Relax and restore

On Sundays, choose to rest. Notice that I’m reminding you of your choice in the matter?

Here’s what happens when we rest: the body grows calm and the mind becomes quiet; the mind becomes quiet and the heart begins to speak. I’m not trying to get woo-woo on you here, but I am suggesting that the heart has a vote in the way you live your life. Which means you might occasionally give it a chance to weigh in on things. Maybe it wants to hear from an old friend. Maybe it wants a garden. What is your heart telling you? How good would it feel to follow its wisdom?

What else happens when you let yourself relax? Usually, pain decreases. This is because relaxation and pain are conflicting states. Daniel Rockers, psychologist and director of the Pain Clinic at my alma mater, UC Davis, says ‘relaxation and pain… don’t usually co-exist.  Good centering or balancing mechanisms … can help lower tension.’  Want to find a good centering or balancing mechanism? How about a hammock? Or an hour of Slow Yoga? Or a massage?

Even easier: mindful breathing for ten minutes.  You’ve probably felt the panic that comes when you hold your breath for any length of time. That’s your body’s alarm going berserk because it’s not sure what you’re up to. That alarm is the same that rings when you’re frightened, stressed or anxious. Long, controlled, easy breathing pulled deep into your abdomen turns off the alarm, soothing the body and the mind, leaving you calm and relaxed. Ta-da!

So take a moment today and relax. If anyone asks you what you’re up to, tell them you’re investigating a balancing mechanism. This will make you seem like a very productive inventor who is discovering the next big thing. Which, in fact, you are.

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