In order to make the changes we want, we need to let go of bad habits that keep us from accomplishing those goals. Letting go is where we learn to relax, release tension, and reduce the stress in our life.
Letting go might seem terrifying at first.
We are action-oriented and want to be in control of everything. Relaxing can be construed by our conscious mind as laying down all our defenses and opening ourselves up to being vulnerable.
Today on my podcast and blog, I’ll introduce you to a simple relaxation technique that will help you let go of tension.
Years ago, as part of a design team developing a ten-week program for individuals living with chronic illness and pain, I produced and recorded my first relaxation audio recording for Kaiser Permanente.
I produced a second one some years later with an Emmy-nominated friend who composed the background music for it.
As you listen and follow the instructions in my Relaxation audio, you will focus on the process of breathing. You will tighten different muscle groups, breathe deeply, and then release the tension as you breathe out.
When practiced each day for at least 30 days, you will become aware of where you hold your tension and will learn how to quickly release that tension.
We will experience stress every day. That is normal and natural. For example:
You’ve been asked to work overtime – again. The bus was late, you arrive home to kids fighting and an irritated spouse, the kitchen is a mess and you just want to throw up your hands and scream.
That is a pretty normal reaction to a string of events that were frustrating and exasperating. Who wouldn’t want to throw up their hands and scream?
However, when we remain in that agitated state, the original stress is compounded. We need our jobs, we want to have good times with our families, and we know we can adapt, but how do we keep the accumulation of expectations and demands from overwhelming us?
During this pandemic, I have had conversations with many people. Everyone is feeling stressed due to prolonged isolation and restrictions.
But for some, that stress is far worse than for others. What makes the difference?
In my book, Make Stress Work for You: 12 Steps to Understanding Stress and Turning it into a Positive Force, I talk about the difference between good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress). As you read and listen to the audio of each of the steps, you will learn how you can take charge of the stress in your life.
While stress is universal and everyone experiences it, it is also very personal. What stresses one person may be an exhilarating experience to another. Consider sky diving or swimming. In the Study Guide and Personal Application that accompanies this book, the questions presented can help you understand the sources of your personal stress.
We can’t live without stress nor do we want to. It is an essential part of living. But we can make it work for us and not against us.