Vicki Baum, the famous novelist, once said that when she was a child, she met an old man who taught her one of the most important lessons she ever learned. She had fallen down and cut her knees and hurt her wrist. The old man, who had once been a circus clown, picked her up and as he brushed her off, he said, “The reason you injured yourself was because you don’t know how to relax. You have to pretend you are as limp as a sock, as an old crumpled sock.”
The old man then taught Vicki Baum and the other children how to fall, how to do flip-flops, and how to turn somersaults. And always he insisted, “Think of yourself as an old crumpled sock. Then you’ve got to relax!”
You can retain relaxation in odd moments, almost anywhere you are. The key is … don’t make an effort to relax. After all, relaxation is the absence of all tension and effort. Simply think “ease and relaxation.” Begin by thinking relaxation of the muscles of your eyes and face, saying over and over, “Let go…let go…let go and relax.” Feel the energy flowing out of your facial muscles to the center of your body. Think of yourself as free from tension as a baby.
Here are four suggestions from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan that will help you learn to relax:
Relax in odd moments — Like the old man said, simply let your body go limp like an old sock at various times throughout the day. The yogis in India say that if you want to master the art of relaxation, study the cat. Think about that for a moment…did you ever see a cat with a nervous breakdown, or a cat suffering from insomnia, worry, or stomach ulcers? Did you ever pick up a sleeping kitten? Both ends sag like a wet newspaper. For true relaxation, learn to relax as the cat does.
Be comfortable — Work as much as possible in a comfortable position. Remember that tensions on the body produce aching shoulders and nervous fatigue.
Check your exertion level periodically throughout the day — Check yourself four or five times a day, and say to yourself, “Am I making my work harder than it actually is? Am I using muscles that have nothing to do with the work I am doing?” This will help you form the habit of relaxing.
Take stock at the end of the day — Test yourself again at the end of the day by asking yourself, “Just how tired am I? If I am tired, it is not because of the mental work I have done, but because of the way I have done it.” More often-than-not, when you feel particularly tired at the end of the day, it will have been an inefficient day both as to quantity and quality.
Learning to relax will make a profound difference in all facets of your day and life. Try the tips above today and see for yourself!
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @micarnegie.
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