if we do find time we may have so many thought and anxieties going through our mind that it seems difficult to be able to switch off and enter into a more relaxed frame of mind. Many people consciously want to be able to relax and these are a few strategies that will help the process of relaxation.
1. Relax Through Breathing. Our breathing is an important bearing on our state of mind. When we are anxious, unconsciously our breathing will become more forceful and heavy. To practise relaxation we can try a breathing exercise of concentrating on our breath. We should try to slow down our breathing and focus on our breath and nothing else. Slow rhythmic breathing is a very natural and spontaneous exercise. It will definitely help us to relax.
2. Live in the Here and Now. A lot of our mental energy is taken up with thinking about the past or worrying about the future. We should try to make a conscious effort to give less importance to the future and let go of the past. There is an old saying that goes something like. 80% of our worries don’t come true. There is nothing I can do about the other 20% so therefore there is no need to worry at all. Try to remind yourself of this idea throughout the day.
3. Working with plants or animals. It can be very therapeutic working in a garden. Even if we have only a windowsill we can grow plants. When we take care of other things like plants and a garden it enables us to become less self absorbed and so we lose a lot of our mental tension, enabling us to become more relaxed. Similarly spending time with animals may help a lot.
4. Music for relaxation. The power of music should never be underestimated in effecting our mood. It is worth hunting for music which really helps us to relax, this may be classical music or new age music. To some extent music is a personal choice, but you can intuitively feel which kind of music helps you to relax. Download your favourite tracks to an ipod so you can listen travelling on the tube or bus. It will definitely help to drown out the busy noise of city life.
5. Meditation for relaxation. Meditation can definitely help us to relax. When we meditate what we are trying to do is to clear our mind of thoughts. If we can learn to empty the mind we will be able to clear a lot of our mental garbage. Removing our negative thoughts will be a significant calming influence on our state of mind. By developing our meditation we will definitely be able to relax furthermore meditation can give us real peace of mind. However to get the most from meditation we do need to give it a certain importance. We should try to meditate every day, preferably at the same time. This will gradually make our meditation more powerful.
6. Develop harmonious relationships with others. Often the biggest stumbling block to enable relaxation is when conflicts develop in relationships with others. To develop greater harmony it is always worth trying to maintain a loving and forgiving attitude. Sometimes it is better to be happy rather than right. We shouldn’t feel we have to have the last word on everything, otherwise there will be no end to conflict.
7. Find Time for relaxation. Often we feel pressured by so many things we need to do. However we should feel the importance of making time to relax. If we have a good state of mind then whatever we do will be more effective.
Richard lives in Oxford and is a meditation student of Sri Chinmoy. Sri Chinmoy has composed many recording of music suitable for meditation and relaxation. Music for relaxation is available at Radio Sri Chinmoy.
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