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    5 Effective techniques to relax

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    Joe Dispenza

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    Practical tips to find out how to relax in a short time and effectively.


    "The best time to relax is when we don't even have a moment to relax."

    S.J. Harris.

    Economic crisis. Unemployment. Natural disasters. We are literally bombarded with news that does nothing but create tension and uncertainty in our life. As if that weren't enough, our 1.000 daily commitments add stress to stress, and it becomes virtually impossible for us to relax.

    Work deadlines. University exams. Financial problems. Worries devour us day after day, hour after hour. We are so used to being nervous and anxious, that even the longed-for holidays risk losing their beneficial effect and just a little is enough to make us react like angry beasts.

    Today more than ever we need to learn to relax.

    In this article I want to offer you a program to relax in 5 steps that takes its cue from the protocol The Peaceful Mind, developed by Dr. Amber Lynn Paukert, a psychologist at the University of Washington. So let's see what are these 5 practical actions, which repeated constantly, can help you relax in a short time and effectively. Well ... relax and start reading ;-)

    Step # 1: become aware of your anxiety

    Awareness is the key ingredient of any change. Without awareness we are like mice in a labyrinth desperately looking for an exit. If you want defeat anxiety, you must first know it, understand it, study it.

    “Don't escape anxiety, don't suppress it, don't resist it. Instead try to understand it: observe it, study it, learn from it and face it without hesitation. "

    J. Krishnamurti.

    In practice, this translates into holding some sort of anxiety diary. When do you feel particularly nervous? What are the physical symptoms? Where are you when it happens?

    I have already told you in the past about the benefits of keep a diary: the moment you write your thoughts, you are in fact reworking them. Also, having them physically on a sheet of paper (or in a file) helps you understand patterns that you wouldn't normally be able to see. Not only that: noting how you feel and what you are feeling, the moment you are nervous, helps you to calm the strength of the anxiety; but we will talk about this in step # 4.

    Step #2: breathe

    Breath is our real secret weapon against worry and stress. Not more than a few months ago I explained to you how breathing is the simplest way of meditation. But the power of the breath goes beyond that.

    We often consider ours mind and ours body as distinct entities: this distinction is entirely fictitious. Mind and body represent a single, tightly integrated system. When we have certain thoughts our body reacts accordingly, but what is most interesting is that the body can also influence our mind.

    When we are nervous and worried we tend to breathe superficially (we breathe with the upper part of our lungs) and more frequently. Conversely, when we are relaxed our breathing slows down and becomes deeper. The next time you feel nervous, try regain control of your breathing: start breathing rhythmically, counting in your mind; but above all learn to breathe with your abdomen, or adopt one diaphragmatic breathing.

    Step # 3: use relaxing thoughts (and conditioning)

    I am almost certain that reading this third passage you have missed a nice: "mavaffancubo!". If there is something we can't do when we are anxious and agitated, it is to think about relaxing things. The heart is pounding, our hands sweat, we can't stand still, we seem to miss the air. All we want is to escape from the situation we find ourselves in. We want to go back to feeling free.

    Yet, by planning ahead and finding those soothing thoughts that actually work, we may be able to defeat anxiety in the span of the blink of an eye. To do this you have to use what are called in psychology conditioning (or anchors, as NLP enthusiasts like to call them). Here's how to create a conditioning; sit comfortably and ...

    • Find one password that immediately makes you think of something relaxing and enjoyable. Don't be trivial! I'm sure you are able to find something more original and personal than "calm"! It must be a word that you feel yours.
    • Think now of a time of your life where you felt perfectly comfortable, completely relaxed and calm. Maybe it was that time at the seaside, or listening to that song by Einaudi. Think back to that moment as vividly as possible: accentuate the sounds and colors of your memory.
    • After about 5 minutes you should be able to replicate that same state of calm and relaxation. When you feel ready, mentally repeat your secret word and associate a precise one gesture to this state of stillness: you can squeeze your thumb and forefinger, you can massage the palm of your hand, it doesn't matter; what matters is that it is an unusual gesture for you but that you can easily replicate even in public.
    • Think about something now neutral: the shopping list, the color of the chair you're sitting on, anything that doesn't arouse particular emotions in you.
    • Let a few minutes pass and repeat the first 3 steps of conditioning.

    Repeat this procedure 15-20 times in a week (2-3 times in a row a day) and you will have created quite effective conditioning. Now, whenever you feel nervous, mentally repeat your secret word and gesture: voila! calm as a zen monk.

    Step # 4: take action

    The more we allow our minds to focus on anxiety and what makes us nervous, the more these thoughts gain strength and overwhelm us. It's natural.

    "Energy follows our attention."

    The secret therefore is to distract our mind. Taking action is the best way to do it, for example by writing in our diary (or smartphone if we have nothing else available). The act of writing in fact engages our mind, weakening anxious thoughts.

    Another strategy is to have a pleasant activity list. One of the first articles I wrote for GetPersonalGrowth is titled: "19 + 1 little pleasures in life that can change your day". Try making your own list of enjoyable activities and practice them whenever you feel nervous.

    Step # 5: improve your sleep

    Stress ed insomnia very often they go hand in hand: we are nervous and cannot sleep. We can't sleep and we are nervous. It would seem like a vicious circle from which it is difficult to get out. The final step to relax really it is to adopt strategies for a correct "sleep hygiene". If you improve your sleep, all 4 steps previously seen will prove more effective.

    Some practical tips? Here are 5 for wake up well in the morning.

    How to relax when we are in the throes of anxiety

    Have you noticed that in recent years there has not been a single time that I have mentioned them in my articles panic attacks and trough?

    Not that the readers haven't asked me to talk about it, but I believe that psychotherapy and personal growth must be quite distinct. I have further clarified my position in this article, where among other things you will find an interview with one of the leading experts (and not only) on the topic of panic attacks.

    Having clarified this point, I hope these 5 steps will help you relax whenever you feel nervous. If you like to share your strategies in the comments I'd be happy ;-)

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