The Art of Relaxation by Stephen Cottee

In order to be healthy, happy and comfortable we need a healthy balance of free flowing activity and deep, quality relaxation.

Relaxation is both a skill and a lifestyle choice.

By practicing relaxation you develop the ability to relax at will. The more you practice the easier it becomes to relax whenever you want to. Eventually it becomes second nature and you are habitually relaxed instead of habitually tense or anxious.

In our life there are things that make it difficult to relax including behaviours, substances, situations and attitudes such as:

  • overcommitting ourselves and not allowing ourselves quiet ‘time out’
  • insufficient exercise
  • poor sleeping habits
  • excessive intake of coffee, sugar and other stimulants
  • excessive intake of animal products and refined salt
  • entertaining habitual fears, concerns, worries and anxieties

You can improve your ability to relax by:

  • choosing to have at least a few minutes still time every day
  • choosing to have at least an hour of quality still time each week
  • spend regular quality time in nature
  • eating well, including a nourishing breakfast
  • exercising at least half an hour each day in a way that you enjoy
  • cultivating peace of mind via meditation, honesty, simplicity
  • listening to your body and listening to your heart
  • cultivating an optimistic attitude, eg. by reading positive books

Simple relaxation exercises include:

  • concentrating on your breath for a length of time
  • taking your attention slowly and methodically through each part of your body from head to toe
  • stopping all activity and concentrating on your physical senses, eg. what can I hear right now? Continue to watch each sense for a length of time, then move on to the next one.
  • © 2003 The School of Life