Practice relaxation

Using relaxation techniques brings many benefits, both the immediate as well as long term ones. These techniques are the key in order to completely get rid of stress in your life, improve your memory and learn effectively.

Using relaxation techniques brings many benefits, both  the immediate as well as long term ones. These techniques are the key in order to completely get rid of stress in your life, improve your memory and learn effectively.

They are about putting the body into a state of deep relaxation in which brain operates at the alpha frequency (like right before bedtime and after awakening or during high concentration). Such a condition favors resting of the whole body and mind and it is achieved through appropriate visualizations and affirmations.

Why are relaxation techniques worth using?

- The most important advantage is a significant reduction in the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body lasting not only for a short time, as when after exercising. Regular practicing of these exercises will make you immune to stress and the effects will be noticed every day. I had the opportunity to experience this when I started practicing relaxation techniques. The disappearance of stress from your life is very noticeable and brings a great relief. After a long time, there is almost not a sign of it anymore! Relaxation also cleanses your mind of negative thoughts and worries accumulated during the day.

- Better concentration. During the relaxation you’ll focus only on an image created in the mind, which will allow you to turn off all the other thoughts. Regular exercise will give you control over the internal dialogue and uncontrollable thoughts. It’ll much easier  for you to concentrate, both on learning and work.

- Rest. A state of deep relaxation really favors a valuable rest of the body. If you are tired after a hard day, this 15 minute exercise will give you a big boost of energy. Moreover, this situation is extremely pleasant as every muscle in your body is relaxed.

- According to some research conducted by scientists, people who use relaxation techniques, are much more happy with their life as well as are more optimistic and much calmer. Besides, they can cope with challenges better. They learn and memorize things much faster and easier.

These are all the benefits of regular practicing of relaxation. Below I describe an example of such an exercise. There is no single best relaxation technique as anyone can favor something else. You can modify this example by changing the order of performing the activities. Try different options and stick to the one that suits you best.

1. Sit comfortably or lie down (preferably on the back), so that none of the muscles in your body is tense. Choose the most convenient position for you. Make sure that no one will disturb you. It is important that it’s a quiet place and the one where you feel comfortable.

2. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Imagine that, starting from the feet and moving upwards, a cloud engulfs your body (give it a favorite color) that makes all your muscles loosen up. Feel the tension leaving each part of your body. Focus, one by one, on the feet, calves, thighs, abdomen, arms, hands, etc. The very fact of paying your attention to a particular muscle causes it to relax.

3. When you're done relaxing the body, start to count from 20 backwards. Visualize each number in different ways. Let each number be different and be made of something else. Engage every sense. Let your images be distinctive and colorful. Take about 5 to 10 seconds for each number.

4. Use affirmations during the countdown. Every few numbers tell the inner voice that you’re becoming more relaxed, more unwound. Remind yourself that you’re entering deeper and deeper into a state of relaxation. Let your voice be calm and always fully trust what you say.

5. Once you’re done with the counting, you will be in the state of deep relaxation. Choose an object and visualize it for a few minutes. Pay attention to its every feature and be focused all the time on this object only. This can be, for example, an orange. Feel its smell, weight, the touch of its skin. Peel it, feel the taste. Once you become proficient at it, you can choose more complex objects.

6. When you decide to finish the exercise, start counting from 1 to 20. This countdown can be much faster than the previous one. Here, you can also use affirmation - tell yourself that you are slowly getting awoken and when you get to 20 you will be completely rested.

This technique was developed by me and has served me with great effects for a long time. Check how it works with you and, if necessary, modify it as you want. Below I describe a few more important notes to keep in mind:

1. Let the exercise last from 15 to 20 minutes. If you have less time, it can also be 10 minutes. Longer relaxation can make you fall asleep. In the beginning the exercise might not be that easy (especially the continuous focusing on one thing), so it might happen that you’ll fall asleep faster or lose track of your thoughts. This is normal and it only requires regular exercise. After a while you'll be able to be focused for several minutes only on one thing.

2. If you happen to start thinking about something else, don’t give up. If you find yourself doing this, calmly go back to what you were thinking of before.

3. Make sure that no one disturbs you. Even a small noise can throw you off the state of deep relaxation. If you can’t  relax in complete silence, use relaxing music (or music with binaural beats to synchronize the hemispheres), which facilitates entering into a state of relaxation. Such music can be downloaded from the internet. It’s often available for free once you register for the website.

4. Exercise regularly, for example every other day. Thanks to this you’ll very quickly notice the change and encouraged by it you'll want to keep on practicing.

Try it today and share your experience in the comments section!

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