Three Attitudes that Cultivate Relaxation
Regular exercise, spending time with people you like, participating in activities you find fun, being mindful of yourself and your surroundings, laughing, being grateful for what you have, being kind and spending time in nature all reduce your stress and make it easier for you to relax. And relaxation makes you healthier and happier too, so it’s definitely a worthwhile goal to have.
Here are three attitudes to adopt that can help you relax:
Self-acceptance. If you fight with your feeling of stress, you just create more stress. The first step in learning to relax is to accept how you’re feeling right now. You may not like how you’re feeling, which is fine, but if you deny your feeling, you can end up constantly running away from yourself. Acceptance of your present moment experience is the first step towards change.
Self-kindness. Self-kindness or self-compassion is the opposite of self-criticism. Just as you wouldn’t be judgemental of your friend if she’s made a mistake, but give words of encouragement, so you need to do the same to yourself.
If you lost your wallet at a party, say to yourself ‘This could happen to anyone. I’ll be more careful next time’ rather than ‘I’m an idiot. How can I be so stupid?’ Self-kindness helps to turn on your relaxation response, and leads to greater wellbeing.
Self-mastery. Journeying towards greater relaxation needs a clear decision. You need to see that you have to change your life in some way, and then take the necessary action. That action could be in the form of practising regular relaxation techniques, even if it’s just for five minutes a day, or re-prioritising your life so you spend more time doing activities you find relaxing or enjoyable.