30 Days to Happiness: R is for Relax

posted in: A to Z Challenge | 4

Relax A book, a hot bath, a beach chair, a float for the pool, a pillow, blanket, sofa, a massage. . .Any one of these or a combination will beckon me, and I will obey and relax. My resume clearly shows that relaxing is a definite strength. I can usually put off any number of high priority tasks if either opportunity or  inspiration presents itself for me to relax.  I have one question for you, if  I am so good at relaxing, why do I  get intense so easily? The answer lies in the fact that I may be relaxing my body, but my mind is still on the job.

If we can learn to give our minds a rest along with our bodies, I believe  we will find a  deeper place of relaxation  where God can speak to us, refresh us, and bring about the best in us. It is going to require getting our mind, “our reasoner” to be quiet. When I am “relaxing” my mind is still rapidly chasing rabbit trails Thousands of thoughts continue to vy for my attention, pulling me away from the book I am reading, busily solving problems or making plans. That may be relaxation of the body, but it is not RELAXATION of the mind.

I would venture to say that our minds are the hardest working organ in our bodies. For example, the heart basically has one job to do, pump blood. The liver gets poisons out of our systems; the lungs take in air and release carbon dioxide; the stomach digests food. Read this list of what our brains do:

  •  “Controls the  body’s functions, such as walking, talking, swallowing, breathing, taste, smell, heart rate
  • Controls all our thinking functions, our emotions, how we behave and all our intellectual (cognitive) activities, such as how we attend to things, how we perceive and understand our world and its physical surroundings, how we learn and remember and so on.” (ABI Manual)

I don’t know about you, but my brain needs to RELAX!

I know that when I can get my “reasoner” to be quiet, I can better hear from God, I can be more creative, and I can receive inspiration from Him. This is great motivation to find techniques to quiet my mind and learn to really relax. I’ll be experimenting with this over the next few weeks, so if you have any tips, please feel free to share them.

Here’ s a method of relaxation suggested by Norman Vincent Peale’s in his book, The Power of Positive Thinking.

Lay with your palms up.

  • Begin with the toes, and think or say “My toes are relaxed.” Do this slowly without thinking too much about it.
  • Move up your body, doing this with every muscle part until you have covered all of the muscles of the face and the top of the head.
  • At this point you should be completely relaxed or asleep.

Another idea for entering into a deeper state of relaxation is to imagine you are on the 50th floor of an elevator. Count down as the elevator goes down opening out onto a beautiful beach or a peaceful scene. Your mind should be quieted now, and you can relax, thinking only of the Lord and the beautiful scene in your imagination.

A third method is to simply put on some relaxing music. You can find a number of sessions on Youtube. Just lie down, breathe deeply, and and totally relax.

If you have tips and methods for deep relaxation, please share. I really want to give my brain a rest!

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4 Responses

  1. One way to value relaxation is to visit a rehabilitation/nursing home. The people there may be quite relaxed. What are their minds doing?

    • Charlotte, That is a very provocative question. It would be very interesting to know what’s on their minds. I wish all of the older generation would record their memories, the old stories of walking to school with a lunch pail, going to a one-room schoolhouse. Even as times change, the younger ones need to remember and appreciate the changes. And if they could record the wisdom they have gained over their lifetimes and pass it on, we would all be the wiser. If only their minds were sharp enough to blog and say, “This is what I’m thinking about today.” You have really made me think, Charlotte. There is much wealth in the nursing homes that could be mined if we knew how and took time! Thanks for stopping by. What is your experience with rehabilitation/nursing home. You sound like you have firsthand experience.
      Thanks for commenting!
      Sharon

  2. Sharon, you have hit the exact problem. Forget the massage or the hot bath … my mind needs rest. I think too much! When I wake in the middle of the night, I know a return to sleep is doomed if I start to think! 🙂

    One way I cope with a too-busy brain is to embrace the quiet. I’m a teacher—where fast thinking is an asset! —and daily I am surrounded by talk-talk-talk. When I’m alone at home or driving in the car, the TV or radio stays off. I sit with a book by the open window and let the quiet sounds wash over me: the pattering rain, or birds, or the whistle of a distant train.

    Even when I’m reading the Bible my busy brain kicks into gear. I now copy out the text into a composition book, longhand, to keep focused on what I’m reading. It sounds extreme, but the rhythm of writing the words helps.

    Thanks for the article. It’s nice to know I’m not the only busy thinker!

    Laura

    • I love your thought “embrace the quiet.” Thanks for commenting. You are not the only busy thinker!
      Sharon

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