How Do I Relax?


Ocean View from San Diego

Ocean View from San Diego

How do I relax?

It’s a question I get asked nearly every day. Most of us understand that when we’re tense in the mind, we’re tense in the body. If you are experiencing frequent neck and shoulder discomfort and/or pain, chances are, it’s time to relax. We usually need more than that weekly hour yoga class, we need to practice relaxation every day. Luckily, there are many methods to chose from!

Before I went into the career of massage therapy, I had a stressful job that I very much enjoyed, however, I often found myself thinking about the matrix of work complexities even at home. At a minimum, I had general aches and pains in my shoulders, low back and knees, but I also wound up with a couple panic attacks. When I entered the field of massage therapy I realized the importance of work/life balance and I began practicing how to let go of situations I had no control over. It took several weeks of practice, but the mind and body want to do this so once your mind learns to calm down, your body will follow.

Can’t massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, exercise and the like, help?
Of course, and they are all helpful for maintaining optimum health and balance, though it’s what you do between your sessions that makes a significant impact on your life every day. Frequently clients describe relaxation as distant concept like a vacation. I say take a mind vacation every day!

A few ways to relax:

Find two times throughout the day, (perhaps once before lunch and once before heading home,) to diaphragmatically breath. Push your tongue into the roof of your closed mouth, inhale deeply through the nose for four seconds and hold for two seconds, then exhale through the nose for four seconds and wait two seconds before inhaling again. Repeat this 8-10 times.

Purchase an essential oil that is calming. I love heading over to The Herb Bar and grabbing one of their special sleep blends or a single lavender note. Pour a few drops in a spray bottle diluted with water and squirt your pillow lightly. Tell yourself it is time to calm your thoughts of any troubles, allow yourself to take care of any worries the next day because now it is time go to sleep. Imagine yourself putting your head on the pillow and falling into a deep slumber.

Keep a stone or other item in your pocket, on your desk or wear it around your neck. Any stress you feel throughout the day, pass it onto the stone/object instead of your mind.
Another variation of this is to have a small statue, figurine or item you will see right when you walk in front door of your home. Use it as a tangible symbol to signal it is now time to be at home and to let go of any outside worries.

At the Calm Clinic they suggest even repeating positive phrases to yourself can be soothing and relaxing.

As with anything new we introduce into our lifestyle, give it time, be patient. The important thing is that you take a break from your worries and feel a sense of control.

Breath deep and smile wide.

Your local Austin massage therapist,

Leslie Nichols

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