If you are looking for a clever way to dissolve stress and become sharper mentally, consider moving for relaxation. Repetitive, fluid movements are meditative. They are also another path to high performance and for shifting your physiology to higher levels of functioning; especially cognitive abilities such as memory and the ability to focus. Movement not only improves coordination and balance, it also allows the muscles to tense and relax. Simple and repetitive movements we take for granted fine tune the body’s muscles and energy and improves circulation and well-being. Energetically repetition has the potential to reset the body and opens the gateway to a still mind, the deeper mind that seems to accept access once the rest of the body is occupied in gentle and mindless movements.
The body benefits from movement. The mind benefits from stillness.
The Deeper Mind.
As you skim the surface with movement for relaxation and meditation, it is possible to dive deeper into your consciousness and create incredible change and results. Repetitive movements in any sport like kyacking, running, swimming, cycling, walking/hiking brings you closer to a deep mind experience. Contemplative and yet, meditative and inspiring. Answers and problems are solved by repetitive movements. It is just as effective as sitting still. And, an interesting alternative for an active person who can’t sit still for very long and who feels meditation would always be a painful and stressful experiment.
When you make movement your relaxation and use it as a meditative stress cleanse, it changes perspective on high performance. It also opens the door to healing that was once closed by forced, still sessions. Maybe the stress you once felt has been created by a sense of confinement? If it has. Consider movement for relaxation as an outlet to blow off steam, heal anxiety and low energy states. Choose something you love that frees all of you and opens the mind to greater things in just one simple but repetitive movement at a time. Lap swim anyone?
Relaxation on the move.
Relaxation is needed most when you have the least amount of time for it. And, not always will a forced time-out soothe the mind and body. Standard practice might ask you to sit still, lay down or close your eyes. But sometimes ” a twenty minute pause” might be stressful when you have things to do and places to be. Instead, burn off pent up energy with simple exercises like a yoga stretch. It can help to relieve stress by activating a calm and meditative mind space.
A few minutes of walking in nature can open your mind to new ideas and release tension in the body. But if escaping to the country is not possible, then imagine yourself there in your mind’s eye or by downloading nature soundscapes and/or by taking a short walk to stretch your legs. These can be enough to create a shift. If we can create the impression of freedom and relaxation for a few minutes, it is enough to let the mind untangle itself from over-stressed states.
A Breathing Technique.
Breathing techniques can be used as meditation, to energize, and relax. Focusing on the movement of the breath and how you are breathing while walking, is an example of how relaxation can be created and energy shifted. Place the intention to release negative energy as you exhale and to inhale radiant health and well-being. Just a few minutes being preoccupied with your own breath, it is possible to declutter the mind and enter into a meditative zone that will relax the body.
Use movement to dissolve habits. Shift your state of being to a new improved version of you through visualized end results. With repetition that soothes the mind and relaxes it, it is possible to install high performance traits. As you move, continue to picture your “installed” trait a success. Move into the feeling of how this new habit will change your daily life and experience in it.
More success is likely when the desired outcome is focused on rather than the removal of something that you do not want. By thinking about what you want to eliminate it takes up space in your mind and doesn’t allow new to be fully activated.
Movement promotes good coordination and influences cognitive capacity. With more blood flow and more oxygen to the muscles, cells and the brain also are put on notice to create more connections, more neural pathways. Repetitive movements for relaxation naturally strengthens and expands physical limits. Over time you can expect improvements to your overall energy, as well as mind-space, digestion, circulation and immunity.
Your shift to another state of physical performance begins in your own mind. Visualize it and feel the experience in your own mind first and then see results be confirmed in your physical reality. This applies to athletic performance, recovery from injury or intense workouts. It also holds true for stress and creating the shift in physiology to a deeply relaxed state.
Relaxation begins in the imagination.
If you are not able to use movement to relax, use your imagination to change your physiology as if you had exercised. All you need to do is close your eyes and imagine yourself walking, swimming, hiking etc. Immerse yourself deeply into how it might feel to be moving. Sense how your muscles will tense and contract, your breath, the smell of fresh air, or the hint of chlorine in the swimming pool, what you would hear [ the splash of your arms and feet in the water], the bubbles of air being expelled from your mouth as you move forward in the pool. Be there in your mind. Let your body’s physiology shift to that state and allow your body to completely experience the deeper mind and relaxation from it.
Be there, “deeply relaxed”.
Visualization is a very powerful method for creating improvements in performance without physical practice. As fantastic as it may sound, it is possible to experience the benefits of an imagined state with consistent practice. In other words, it is possible to shift into a deeply relaxed state with our own imagination. And, by imagining relaxed states, we create the same physiological benefits as if you had walked etc and used repetitive movements to become more deeply relaxed. Test it out and stay open to the feeling and benefits of moving in your mind first.
High performance= A focused mind + a moving body.
One small ripple changes the way others see the water.
We are all unique and need to find a way to relax that is perfect for who we are. This can be sitting perfectly still and meditating, spending an hour on a road bike riding city streets and coastal bike routes or using our imagination to simulate the experience.
Whatever path we choose, learning how to relax is one of the best drivers for high performance. It is essential for sharpening our ability to focus the mind. We need to know how to relax to recalibrate our energy after an intense exercise session or during times where mental precision and attention to detail matters. Just as muscles need to tense up and relax to generate movement forward, our minds and physical body needs to find a way to manage energy and overloaded neural circuits. Movement, especially repetitive movements are soothing and relaxing. They offer access to a calm mind, that can not always be found by sitting still.
Have a peaceful week.
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