How to Practice—Yes, Practice–Relaxing

Relax by listening to a free guided meditation.

Photo by Sander Smeeks

Several years ago I was having a conversation with my massage therapist about how difficult it can be to relax. She was of the opinion that relaxing is a skill that can be learned.

She said that people need to “practice relaxing”.

That phrasing has always stuck with me.

We like to think that relaxing comes naturally — that it is simply the opposite of work and other obligations. But I know far too many people who readily admit what a hard time they have unwinding (including me).

Perhaps it is because we resist the notion that something that is supposed to be, well, relaxing, can actually take some planning and practice.

The good news is we can get better at it in small doses. One way is through guided relaxation.

I’m a biiiiiig fan of guided relaxation — whether at the end of a yoga class or in an audio recording. All I have to do is close my eyes and follow along in my head.

Here’s a guided relaxation recording that only takes three minutes. You can try it anywhere — at your desk or seated on a park bench. Just pop on some headphones and play the file.

Guided Relaxation Audio File (3m 11s)

I challenge you to listen to the recording every day for a week. You might like to try it:

  • before a stressful meeting or interaction,
  • after a stressful meeting or interaction,
  • as soon as you arrive at work,
  • at the end of the work day before you leave for home,
  • over your lunch hour or a break,
  • first thing when you wake up,
  • or last thing before bed.

Originally published at yogiconomist.com.