Relaxation Part 1 – The Relaxation Trigger Habit and Infinite Onions.

Photo by Caius

It’s been a bad day at work, your boss is being a jerk and it’s all gone wrong.

All you want to do is bang your head against a wall (repeating as necessary)

I need to relax, you might say.

So what you do is go home, have a stiff drink or go for that cigarette.  Maybe you stick some Vangelis on and run a hot bath.   All those aromatherapy oils and soothing music will work the tension out of your system.

They’re all relaxation triggers, and we’re addicted to them

We’re relaxation trigger junkies.  We depend on things external to ourselves to help us relax.  Problems always arise when things go to hell in a handbag and we don’t have access to them.  There will be no steamy bath with Vangelis and extract of jojoba with the boss dumping on you.  You can’t reach for that beer if you’re driving home after a difficult business meeting and believe you me, a cigarette will be the last thing on your mind if little Timmy’s just crawled out a 3rd floor window to retrieve his Action Man.

When these relaxation triggers aren’t there, we kinda go through a strange sort of cold turkey process where we turn into stress bunnies, lose the capacity for rational thinking.  Sometimes we lose it and have what the English quaintly call “a Benny”.  We’re dependent on our relaxation triggers, we need them to relax.

I’m here to tell you that it IS possible to kick the habit and learn how to relax

People have known this for hundreds of years, we just forgot it recently. If you think about it how else did our forefathers chill out in the ages before Vangelis and jojoba?

It’s by using things within us to help us relax.

If this is starting to sound a bit self-help, I’m not referring to anything metaphysical and I’m not going to say that within every stress bunny is a chilled out person waiting to get out.

No, it’s even simpler than that.

It’s as simple as breathing. Sigh, go on, I dare you. Sigh. The body’s got it’s own reflexive relaxation mechanism, and breathing is part of it. If you can learn to regulate your breathing, you can help yourself relax. In fact, some military schools teach their troops to breathe when under combat stress. As situations come they don’t get more stressful than bullets whizzing past your head.

But wait.. there’s another bit to it.

I want you to get back into the habit

Rather than being a relaxation-trigger junkie, I want you to become a relaxation junkie. Yeah, just take out the “trigger”.
Learning to relax is just like learning to ride a bike. Seriously, once you learn how to do it (without props) you’ll be able to do it wherever you are, or whatever you’re doing.

Now, the best way to learn how to relax, is to become aware of how it happens, and the best way to do that, is to do standing meditation. It’s simple, it’s easy and anyone can do it. Just 10 minutes a day is more than enough.  Once you know what it feels like to relax by yourself, you can then just do it whenever you need to.  Incidentally once you’re into the relaxation habit, you can do it just before you start your form.. and how much more relaxed will that form be?

And it really IS that simple

I appear to have waxed lyrical about being a relaxation trigger junkie, but have shamelessly omitted the bit about infinite onions (that’s why you were reading this in the first place right?).   That will be in part 2.. I promise.

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