Learning how to relax your mind can be quite difficult without a solid strategic plan. Your mind is like a spoiled child. It keeps on grasping to comfortable experience and running away from uncomfortable experience. Even when you frequently try to take a break and relax your mind, thoughts run all day long.
Here, you’ll learn how to relax your mind using mindfulness based methods that you are personally compatible with. This way, you will actually enjoy the experience.
The first thing you need to do to relax your mind is to choose an object of focus to concentrate on. Deep concentration on one object has been proven to relax your mind and your body. You may be thinking that you’ve tried concentration in a meditation class and it did not help you relax your mind. Maybe you found that you were too busy to use such mind relaxing methods. That’s what this article is for.
Concentration can be likened to falling in love. You can’t fall in love with just anyone, but you can fall in love with someone whom you are compatible with. Think about what you want to fall in love with. This can be a visualized image of the healing light of Jesus or the repetition of a loving devotional phrase.
You can visualize a serene childhood nature spot you visited as a kid or simply concentrate on the feeling of your own breath as it passes through the nostrils. If your object is simple and invites a state of deep, loving absorption, then you probably found your chosen object. The right object will invite you to relax your mind on a very deep level.
Choose a specific time of day that is specifically devoted to relaxing your mind. During this time, sit in a comfortable position with your vertebrae stacked one on top of the other. Start stacking from the bottom and work your way all the way up to the top of your head. Tuck in your chin a little bit to complete the process. Close your eyes either fully or partially to turn your attention “inward”.
Concentrate on your object of focus. If it’s a phrase, repeat it over and over again either silently or aloud. If your object is visual, then hold your attention on it. Your mind will try to trick you out of this. When your attention wanders, bring your attention back to your object. Don’t try to measure how you’re doing. Each time you bring your attention back, you are training your mind to relax.
If you really want to learn how to relax your mind, add mindfulness to your concentration practice. When your mind strays from the object of focus, simply watch the chatter. Take note of it as a detached observer and lightly “tap” your thoughts with the word “thinking”.
If repressed anger comes up, take note and “tap” it with the word “anger”. Pretend you are the sky, and these thoughts are clouds passing through you. Take note, then bring your attention back to your object of focus.
As you learn how to relax your mind, you will discover that thoughts are not distractions from the present moment. They are processes that are occurring in the present moment. Meditation trains you to relax your mind and embrace moment to moment experience as it arises. Taking note of your thoughts as a detached observer teaches you that you are an infinitely spacious being. Thoughts are occurring, but they’re not you.
You can also think of yourself as the ocean. The ocean is infinitely spacious, still, vast and calm. Only the waves are disturbed by storms and jumping fish. Your thoughts, body sensations and emotions are just waves. When you are calmly present with the waves as they rise and fall, you will realize that true happiness and relaxation is behind all this rising and falling. This will become more apparent as you learn how to relax your mind.
Even with the above instructions, you may still have difficulty relaxing your mind. Some experts will tell you to “practice practice practice” and let go of expectations of immediate results.
This is good advice. You will get some short term relaxation. However, you need to practice consistently to build a profound momentum of peace and relax your mind on a deep level. Each session builds on the next. True relaxation will come from this momentum and long term training process. This is true even if you devote a mere 10 minutes each day to relaxing your mind.
Stay consistent, and the art of learning how to relax your mind will become easier over time.
There are some tricks, however, that will help you to relax your mind in the short term. One trick is to develop a warm up strategy. Every meditation technique has some type of warm up strategy to relax the mind in preparation for a meditation session. Some are as simple as taking a few deep breaths.
Hatha Yoga has a more sophisticated regimen of stretching, poses and breathing exercises, after which it is a whole lot easier to relax your mind. Qigong uses a lot of exercises for loosening joints and generating feeling in the body.
Some contemplative Christians use scripture to prepare themselves for meditation, and other disciplines use offerings of gratitude for this same purpose. Find those physical and mental activities that help you to relax your mind. Begin this routine with stretching exercises because stretching is a universally helpful way for you to become anchored in the present moment and relax your mind.
Here’s another trick. Integrate your warm up activities into your daily life. You probably have a lot of down times in your day. Some, like elevator rides, are 30 seconds long. Others are longer. Use all of these down times for activities that help you relax your mind. Try some of the above warm up activities for this. Prayer will also help you relax your mind as will the simple act of imagining your family members and coworkers experiencing happiness and peace.
Whatever activities you choose to help you relax your mind, make sure you spend at least 30 seconds during each hour to do this. Sometimes, you’ll find that you can immediately relax your mind with these activities. Other times, you will find that they seem to have the opposite effect.
Regardless, all these activities will help you relax your mind in the long term. Most of the magic will accumulate behind the scenes until it becomes much easier to relax your mind deeply in any given moment. The art of learning how to relax your mind is cumulative as long as you maintain a good momentum. Try it for a month or two, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Tom Von Deck is an international corporate meditation trainer, speaker and author of Oceanic Mind – The Deeper Meditation Training Course and it’s companion, The Deeper Meditation Audio Course. Tom specializes in making meditation a much easier and more customized process for busy people and people from all religious backgrounds and lifestyles. Tom’s website is www.DeeperMeditation.net.