What does it mean to be really chill? To be really relaxed?
When I think of relaxation, I think of that state after you get out of the shower or the water after swimming or splashing around. Or the state after staring at a beautiful sunset for a long time. Or the state after waking up from a restful sleep.
That state where both your body and mind are free of tension and thoughts.
How many times do we get to truly relax in a day?
Do we even know what that really means? Life is stressful for us most of the time and our personal relaxation often escapes us as a personal goal.
It seems such a simple thing to relax, but you’re not really relaxed if you’re trying to relax your body and your mind is running at 300 km/h with worries and thoughts, right? You want to relax your body in an armchair, but your mind won’t leave you alone.
Likewise, you can’t relax your mind if you don’t relax your body and give it proper attention. If you always drag yourself with some work that you “have to” do or you don’t give your body the movement it also needs, or the food or sleep it also needs in a day.
Basically, you are completely relaxed when your mind and body are relaxed at the same time.
Mental relaxation always depends on your inner dialogue. That is, the dialogue you have with yourself.
Inner dialogue is that thought through which you talk to yourself.
Can you realize it, right now?
That dialogue in which you tell yourself that “you have something to do today” for example, in which you tell yourself that you look a certain way or that you are a certain way.
Through this dialogue that you have with yourself, you often stress yourself about something, and you put pressure on yourself about something. Or you lower your self-esteem yourself.
You put pressure through statements like “I have to do this”, or “I have to look like this”, or “Today I have to be” in a certain way. More precisely through the word “must” of the statement. I’m not saying here that it’s not ok to be mentally organized. But there is an important distinction between organization and neurosis. Being able to stop your mind when you want is a very important skill of yours. Otherwise, your mind will take care of itself :). With you, to be exact 🙂
This kind of statement of your inner dialogue that starts with the word “must” stress you out and stop the mental relaxation you want. They make you act to satisfy that “must” in the requirement. Because our mind has been taught since we are small to work on the “carrot and stick” model, meaning punishment or reward for a certain requirement. And now that we are adults we manage to do it ourselves :).
The problem is that the negative inner dialogue most of the time doesn’t even come from us, but from a parent from childhood or some relative who put something negative in our heads when we were little: “You’re too fat”, “You’re too weak”, “You’re too lazy”, “You’re too emotional”, “You’re too sensitive”. And now we too have come to believe this about ourselves and to repeat the same mess in our minds. Without even realizing that in fact, we are now doing this to ourselves. So how can you be mentally relaxed, or happy with yourself, with such negative inner dialogue?
Examples of affirmations of the negative inner dialogue that you have and their positive version that you can induce:
- NEGATIVE inner dialogue: “I’m too fat/skinny/ugly”… POSITIVE variant => I’m a beautiful person created by the universe and I’m imperfect but perfection doesn’t even exist. It’s most likely just an idea in someone else’s head. 🙂 I’m going to love myself and my body the way it is now and stop stressing myself out with negative statements like that that make me feel bad.
- NEGATIVE inner dialogue: “I am too lazy”.. POSITIVE variant => I am a man with limited energy resources, and I will let myself use my energy resources as I feel. My intention is focused on my goal, but I will give myself the necessary time to rest as much as I need so that I can then have the necessary energy to work on what I want and what makes me happy in the long term. Someone else’s standards of how I should work are their business, and my goals and how I achieve them are my business.
- NEGATIVE inner dialogue: “You’re too emotional” or “You’re too sensitive” – POSITIVE variant => My sensitivity is a quality of mine that I’m proud of and I won’t let anyone tell me that I should feel any different. It takes a lot of courage to show your emotions and be emotionally vulnerable with someone else.
There are many more, and that’s what I work with, to identify these negative inner dialogues, in myself and in others, and bring them to a positive path. The negative inner dialogue is like a poison that we have inside us and that prevents us from being happy with ourselves and therefore truly relaxed and content.
You can ideally have the mental relaxation you desire all the time, not only in the moments when you intend to relax. Yes, we may have it all the time. But like anything else, it’s a skill that we need to work on ourselves to get. If we don’t get it, the alternative is: falling into negative mental patterns that lead to depression, neuroses, and addictions to external stimuli. And if we often look honestly at those around us, and at ourselves, we are often in this area in our lives.
It is also important to realize that external stimuli such as movies or video games are not mental relaxation for us, they are entertainment. I’m not condemning movies and video games in any way, I also give movies and games a hard time, but it’s important to understand that they don’t exactly give us the relaxation we need. But often overstimulation or distraction from ourselves and our relaxation.
This mental relaxation, if you think about it, is something quite elusive, complex, and counterintuitive in the end, although it seems something trivially simple. But like the snow that seems simple or banal at first glance, it actually has a special depth and beauty manifested through its very simplicity.
Basically, we need to relax the mind in the short term through the day, through sleep or meditation, but also in the long term, by understanding our negative inner dialogue and replacing it with a positive one.
But how do we relax our bodies? We usually imagine bodily relaxation as sleeping or sitting in a comfortable bed or armchair, doing nothing. Yes, this is relaxing indeed.
But here’s another interesting thing about our body: it cannot fully relax if it has not done any physical activity before. It’s like he detects his own extremes and relaxes more and better if he’s done something before that he needs to relax after. That’s why the sensation of bodily relaxation that we have after doing sports or exercise of any kind is more qualitative than the one we have without having done anything before when we just sit in a bed or armchair. Basically, it’s the body’s way of telling us that movement or sport is good for us and relaxes us :).
Cool this body of ours, isn’t it? He tells us a lot of things if only we want to listen to him! 🙂 It tells us when we are hungry, thirsty, and sleepy, and takes us where we need to be :). Let’s just be aware of this and not let our ego-manifested mind pull on it more than it can carry.
In the end, we relax both mentally and physically in the long term by also doing these things that we like. If you’re always frustrated that you didn’t do anything that you like that day, how can you relax?
So, make sure that every day you do more things that you like, whatever those are!
If someone were to ask me what is the most important skill that I have acquired since working on my own personal development, I would say that it is the ability to fully relax, to truly chill, especially in difficult moments of my life when relaxation does not come easily.
There was a moment in the Shogun book, where the Toranaga shogun was informed that he was being attacked by enemies on multiple fronts and was being rushed and pressured to come up with an immediate response to these actions, like “So now what do we do?!! ” – and his reply is: “At the moment I’m going to take a bath, and then I’m going to think about what we’re going to do “. 🙂 So he prioritized his mental relaxation there so he could make a good decision that came from a relaxed mindset, not a pressured one.
It doesn’t always work out for me either, and I often rub my own mind by overthinking, or by worrying for nothing, or by negative dialogue that I also have with myself many times. But if there is one thing that I feel has changed in me since the spiritual awakening I had a few years ago, it is that I am no longer so constantly “chased” by my mind and the movies it keeps playing before my eyes.
I no longer always want something created by the mind and then jump unsatisfied with another desire. I can maintain a state of mental wellness that has almost become a constant for me and nothing outside of me breaks me down mentally anymore. It’s like before the awakening I felt that I was the words in this text, now it’s like I’m also the space between the words, the pause between the actions, I’m also the road from the map that connects all of my life’s destinations.
Relaxation is extremely important to us, although most of the time we don’t even realize it.
I leave you here a relaxing song from a special movie that I do recommend to you: “Her”.