By: John Woodend
“Don’t do anything. The less you do, the more you do. . . Do less . . . Try less . . . You’re doing too much, do less . . . Remember don’t do anything, nothing . . . Well you . . . No, you gotta do more than that, because you’re just laying . . . Yeah! That wasn’t quite it, but we’re gonna figure it out.”
Chuck (Paul Rudd), in Forgetting Sarah Marshall
In November, I explained how to get “One Point”, the first principle of mind and body coordination. Now that it is December and everyone is gearing up for the holidays I’m going to explore the second principle, “Relax Completely”. Mostly because the second principle comes after the first, but more importantly because everyone can benefit from being more relaxed during the holidays.
Relax Completely, like One point, can be separated into two parts. Mental Relaxation and Physical Relaxation. These parts are symbiotic, when you relax mentally your physical relaxation increases, and vice versa.
Practicing physical relaxation is the practice of doing less with your muscles. This at first means identifying muscles that you are holding tension in and consciously reducing the tension in those muscle(s). If you hit a road block with this, practice relaxing parts of your body that are not tense. This can have a ripple effect on your tense muscles and you wind up tricking your tense muscles into relaxing more.
Mental relaxation is the practice of taking the reins of our gigantic and often chaotic minds. And again just doing less. The “doing less” is taking action to reduce triggers that send your mind into a state of tension. That can be any number of things but a good rule of thumb to see if you need to reduce something is to ask yourself, “Am I helping/making the situation better by giving this my mental space?” If the answer is no, then you have a task and direction to work with. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think on things, however, you should monitor what things and thoughts are causing you useless and unproductive tension. This practice will give you a base of what does matter and what to pay attention to. Which can lead to confidence and that confidence will positively feed into your mental relaxation.
This is all just scratching the surface of Relax Completely. However, the most fun aspect of this principle is, unlike weightlifting or competitive sports, relaxation has no ceiling. You can always be more relaxed than you were before. So, practice doing less and reducing stressors in your daily lives and you will find that your body, thoughts and words are the only things, in the universe, that you have a modicum of control over.