The ability to relax is a skill. It is something we do naturally as children but somewhere along the way to adulthood we lose it.
Relaxation allows our minds and bodies to recharge. Importantly, it is the perfect antidote to being tense and anxious. During relaxation our main muscle groups go into their resting phase, free of tension. Our rate of breathing decreases and our heart rate slows. It is an opportunity to settle our minds, because relaxation is about our thoughts as well as our physical state. If you practise somewhere comfortable and peaceful, you will find that you can use some of the techniques at other times you notice yourself becoming tense and anxious. For example, just dropping your shoulders (how many of us feel tension across our shoulders, neck and upper back?) and breathing in and out with your stomach (diaphragmatic breathing) can help you feel more in control. Being tense all the time is exhausting, you are burning energy to no good effect.
There are many resources out there to help you relax. It is a feature of mindfulness, yoga and other types of meditation. The link below is my small contribution, with the added bonus of sounds of the sea.
A little tip…
If you are struggling to relax particular parts of your body, you can unlock the tension by firstly over-tensing the muscles, holding it for a few seconds, then letting go. This is helpful with shoulders (push them up to your ears) and arms (clench your fists).