Is Relaxation All in Your Head?

breathewordWhy is it that it takes some people an hour in a spa to relax, while others can just close their eyes, envision a happy place, and relax almost instantly?  It turns out that while relaxation has physiological effects, the process of relaxation is all about your state of mind.

That’s right, if your head’s not in the game, you won’t relax.  If you sit down after work in your most comfy chair with a nice cold beverage and think about all the things that happened that day, and all the things that will happen tomorrow, you won’t relax. Relaxation is about quieting your mind, not processing throughs.  It’s about thinking about right now, not a while ago or tomorrow. It’s about consciously shutting out the day-to-day noise, even if just for a few minutes.

You can get yourself into a relaxed state of mind almost anywhere, but, particularly when you are learning to relax, it’s a good idea to control your environment.

Find a room that’s uncluttered, quiet, and dim the lights.  If you surround yourself with clutter, it’s a constant reminder that you have something that needs cleaning. If you are in a place that’s noisy, it takes longer for your brain to shut out the external noises. If you are around bright lights, closing your eyes is less soothing.

Once you’ve controlled your environment, it’s time to breathe. That means something as simple as becoming aware of, and listening to, your own breathing. Get in a comfortable position, sitting, laying down, or standing and leaning on something. Breathe gently and naturally. Imagine as you breathe out, you’re exhaling your challenges and worries. See how long you can just think about breathing. Focus on keeping random thoughts and feelings away by shifting throughs back to breathing in case your mind wanders.  Keep this up for at least 10 minutes your first time or as long as you can.  Don’t watch the clock or set an alarm, just relax as you can.  Try to set aside time each day for relaxation time.

What if you can’t relax?

If you’re having trouble relaxing on your own, try getting a massage. During the massage session, we take all the hassle out of controlling your environment.  We supply a comfortable massage table, a temperature controlled room, soothing music and an hour (or more) of uninterrupted “me time”.  Your therapist will ask you about your goals of the session and if relaxation is one of them, will take massage techniques designed to help you quiet your mind and relax. About a third of relaxation massage clients even fall asleep during the session.  That’s totally OK and your therapists is used to it. We’ll wake you up gently when it is time for your to turn over or when the session ends.