When we’re relaxed, our general state is more positive (have you ever seen a relaxed grumpy person?) and we’re also more open to new ideas and suggestions and that’s when changes can happen. I know there are times when we can get easily relaxed, but there are also times when it seems impossible. This motivated me to do some research and find better ways to get relaxed because I think it’s very important to our evolution since that’s when we’re more open to our environment, and therefore we’re more open to learn new things.
The following technique is called progressive muscle relaxation and it’s commonly used by therapists. This technique has been developed and described by E. Jacobson in 1929 his book Progressive Relaxation. As the name suggests, it involves some playing with the muscles and some breathing. Nothing fancy, but it worked for me so I wanted to share it.
The first step is to get comfy in an armchair or on a bed. The second step is to take some deep breaths and gradually release the air (this step is for slowing down a little your heart and blood pressure). Now the muscle part. While counting from 1 to 5 (5 seconds), tense your right fist (or left one, if that’s your dominant arm) and take a deep breath and hold that breath for a little bit. After that, slowly release the air and relax your fist (5 to 10 seconds). Notice the difference between the tensed part and the relaxed part. Repeat that for the same fist. After you finished with the fist, repeat the process for the whole arm. After each tensing/relaxing process notice the difference between those two states.
This is the suggested order:
- Dominant arm: fist and forearm;
- The whole dominant arm;
- The other fist and forearm;
- The whole other arm;
- Dominant leg;
- The other leg;
- Back of the head;
- Mouth and cheeks;
- The whole body.
Honestly, I only did the process for my arms, legs, stomach and all of them combined (the whole body) and it still made a big difference (I don’t know how the f*ck should I tense the back of my head, but it’s still good anyway).
That’s the suggested order, but you don’t have to necessarily do it that way. The most important parts are that each tension needs to be accompanied by a deep gradually breathing in, then a little hold and each relaxation needs to be accompanied by a gradually breathing out and after that you need to notice the difference between those two states. It’s also suggested that while you’re breathing out, you could tell yourself a word that inspires relaxation, like calm or something similar.
Have you ever done this or something similar? Did it work for you?