How does relaxation function as an inner-world technique?

One point about relaxation is that it seems to allow awareness to expand from whatever more constrained space it may be occupying. This lends itself to helping one’s self on an inner level precisely because it doesn’t focus on anything in particular – no assumptions are being made about where to put it. You simply are, for however long you choose or feels right, and in that time many different things may come or go in your field of awareness.

There’s a lot you may notice, too. Little habits of yours in your thinking, and how they seem to affect yourself in different areas. For example, worried thinking may produce tension that you also notice you have the option to release. You might notice anxiety, or boredom. Or, maybe there’s just a sort of emptiness, or peace. Maybe you notice not wanting to do what you’re doing, or general dissatisfaction with things. Any sort of inner occurrence.

With that information, comes empowerment. It may not be immediate, but being open to the flow of information as you’re aware of it may enable you to better know things like what you want to accomplish with your actions right now, what’s good in your view, or how you’d like to respond in some area of your life. You might know yourself better, and having found relief from something that you were struggling with, you may find yourself in some new state, like quiet reflection, and find yourself wanting to move on and engage life in ways that you might not have thought of before. Or, maybe nothing measurable changes, though the experience of being with your awareness may indeed help in known or unknown ways, and help bring you peace of mind.

A last benefit I’ll mention is that in relaxing away certain tensions and busyness of your mind or emotions, you may find yourself more in touch with what’s important to you right now. These are the sorts of things that are more critical to you individually, that may be affecting you, that trouble you, or that you really want to take steps toward resolving. This may not happen every time, but yes, you may find yourself shedding your engagement with what’s actually less important to you right now.

How and when do you relax?

Well, okay, so what’s the way to practically apply this? A lot of times we may think of techniques as a means to an end. We apply the technique, we get to the goal. We can be in a rush, can be anxious or impatient to get things done and out of the way. I’d say before how to relax, there’s also a question of when.

Relaxation also seems to help you connect to your being, so it may be in times of disconnection, fear, overwhelm, panic, anxiety, and worry that relaxation can really help you to reconnect with yourself and find safety in your experience and the way you’re experiencing life.

Relaxation is an option – and what does it involve? In many ways, it’s the simplest technique you can use, because it mainly involves disengagement and letting go. “Disentanglement” might be another way to put it. To stop putting tension into the tangles of life, and let them be, at least for a while.

So, when you want to relax, there are several things you might consider:

  • Physical relaxation: relaxation of your physical body’s muscles. You can just try to let go of every tension you notice, and let yourself drift and exist in that state.
  • Mental relaxation: All the things you’re trying to work through and consider and “get done” mentally, you can let those relax for now.
  • Emotional relaxation: You can let your feelings be and flow as they are. Whether dark and weighty, or light and happy, or however you feel, those feelings are ones you can allow to exist, and you can spend time not fighting your feeling of those things for a while, and just letting them be, and letting yourself be aware of them. You may feel emotions moving around, shifting, changing – in a relaxed state, you can let these be, and they’ll be part of your awareness. Sometimes you’ll be more acutely aware of what you’re feeling than at other times, but there’s a relaxation of objection to those feelings.
  • Nothingness relaxation: this one sounds a bit odd, but sometimes you’ll feel that, in your relaxed state, there’s nothing there. This can feel scary and unfamiliar sometimes, but this nothingness is just something that can come and go. Indeed, your reactions to your nothingness is something that may come up while you’re relaxed.

When not to use “relaxation”

This may sound a little odd, but there may be some cases where it’s a bad idea to turn to relaxation as a technique. For instance, the main case might be when you’re impatient and looking for a quick fix to what you’re going through. You won’t necessarily find anything happening quickly while relaxed, even if the experience of awareness may be helpful in balancing things out and informing your sense of what’s real to you.

If you’re impatient, you can check out the resources I have on that, here:

When to use relaxation

For this, I’d recommend just having some sort of understanding of what relaxing might do, based maybe on what I say here, but also on your own understanding and experiences with it. I’d say we all have experience relaxing, to an extent – this article is more about how it might help in some specific ways, and how and why we might want to go to relaxation in our everyday lives. There’s also experienced gained from just experimenting with something, and whatever understanding you gain from that can also impact and inform how you go about things in the future.

Final considerations

Lastly, I’d just reemphasize that relaxation seems to be of help with becoming more aware in a sort of natural, exploratory, restful way. If you want to try it to help improve your understanding of yourself, your feelings, or your habits, it may indeed help there, as well as help you to allow for balance to take place. After all, if there’s something that’s negatively affecting us that we haven’t been focused on, then while we’re at rest, we might re-recognize its presence, and understand it’s there, even if we might not have any solution for it, at least at first. But understanding where we are, we might better understand where to go, or how to act with respect to our reality, a reality we might become better aware of through relaxing.

Other resources

Anxiety – Relaxation can be particularly helpful with anxiety, and taking time to allow for the flow of reality as it exists outside our immediate control.

Fear – Part of fear seems to be a sense of disconnection from reality, thus the gentle, safe state of awareness in relaxation may help to calm down imagined or theorized dangers, and to reconnect with what is, even if it’s complicated or multi-faceted.

Oogloog’s Guide to Easing Panic – This guide goes through what is essentially a relaxation technique, and gives perspective on how you can handle the process of relaxing into and working through feelings that you may be trying to, in a panic, escape from

Wikipedia Article on Relaxation as a concept in Psychology – some information on how relaxation is talked about and treated within the realm of psychology