Releasing tension with mindfulness training online
Feeling a little stressed about all the free mindfulness training online? So am I. A simple search for releasing tension has led me down the bunny trail for almost 3 hours of time, showing me information that really does not help and even a site that wanted to charge me $49.95 for a 9 series of 7 minutes meditation. Online? But wait, act now and get 3 free ebooks!
Everyone explained how we can live happier without stress and tension. I agree. Everyone explained the various ways to release the stress and tension. And I agree. In fact, I have tried several and they worked! Everyone talked and explained how to live without stress, without tension. And I disagree. Let me explain step by step:
- Grandpa and his gravel roads
- Thich Nhat Hanh
- Guided meditations
- Increasing the experience
Grandpa and his gravel roads
Grandpa advised me to relax and hold on. Usually he said this just before turning down a bumpy road and speeding up. No matter how I braced, what I clung to in desperation, I got shaken around, slammed from side to side and thrown all around. Grandpa just smiled and went even faster. One hand on the steering wheel, hand rolling a cigarette with the other and never looking at me. Nope, he was too busy looking for squirrels and birds.
Just like life itself. It is full of holes, loose gravel, and has sharp twists and turns. Trust me, the next bump will be worse than the last one. I grew to love those rides with my Grandpa. The tension building as we approached a dirt road, the stress of the ride itself and the incredible rush of the experience. Tension and stress play a vital role in our lives. Often, we are able to accomplish the impossible tasks because of the stress and tension.
They also play into our health and happiness. I think, to have life, we must have stress. To be able to enjoy the feeling of living we must feel tension. We have to have a way to release or we will be missing out on life. Switch attitude to the stress. Don’t just see the negative consequences of feeling stressed. Use mindfulness to think differently about the stress itself. Accept the stress, knowing you cannot prevent it. Acknowledge and use the stress and tension but allow them to pass.
Whenever I went to visit, Grandpa would say, “I found a new road” or even better, “a shortcut!” Grandpa’s shortcuts were always even more thrilling than the paved road.
Thich Nhat Hanh
As we know, Thich Nhat Hanh has a simple breakdown of five exercises for mindfulness in everyday life. Number four in the list is Releasing Tension. “Breathing in, I’m aware of my body. Breathing out, I release the tension in my body.” With practice, you realize that stress (like pain) is a ‘message’ that melts away once it’s ‘delivered’ or felt with full mindful awareness. When this occurs, happiness and peace have the oppuritunity to fill the void.
Stress builds up…and when we DON’T release stress we get sick, diseased, unhappy, and problems arise in life.
Relaxing music helps to lower blood pressure and decrease the level of stress hormones flowing through your body. This happens in part because the calming music helps you to slow down and pace your breathing, reducing your heart rate and pulse. Certain music also stimulates the relaxation response of your autonomic nervous system.
Remember, the tools in your tool box work best when used together. Some are essential, some may be only needed to “get in the flow” and some you use at the same time. Just as Rome took a couple of days to build, meditation does not emerge full grown.
I find guided meditations to be very helpful and can lead to a solid foundation for meditation and relaxation. I try to find meditations that are simple and short enough to give a taste without overpowering. These are chosen to allow you to gain benifits without taking a lot of time. I use these and similar guides when I wish to go for a quick fix.
Why use meditation just to relieve tension? I believe tension/stress to be as much a part of our lives as happiness and contentment. It is the buildup, the execess of tension that is damaging. Before going into a situtation, take 5 minutes and grab some tools. Breath, Concentrate, be Aware. Set yourself for what comes next with a plan. We do not control the future, but we can influence it.
Scenario; My son gets into trouble at his high school. Because of his conduct, I, yes, I get called to the Principals Office. Do I walk in with Alice Cooper “No more Mr. Nice Guy” blowing up my headphones? Or do I walk in withJohn Lennon’s “Imagine”? Yes, exactly, Alice all the way! Make the principal wait till the song is over! With maybe a little George Thorogood And The Destroyers – Bad To The Bone for an exit theme.
Increasing the experience
Were you aware that meditation itself can be stressful? Am I doing this right? I can’t stop the thoughts. How come I don’t feel the Joy? Do I have to sit a with my hands in a special position? And on and on.
Remember Rome. Small steps on a solid path are more peaceful than running in the deep sand. And more productive. First, use guided sessions to get on the path and take small steps to progress. Once you feel comfortable, move up to small steps of just you meditating, no guide.
To enhance meditation, I use music. There are a lot of choices and you can build different playlists, the supply is endless. I have my favorites, depending on what I wish to reach for. What works for me may not work for you, I suggest you sample different types and styles. One does not fit all.
To wrap it up
My Grandpa and Thich Nhat Hanh agreed that tension is, and always will be, a part of our daily life. I have learned thru life that no matter how much stress and tension I remove, more takes its place. Almost a Catch-22.
We now have 4 of the five basic tools. Let’s add Mindful Walking and gain harmony between our minds and bodies. Our toolbox is bginning tofill up. There is plenty of room for the speciality tools, the ones designed and made to address areas in our life. Just as there are different types of screwdrivers, there are different meditations for the different aspects of anxaity.
Mindfulness Walking is the next essential addition. Throw out the sitting, let’s get some movement into this. For now, we need some time to reflect and to practice what is working and to revise what is not.
Honest answer time. Can you remove ALL the stress and tension from your life, starting right now and going forward from today? How do you handle all of today’s stress and tension? Leave a comment, let me know what additional tools you would like in Your Tool Box.
Questions, comments are always welcome!
Walking the Path of Peace,