Relaxation – Do we really know what it is anymore?

  • re·lax [ri-laks]

    –verb (used with object)
    1. to make less tense, rigid, or firm; make lax: to relax the muscles.
    2. to diminish the force of.
    3. to slacken or abate, as effort, attention, etc.
    4. to make less strict or severe, as rules, discipline, etc.: to relax the requirements for a license.
    5. to release or bring relief from the effects of tension, anxiety, etc.: A short swim always relaxes me.
    –verb (used without object)
    6. to become less tense, rigid, or firm.
    7. to become less strict or severe; grow milder.
    8. to reduce or stop work, effort, application, etc., esp. for the sake of rest or recreation.
    9. to release oneself from inhibition, worry, tension, etc.

    So that’s the online dictionary definition but how often have you heard someone say “I’m going to put my feet up and relax with a good film.” or “I’m off down the pub for a relaxing pint with the lads.”?

    Our perception of relaxation, it seems, is becoming far removed from what it actually means to be relaxed.  How is one relaxing when watching a good film?  Take a thriller for example.  The clue is in the name of the genre.  The film is designed to thrill you, keep you in suspense or get your heart racing through a chase sequence for example.  God forbid you’ve chosen to relax to a horror film!  The other example of relaxing down the pub with mates.  You might be stood at the bar so no muscle relaxation there.  Animated conversation means you’re not relaxing your mind.  The added pressure you’re putting on your body to process and deal with the alcohol.  If you get a bit tipsy and start acting the fool.  All have nothing to do with relaxation.

    In this modern, fast paced, hurley burley world in which we live, it is becoming more and more important to RELAX!  Give our bodies time to regenerate and heal, our minds time to recuperate and calm themselves.  Of course sleep is one form of relaxation, but if one has watched a horror movie or had a skinful in the pub how well do they sleep?

    Hypnosis is said to be a state of intense focussed natural relaxation.  I have often had a client comment “I’ve never been so relaxed”, and yes even the ones who thought they couldn’t be hypnotised.  You can learn self-hypnosis to achieve relaxation.  After all, another defintion of hypnosis states that “All hypnosis is self-hypnosis”.  In being so relaxed during a state of hypnosis, one automatically starts to address issues like stress, worry, tension and anxiety so it follows that any clinical ailment experienced as a result of these also starts to get better.  IBS is a good example of this and there is much empirical research to support it.  All this even before I’ve used any suggestion with them.

    So next time you say you’re going to relax, just think for a moment; Are you really relaxing?


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