It’s a beautiful day.
The sun is shining, the breeze keeps it cool enough to wear pants, all the animals are curled up and snoozing, and I have a large break from university.
I just want to scream at the world and hit inanimate objects and swear at the sky and flip off the butterflies.
They’ve done nothing to offend me, I’m just having a big “fuck you” kind of day.
It’s one of those days where I feel itchy inside my own skin, as though it’s wrong. It’s one of those days where my elbow aches and my stomach won’t unclench and I have a permanent unimpressed bitchface going on.
I’ve done some woosah. I’ve listened to my relaxing music and done my best to let it sweep me away. I’ve done some stretches to ease my sore muscles. I’ve stretched my back. My last port of call is going to be a few minutes out in the sun.
Even though I’m doing all of these things, and they’re not quite working enough, I’m not fighting the feeling of almost manic anxiety and frustration. Not fighting it takes conscious thought and effort, because we naturally want to push away the bad feelings and not feel them. Unfortunately, that makes the bad feelings worse, because fighting them is also a negative feeling.
So when I’m having one of these days and I notice myself getting pent up trying to fight off the bad feelings, I take a big deep breath and relax my stomach as I exhale. I take another deep breath and relax my stomach further, then work on my shoulders, my neck, and lastly my face. I make ridiculous faces as I stretch out my muscles from their scrowl and reset my eyebrows, the muscles around my eyes (which always pinch when I’m stressed), my mouth and my chin.
And I just do this every time I notice I get pent up, which is every few minutes.
It’s interesting how much of an impact your facial features have on your mentality. Or the way your body is, how clenched your stomach is, how tight your hips are.
Mental state is tied intrinsically with body state. They influence one another, and a change in one produces a change in the other. So it stands to reason that in order to relax the mind, one must also relax the body.
There are many methods of relaxing the body. I find using music helps, as it gives me an external thing to focus on while I work my way through my muscle groups. I also find lying in the sun helps, as the sun warms tight muscles and helps them relax.
It’s difficult to not go boneless like a cat in the sun!
Photo by W A T A R I on Unsplash