Relieving tension is a first step in relieving stress and creating a state of relaxation. Tension in the body encourages stress and vice versa. Mistakenly, many people think stress has to be first confronted in the mind, then the body will relax. Eastern traditions find this not to be true. In traditional yogic practices, yoga- a series of stretches coordinated with the breath- is the preparation for meditation. Meditation, an act which largely takes place in the mind, is more difficult when the body is tense and unrelaxed. Most mindfulness practices begin with a body-scan technique where tension is noticed throughout the body and let go of.
“Tension means hurry, fear, doubt,” Osho Times contributes to Huffington Post India. “Tension means a constant effort to protect, to be secure, to be safe. Tension means preparing for tomorrow now…afraid tomorrow you will not be able to face the reality…” Comparing tension to a “hangover”, the author writes, “Tension means the past that you have not lived really but only somehow bypassed; it hangs, it is a hangover, it surrounds you.”
Learning to recognize physical tension and stress can help those in recovery identify when they are being triggered, even if they aren’t aware of their tension’s source. Fostering a mind-body connection is important for enhancing the relationship one has with themselves. For relapse prevention, emotional management, and navigating difficult situations, checking in with physical tension and letting it go can be monumental. Becoming centered and present, one feels confident in their ability to get through life without using or drinking.
“If you become capable of relaxing the body voluntarily, then you will be able to help your mind relax voluntarily,” the author writes. “The mind is a more complex phenomenon. Once you have become confident that the body listens to you, you will have a new trust in yourself.”
Physical Relaxation Techniques:
- Body-scan: Closing your eyes, visualize moving down your body starting from the top of your head. Notice where there is any tension, discomfort or stress in your body. As you notice it, take deep breaths and move on to the next area.
- Tension-release: Find a comfortable position sitting or lying down. Starting with the toes, systematically clench and release different areas of the body. As you release the tension, say to yourself “My (insert area) is relaxing” after you repeat “My (insert area) is completely relaxed”.
- Stretch: If you notice physical tension, take a few minutes to breathe deeply and stretch your body. It doesn’t have to be yoga or anything structured. Simply move your body in the way it feels it needs to be moved.
Relaxation is a primary goal at Cypress Lakes Lodge. Our beautiful estate located on the rolling hills in Eastern Texas offers an oxygen rich environment and tranquil surroundings. An integrative approach treatment brings together holistic and therapeutic modalities to encourage balance and restoration. For more information on our programs, call us today at 409-331-2204.