relaxing the mind bring about a relaxed body? Or does a
relaxed body bring about a relaxed mind? Actually, the answer
is... both. I used to think that anyone could be
relaxed by training their own mind to think relaxing thoughts, until
I was in an auto accident that put my body into a state of imbalance
that didn't allow my mind to reach a calm state. My mind
seemed to race uncontrollably. It was then that I realized
that I couldn't heal myself like I usually could, I needed outside
I don't believe in taking synthetic drugs. Massage was
extremely healing to my 'mental chatter' that continued for many
months. I also found that making tea out of sedating herbs
helpful (See how to
make your own herbal tea here).
Eventually, my body stabilized, and I was able to once again regain
a sense of control over my mind and body.
those with a healthy, normal functioning body, the best way to gain
a sense of peace throughout the entire body is by using various
mental relaxation techniques. These can be done at any time,
'Relaxing the body through the
is our goal when we do the techniques that I recommend in this
article. Sending 'energy' throughout the body will achieve the
feeling of peace and tranquility. The object is to train the
mind to focus on this energy, and become able to manipulate it at
will. The difference between this form of mental relaxation
process and meditation is in the train of thought. In
meditation, you open up your mind to nothingness. My
experience has been that the mind is like a vacuum that wants to be
filled. So by mentally filling it with thoughts of sending
energy throughout the body, the mind stays focused on one thought at
a time. (I have nothing against meditation. It works
well for many. This is a completely different relaxation
give an example of one form of sending energy throughout the body,
try this now. Take three very nice deep, relaxing breathes
with three comfortable exhalations.
Each time you exhale, say to yourself "Let go".
Nothing should ever feel forced or rushed. Especially when you
are first learning to do these exercises. This should be done
with no mind to the clock or linear thinking. Because all of
the tension generally starts in the head area, feel the warm energy
go down through your neck, down through your arms, torso, legs, and
eventually flow out through your fingers and toes. Feel it
like a soothing current of energy that is steady, comfortable and
ever-flowing (Rather than thinking of a current of electricity,
think of a river current). Just stop and 'feel' it for awhile. It
should feel very good. If you had any tension in your head
area, you shouldn't be feeling it at all while you are experiencing
really believe in the power of the mind. The more you believe
in the current, the more you will feel it. Push it out. Enjoy
its gentle pulsating quality.
You can even say to yourself..."Ah, this feels so good" and
you know what? It will! I remember hearing once that smiling
releases certain chemicals in the brain which actually make you feel
better. Which came first, the happy feeling, or the smile?
I believe that what they're saying is that it works both ways.
By telling yourself that you feel great, it has the same power as
smiling to make yourself happy. Sure you could call it a form
of self-hypnosis. Perhaps it is. Through my own experience
with self-hypnosis, I know that it can be quite effective. Whatever
modality of relaxation you choose, if you believe that it works, it
Another technique that I came up with for relaxing the mind and body
is to mentally put yourself at the beach where the water meets the
shore. Picture (and feel) yourself lying face up with your legs pointed toward the water,
and your head toward the beach. If you've ever
experienced the water tides at the beach, it is a mesmerizing process.
The tide slowly rolls up the shore until it reaches its highest
point, hovers there for just a moment and then slowly flows back out to sea taking along every
small shell and floating particle with it in one mighty pull.
Then there is a still point for just a few seconds while another
wave rolls in and starts the
process all over again.
If you can put yourself mentally into
the situation I've mentioned you will hear the water sounds, you'll
hear the seagulls, and you will be one with the ocean. As you
peacefully lay there on the shore, visualize the water coming onto
the shore around you, feel the warm energy come up, into you, around
you and over you. You may want to enjoy a nice big breath.
Imagine the water at that still point when it reaches its highest
point. Feel the still point, and then let the water flow down around you, over you and
most importantly...through you.
on the 'flowing out and through you' part that is the key with this
exercise. This is the part that sends the warm energy down
from your head area and out through your feet. You may do this
exercise for as long as it takes you to fully relax. Or you
may choose to limit it to 3 inward and outward flowing tides, and on
the last outward flow, send the flow out to the horizon.
Mentally see the water go away to where you can no longer see it.
Physically this would be impossible of course. But that's the
beauty of doing this as a 'mental' activity. Your mind can do
whatever it chooses to do. So as you feel the energy flowing
out of your body while you're watching the water flow away, imagine it to
be all of the stress that was in your body. As you say good
bye to stress, blow out a nice long exhale to release any tension
left in your body.
Once you begin to understand and
literally 'feel' the concept of energy flow through your body,
you'll be able to come up with your own mental exercises. You
will get so good at it that you'll be able to realize that
relaxation can be had at will. Any difficult situation can be
helped by this process. At first you'll want to try these
exercises while laying flat on your back, legs separated slightly,
with your head level with your body. Eventually you'll be able
to do this while stuck in a traffic jam or while waiting in line at
the grocery store. Learn to be aware of your body's level of
stress, and you will have a system for releasing it when you need
to. The next time something stressful happens to you, think of
it as a time to practice your new skill. Feel the tension,
then send the energy out through your toes. And please don't
forget the importance of taking nice, relaxed deep breaths.
Feel the energy current go down through your entire body and out.
Your body will thank you.
Once you relax your mind, you can
put yourself wherever you want to be.