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When I told you about Max Simon’s method of “public display of meditation” and then the children’s book that carried the message about adjusting your outlook, I wanted to demonstrate that relaxation has two components.

One is an active mindset where you make a conscious decision to relax. The second is a physical element. You make your body relax either with exercising, with some other form of activity, or through the opposite – by being still. The routine itself does not have to be complicated. You can find a moment anywhere when you put your mind to it.

Do what you can to work conscious relaxation into your daily routine. If you’re already good at relaxing, feel free to continue what you’ve always done, doing what works for you. Talk to your friends, engage in a group, or consult with a therapist. But, do that only if any of these things relaxes you, not if they get you worked up (some people dread seeing a therapist, or have a fear of groups).

If you find relaxing excessively difficult, maybe you need to burn off some steam first. Bury yourself in your “girl cave,” set an amount of time that you permit yourself to stay there, grieve, have a pity party, be angry. When you give yourself permission to take some time out, you relieve yourself of the guilt that you might feel for not being perfect, or for not being one of those lucky people who seem to be able to get over, or get through something pretty quickly. That, in turn, allows you to give yourself permission to get to a more peaceful place sooner.

Learning how to relax is an important skill that helps you precisely at the moment when things are going wrong. It is easy to be happy and relaxed when everything works perfectly, and you are in a good place. If that’s where you are right now, congratulations! You’re in great shape. If it’s not, we’ll need to dig a little deeper.

I’d like you to think through as many difficulties in your life right now as logically as you can. You know that stuff happens to the best of us. Life is an ongoing forward motion and will continue to change. You can’t change that, but you can consciously remind yourself how you have mastered each of life’s changes before.

Most of the obstacles you encountered turned out to be a good thing in the end; you’ve learned from them. You might even be grateful for all of the challenges you’ve encountered on your journey. You may have walked away with a better job, partner, or living situation. Your experiences have made you stronger, smarter, and more independent. Conquering your fears is a powerful and necessary component of personal growth.

Tell me about some particular difficulties that you’ve worked through, and how they’ve changed you. This is an important part of self-discovery, and of acceptance (and as a tool toward eventually learning to relax). ‘d love to hear from you – we’re on this journey together.

 

Image provided by Michael Albany Photography

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