I often recommend formal relaxation to my patients because it provides a space where your body can get on with the business of healing. Your body knows exactly what it needs to do to heal itself. Our job is to provide it with the resources it needs to do just that.
I describe it as formal relaxation because it’s relaxation that is planned in rather than relying on it happening by accident. One of the cornerstones of great health, is allowing your body time to rest and recover. We need to make this a priority rather than slotting it around other things. Often we never get to those things that are slotted in around others. So, take a moment now, and write in your calendar three things you can do this week that you find relaxing. Here are some ideas:
- colouring in
- walking in nature
- noticing the flowers blooming in your neighbourhood or the beauty of the trees when their leaves change colour and fall
- looking through photos from your favourite holiday
Research shows relaxation can really help get your stress levels down. This is because it brings the parasympathetic nervous system (that aspect focused on healing and recovery) to the fore. We can do this through prayer, reflection, meditation – anything that brings us to a still quiet space. Stress increases inflammation in the body so if you have a health condition which is inflammatory in nature, reducing your stress can reduce the severity of the symptoms associated with your illness.
Here are two ways you can do this. One is called the release meditation and the other is the emergency or mist exercise.
The emergency or mist exercise is one of my favourites as it is so quick to do, discrete and I always find I feel so much more relaxed after it. To do this exercise
Relax with the white mist visualisation
Imagine you are breathing in a white mist,
As you breathe in, see it circling in and around, inside of your head
As you breathe out the white mist, let your shoulders droop and your body go limp.
Repeat at least 2 more times.