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It’s intense… being tense!

Updated: Jul 2

Tense - it’s always been my default.

Not necessarily out of choice, I don’t think, but rather because relaxation just doesn’t seem to be within my remit.

I’ve always thought, how nice it must be to be the opposite, and to not be at the mercy of ‘uptight genes’, so to speak! To be perpetually at ease - both physically and mentally - and not ooze anxiety from every pore.

To this end, I used the last week’s opportunity of a long-overdue holiday, to try and tap into the elusive, more relaxed version of self that I KNOW, I just know, is in there somewhere.

My technique of choice, involves consciously trying to notice when the shoulders are up, the jaw is clenched, and the tongue is on the roof of the mouth (a hallmark of being unrelaxed, apparently.)

A trick here, or so I’ve learned, is to use the art of inner dialogue, and the sentence ‘I am noticing I am….’ as a way of making the behaviour objective, and therefore easier to diffuse.

For example:

‘I am noticing my breathing is shallow.’

‘I am noticing I’m clenching my jaw’

‘I am noticing I’m rambling!’

By committing to this habit, and becoming more attuned to the physical manifestations of tension, I feel I’ve made SOME strides towards being ‘more chill’, and in more situations than would have felt able to previously.

It has also been somewhat of an education, you could say, into how consciously and pro-actively releasing tension in the body, can have an immediate dampening effect on psychological stress, as well.

It’s no coincidence, that stepping off the hamster wheel for seven days, has helped no end with mastering this tricky ‘game’ of habit whac-a-mole, the aim of which is to swat the hunching, the shallow breathing and the breath-holding, most notably, at source!

So adept am I becoming at this technique (if I do say so myself!), that I’m beginning to more regularly find myself, in unfamiliar ‘relaxed’ territory.

It feels strangely uncomfortable…this ‘being comfortable’ thing, and the irony of this is not lost, let me assure you.

I can only liken it, to a form of ‘imposter syndrome,’  where my brain just can’t help piping up with an obligatory ‘Look at you, Miss Uptight…pretending to be all laidback!’

It tests the process (and progress), that’s for sure, yet even in spite of this tendency for self-sabotage, there’s an overriding determination, to become calm… incarnate.

To become versed in letting my hair down (metaphorically, even if not physically), and to reap the rewards of affording my inner easy-going self, more than just an occasional moment in the sunshine!

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