Relaxing doesn't always have to be closely focused on relieving tension, nor does it have to be serious. In fact some of the best ways to become calm are downright silly and dare I say it, fun.
Think of the last time you had a good laugh. A real big smile till your face hurt kind of experience. How did you feel afterward? Tense and down cast? Of course not! If you are like me, you felt happy, serene and satisfied. Why not induce these joyous feelings?
"Easier said than done," you say. I'm not so sure.
Try this. Smile. Are you smiling? How does that feel? I bet you are already feeling happier and more at ease than before you smiled. Voila. Instant bliss.
So now we know. The way to Nirvana is to keep smiling! Well, it may not be that easy, but finding 5 minutes of bliss does not have to be very hard either.
Here's a practice I love that is just plain fun. I call it Operatic Breakfast because that is when I concieved it but you can do it at any time, alone or in a group. I started doing it by myself and liked it so much I shared it with some close friends and we have had a blast with it. I smile and laugh just thinking about it.
Ted Weis in The Most Happy Fella, Festival
Opera, Walnut Creek, California
There are plenty of situations where you might not be comfortable belting out your personal aria or gesticulating with vigor and you know what, this practice can still be the one for you. Imagined situations work almost as well as full displays. Say you feel the tension of an impending deadline tightening your neck, shoulders and back while working at your desk. Now, just think of yourself singing at the top of your lungs ,"O woe is me, I will never have this job done on time. I have to stay late, the hunger is making me weary, my partner may leave me, my life is so hard." All delivered in a full throated open mouthed lyric while you embellish that you are tearing out your hair and banging your head, crying big tears. Woe. Mentally picturing this big display makes the actual situation start to look more handleable! And here's a bonus, this humorous expression of your pain somehow breaks through your tension leading to genuine, self empathy. When you become both the actor and the viewer it is easier to give yourself the compassion you deserve. Go ahead. Give yourself some credit for that great mental performance and for hanging in during a difficult time ;--)
Imagining living life as melodrama somehow makes the real experience richer and more fun. Who would have thunk it?
If you try this and have any questions or thoughts to share, I'd love to hear from you.