This article is about David’s relaxation story. He learned different ways of relaxing. He discusses his relaxation story along with links to related materials.
“Relaxation techniques” and “stress management techniques”
One of these techniques is to not to use the word “stress” as in “I am stressed”. Instead of saying a negative, rephrase that negative in a positive way. For example, a negative phrase like “I am stressed” could be rephrased as a positive phrase “I am relaxed”.
Loosely speaking, these two things are the same thing. However the phrase “relaxation techniques” is way superior to “stress management techniques” or “anxiety management techniques” or “coping techniques” in my opinion and in the opinion of many people. Here’s why:-
If you say quietly to yourself “I am relaxed”, your brain will try to obey this instruction. However if you say quietly to yourself “I am not stressed”, your brain will not “see” the “not” in “not stressed” and ends up trying to obey a “I am stressed” instruction which you do not want.
Don’t believe me. Well if I ask you “please don’t think of a little pink elephant roaming in the wild”, do you see a “little pink elephant roaming in the wild” in your mind, no matter how hard you try not to? The concept is similar here. That is why when thinking about things you want in your future, you are usually way better to phrase them and think about what you do want, rather than what you do not want.
Some of David’s Notes on Relaxation
David has learned about and implemented a number of relaxation techniques which he finds work for him. Some techniques work for him and for many others. Some techniques work for many others however do not work for him. So not all of these techniques may work for you, however if some do that would still be a “win win” situation for you. Of course, you may find putting your own individual “twist” to some of these techniques helpful and David encourages you to do so. David himself uses a mixture of techniques on a regular basis.
Some ways to relax actually require a regular time commitment, like for example meditation. And some ways require implementing different approaches when appropriate. For example, thinking along the lines of “Will this be important in 5 years time?”
He hopes that you using a number of different relaxation techniques will find using them useful and beneficial in your life. He hopes that you learn or re-learn a number of different techniques.
Now, David is not going to claim that he knows everything about relaxation. He does not. However he does know that relaxation helps him. His hope is that some of the relaxation techniques that he found practical helps you also.
Practicing or doing relaxation is accumulated over time. It is better to do some every single day especially on really busy days even if only for a minute or so. This is because that minute or so on that really busy day acts as a “brake” or “breather” for you.
It is to be pointed out that knowing and practicing relaxation techniques may not totally work in all cases, however they may help you just enough. In his experience and in his opinion at this stage, it is a multi layered type of approach that needs to be followed on a regular basis, some of these techniques should ideally be done on a daily basis. Things like going for regular walks, eating well, getting enough quality sleep, doing meditation and getting enough water all help in their various ways. Of course, what works for one person may not work for another, which is why knowing and practicing different techniques can be so helpful. That way you can try them out for yourself, drop the ones that don’t resonate with you and do the ones that do resonate with you.
Also applying some highly effective thinking on things can also help. When something “not great” happens, the human mind can end up doing a lot of “bad thinking” about the situation and make the situation way worst by continuously thinking about the “not great” situation. Over thinking and over analyzing things that happened in the past or may not happen in the future is also a potential problem,
He is aware of two different things that you can do in this situation which may help you:
- Ask yourself “Will this be important in 5 years time?” If the answer is No, then simply say silently to yourself “Not important, moving on”.
- You think of something “not great”, and you know that dwelling on it is “bad” for you, immediately after the thought appears, say to yourself as strongly as you can, “So what”.
Of course, these two approaches may help in a lot of cases, however not all cases. David is sure that there are many more things that a person can do, however as the two approaches mentioned above work for him some of the time, they may also work for you. 🙂
He has read books written by people in different lines of work including medical doctors and yes, they contain good advice and lots of interesting information. In a lot of cases, they contain a lot of practical information which can also help. By adapting wholeheartedly the provided information, it can help a lot in a lot of cases.
One such book is by Dr Harry Barry. David’s Review: Anxiety And Panic – How to reshape your anxious mind and brain post reviews this book in some detail. The book itself explains a number of practical approaches and explains current thinking about what is happening in the human brain. Some of the practical approaches explained in the book explain practical ways to overcome these issues.
Knowing about the different approaches can help. However practicing them on a regular enough basis helps more.
Now David the guy who writes about relaxation wants to give back
Now he wants to give back so that you can benefit from his journey. Over a period of time David has learned quite a bit about this subject from the layman’s point of view. For instance, learning and practicing meditation on a daily basis can help.
Doing meditation on a daily basis also has a number of other health related benefits, which is also good. However, there are a number of different meditation techniques out there and different people say “My one is the best”. By the way, no way is David saying that his way is the best. In his experience there is no one way. In his opinion, there are many different ways.
David’s Review: Practical meditation – A simple step-by-step guide post reviews this book in some detail. The book itself is a reference book and a practical guide about meditation. The books also covers 39 different meditation techniques, some of which David resonates with and others he doesn’t. You may find the same.
If you have a smartphone, you might find the Insight Timer App to be a great resource. They give you access to online audio recordings on relaxation, meditation, mindfulness and other related topics. They also have a premium paid for version which includes courses on many related topics. David’s Use the popular Insight Timer app post explains more about this extremely useful practical self-care app.
David the guy who writes about relaxation – His story
David experienced stress for a long while and tried for a long time to remove the stress from his life by doing all those things people say you should do. You know, sleep better, eat better, go for 30-60 minute walks every day, de-stress, unwind and loads of other things. That did not really work for him until the main stressor was removed completely from his life. Once that was removed, things started to improve. However by then, the damage had been done.
One problem with stress in his experience is that he thinks that he can cope with a tiny bit more for a tiny bit longer while that is not always the case. David is reminded of the famous saying “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. So if you are piling stresses on top of existing stresses, I would recommend that you look at and practice doing relaxation techniques as a first step. That is why today he suggests doing as much self-care activities every day that you can. If you are looking for ideas, see his relaxation techniques post for ideas.
How to manage stress levels in David’s opinion?
So how do you get to manage your stress levels in different ways that may be better. Well, David literally spent a lot of time reading applicable related different books (for example this book and this book), doing different courses (Insight Timer has many different online audio courses with usually ten to twenty minute sessions), listening to different audio recordings (for example by Insight Timer and by Headspace), looking at videos and he has learned different things from these resources that have helped him. As well as doing these things, he has spent time following their suggestions and recommendations into his life.
Some approaches worked for him, whereas others didn’t. It could be that the ones that did not were just not suitable for him and may work for you. However please understand, he can not recommend the ones that did not work for him.
David is beginning to realize that stress has to be managed better at least in his own life. Too much bad stress can affect your health in a negative way, therefore stress needs to be managed well. There are numerous ways to relax (in a very loose sense of the word) that help. Being aware of some of these relaxation techniques can help, especially if a number of them can be integrated into daily life.
For instance, one technique is that if something annoys you, asking yourself silently the question “Will this be important in 5 years time?” – Many times the answer will be No, therefore you say to yourself “Not important, moving on” and simply move on. You be surprised how effective that this one is. It may not work all of the time however when it does, it is an extremely effective technique.
And, you also see, how simple and obvious it is, once you realize that it can be used in this manner.
Much of the relaxation content that David discusses here is going to be around simple practical techniques. This usually makes them simple enough to learn, to try out and to practice. It usually takes a number of iterations before a technique becomes familiar and useful. You may find after a while and find yourself pleasantly surprised to discover you can “call it” on demand when needed.
For example, if you are struck in a traffic jam and getting all stressed out, practice deep breathing every much on purpose and slowly for a few minutes, keeping your eyes open and keeping yourself alert so that you still know what is going on around you. Then practice open eyes informal Loving-kindness meditation by noticing someone, and saying silently to yourself one or more Loving-Kindness phrases, like for example “may you have a good day”.
However in order to do this, you first had to learn and practice a specific technique. Once learned and practiced you then have it in your toolkit. I am reminded of yet another saying “Use it or lose it”. For that reason I recommend that you use the relaxation techniques that resonate with you the most on a regular basis.
For David, learning about additional relaxation techniques has been a great approach. After he learns about a “new” one, some he knew about but never thought of them as relaxation techniques, and if it resonates with him, he implements them into his daily life where possible. This has been a good approach for him. If you want to read about some of these different relaxation techniques, you can read this article here.