Relax

30 Days to Happiness: R is for Relax

RelaxA book, a hot bath, a beach chair, a float for the pool, a pillow, blanket, sofa, a massage. . .Any one of these or a combination will beckon me, and I will obey and relax. My resume clearly shows that relaxing is a definite strength. I can usually put off any number of high priority tasks if opportunity and inspiration presents itself for me to relax.  I have one question for you, if  I am so good at relaxing, why can I  get intense so easily? The answer lies in the fact that I may be relaxing my body, but my mind is still on the job.

If we can learn to give our minds a rest along with our bodies, I believe  we will find a  deeper place of relaxation  where God can speak to us, refresh us, and bring about the best in us. It is going to require getting our mind, “our reasoner” to be quiet. When I am “relaxing” my mind is still rapidly chasing rabbit trails Thousands of thoughts continue to vy for my attention, pulling me away from the book I am reading, busily solving problems or making plans. That may be relaxation of the body, but it is not RELAXATION of the mind.

I would venture to say that our minds are the hardest working organ in our bodies. For example, the heart basically has one job to do, pump blood. The liver gets poisons out of our systems; the lungs take in air and release carbon dioxide; the stomach digests food. Read this list of what our brains do:

  •  “Controls the  body’s functions, such as walking, talking, swallowing, breathing, taste, smell, heart rate
  • Controls all our thinking functions, our emotions, how we behave and all our intellectual (cognitive) activities, such as how we attend to things, how we perceive and understand our world and its physical surroundings, how we learn and remember and so on.” (ABI Manual)

I don’t know about you, but my brain needs to RELAX!

I know that when I can get my “reasoner” to be quiet, I can better hear from God, I can be more creative, and I can receive inspiration from Him. This is great motivation to find techniques to quiet my mind and learn to really relax. I’ll be experimenting with this over the next few weeks, so if you have any tips, please feel free to share them.

Here’ s a method of relaxation suggested by Norman Vincent Peale’s in his book, The Power of Positive Thinking.

Lay with your palms up.

  • Begin with the toes, and think or say “My toes are relaxed.” Do this slowly without thinking too much about it.
  • Move up your body, doing this with every muscle part until you have covered all of the muscles of the face and the top of the head.
  • At this point you should be completely relaxed or asleep.

Another idea for entering into a deeper state of relaxation is to imagine you are on the 50th floor of an elevator. Count down as the elevator goes down opening out onto a beautiful beach or a peaceful scene. Your mind should be quieted now, and you can relax, thinking only of the Lord and the beautiful scene in your imagination.

A third method is to simply put on some relaxing music. You can find a number of sessions on Youtube. Just lie down, breathe deeply, and and totally relax.

If you have tips and methods for deep relaxation, please share. I really want to give my brain a rest!

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So It’s Not as Easy As It Sounds?

Dr Sharon2“Dr. Sharon! Dr. Sharon! Dr. Sharon.” Bill rushes past the receptionist desk and into Dr. Sharon’s office where he finds her with her feet up, sipping a diet coke, with a book in her hand.

“Bill, what are you doing? I’m on a break between patients. Is this an emergency?” she inquires as she puts her feet on the floor, straightens her white jacket and smooths her hair.

“Yes, you’ve got to help me. Sorry to barge in, but I’ve been reading ‘Dare to Be Happy,’ you know the blog that everyone is talking about by Sharybary. The one from yesterday got me so excited. I knew I had found the answer! It was called, let’s see, what was it? The lion, the witch and the ditch? No, that’s not it. The hump, the bump and the barrel?”

“I read it,” the doctor replied. ‘The Bump, the Ditch, and the Cliff.’ Good reading. I think she may be onto something.

“Well, yes, that’s it. I thought so, too, but then I woke up this morning and I felt bad. Something at work was bothering me. It was just a bump,  and I tried to do what she said. I tried to think about Jesus, and relax and enjoy the day, but that bad feeling didn’t go away. I tried to figure out what I should do about this work problem, and I kept feeling worse. Why didn’t this work for me? If it didn’t work for this little bump, what’s going to happen when I fall off of a cliff.  It sounded so easy when she said it. As a matter of fact, all of this stuff sounds so easy. What’s wrong with me, Doc? Why isn’t it working for me?

hill1“Bill, sit down. The truth is, it’s not easy.” Bill’s faced looked glum, but she continued, “You see it is very easy to start sliding down a steep hill, isn’t it? You can land at the bottom in just a few seconds with no effort at all. When you turn around and look back up the hill, it’s not such an easy task to get back up there. You might even need some help. If you’ve got a friend that knows you’re down there, they could go for help, or throw you a rope, or send a helicopter. . The first thing to do when it seems too hard to get over the bump, or out of the ditch or to get help when the cliff looms ahead, is to realize you are not alone. Find someone to talk to, someone to pray with you and encourage you. Don’t just tell them your problems, but ask for help, and then listen, really listen, weigh it out, and if it seems right to you, follow their advice.

The second thing you need to do is put one foot in front of the other. Just do one thing to get you started up back up that hill. Like she was saying, you want to look to Jesus and take a step in the right direction. Your first step might be to smile, or find something to laugh about, or meditate a verse of scripture, or it might be to do something related to the problem to get you moving. Even if Jesus looks far away, you will do far better to look up to Him, than to look down at your feet, where you have landed. Remember, it is the resistance to get up the hill that strengthens your muscles. Are you understanding what I am saying?”

“Yes, ma’am. So it’s not as easy as it seemed when I read the story?”

step4“No, Bill, often times it is not easy. I don’t think she really meant to imply that it is. She just likes to be all upbeat and everything to get people’s minds off their problems. It’s a pretty good place to start, but she really knows it’s harder than it looks.  God has so much for us to do, more hills to climb. She kind of gets excited about telling folks they can live a happy, and successful life, so they don’t stay in one place any longer than they have to. She doesn’t mean to minimize the pain, or the struggle, or the value of it.  She knows the meaning of adversity, and she knows God has brought her through many things. She feels the more we can focus on the solutions and God’s power working in us, the sooner the victory comes.”

“How is it you know so much about what she was trying to say?” Bill asked.

“I know Ms. Bary personally. We have had long talks in the middle of the night, Bill.”

“So what’s your advice, Dr. Sharon?”

“Bill, keep reading the stories she writes. It’s good stuff. And even though it’s hard, get your eyes on step5the Lord and off of your problem; trust Him for the answer. That’s a good word for anyone.  And don’t forget to ask for help when you need it. Just like you did today.”

“Okay, Doc! Thanks. I think I understand, now. I can do this. Thanks for encouraging me. Hey, if you’re talking to Ms. Bary, please give my regards.”

“I’ll do that, Bill. and would you send the next patient in, please? Have a nice day!”

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