The Power of Relaxation

By Steve Hart

These days, most of us are not faced with a life threatening danger all that often. Though our lives are not at risk, we are more stressed than ever before. Our bodies misinterpret the challenges of modern life- jobs, relationships, etc. as reasons to stress, when the evolutionary purpose of stress was to keep us safe from danger, like a hungry tiger trying to eat you. Ironically, stress is now doing the opposite of protecting us as it is causing us to develop stress related diseases, which cost money to treat, and generally live fairly unhappy and unfulfilled lives.

Our bodies are naturally designed to self-heal, though we limit these abilities by keeping ourselves in a constant state of stress. This is because, if that tiger is trying to eat you, your body will naturally focus on the abilities necessary to get you moving as quick as possible to save your life. In this state, it is certainly not focusing on healing emotional trauma or easing the tension you store in your back.

There is one simple solution to this issue. It will promote happiness and ease in your life that will unlock unlimited potential and creativity. The answer- R E L A X. The key to a life of effectiveness and sustainable productivity is to focus less on how much you can get done in a day to how much can you do while staying relaxed the entire time. Though the answer is simple, it can be a challenge for those of us who have been addicted to stress for decades. It will take practice and patience to rewire the brain, but the beneficial effects will be profound and well worth the effort.

Note: To relax does not mean be lazy or apathetic. You can work just as hard, but do so in a calm and relaxed manner without succumbing to the stress induced symptoms. You will likely get even more done and feel even better about it if you do.

There are many tools out there to help us flip the switch from stress to relaxation. The easy way out is through drug use. How prevalent are the use of pills, marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco to help people relax at the end of a long day? Drugs are so prevalent in modern society because they give us the illusion of stress relief, an easy fix. In actuality, drugs only mask the symptoms of stress temporarily, and if overused will cause even more stress and major damage to the body.

I’d like to suggest some other options, many of which are free and accessible to everyone, that will help you wean off the addiction to stress and live a more relaxed and effective lifestyle.

  • Meditation- Best possible way to reduce stress. It is free and accessible to every single person on this planet. It can be challenging at first, but with practice it will change your life. Though there are many different techniques to meditate, there is no way to do it wrong as long as you take the time to sit with yourself with the eyes closed.
  • Yoga- Though the point of yoga is to prepare the body to meditate, the practice of connecting the breath to the movement of the body is extremely healthy and effective way to reduce stress. I definitely recommend starting at a studio to learn and get personal attention, but if you don’t have access to one then there are a multitude of free resources online that can get you going.
  • Nature- Spending time amongst the trees or in the ocean can have major benefits on the body as a natural stress reducer. Mostly free, depending on where you live, nature is an easy tool to use to alleviate stress.
  • Music- Listening to or playing music has shown to have many relaxing and mood enhancing benefits. Losing yourself in a good song can relieve stress and reset the mind in a matter of minutes. 
  • Personal Relationships- Spending time with friends, family, or your partner in developing a profound connection is a great way to reduce stress. Be sure to surround yourself with positive people, as the energy of others can affect you. Toxic relationships will have the reverse effect, so cutting ties with certain people and creating bonds with new people may be necessary to enjoy the stress reducing powers of relationships.
  • Other- There are many other stress reducing practices that you can incorporate into your life such as- massage, sound bath, craniosacral therapy, going to the spa, certain types of exercise, yoga nidra, taking a vacation, and several others.

You might say, “I don’t have enough time to do any of this. I have a job, and kids, and responsibilities, and so on.” This only means this practice of relaxation is even more important for you. Spending time on yourself is the number one way to increase your effectiveness and productivity. By optimizing your ability to function through relaxation techniques, you will work more effectively, be a better parent/spouse/friend, complete daily tasks in a faster and more efficient manner, and tap into a higher level of creativity that can have infinite benefits in your life.

There is NO reason not to work on relaxation techniques on a daily basis. Whether is meditation, yoga, or anything else that resonates with you, make it a non-negotiable part of your day, just as important as eating food or going to work. I can say from personal experience and my work in the yoga industry that this stuff is life changing, and it’s easier than you think. It just takes some practice and dedication and you’ll rewire the brain to function naturally in a state of relaxation. Try it out and watch how your life blossoms into peace and fulfillment.
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If you are interested in some help, we at Riffs Studios offer a variety of relaxation techniques including daily yoga classes and weekly sound healing workshops. I also offer private sound healing sessions and personal consultations if you need help prioritizing relaxation in your life.

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