Friday, April 03, 2009

The Courage to Relax

The ability to relax is underrated as an act of courage. I tend to have tense shoulders all the time. And I've just now come from the dentist where I tend to turn into a 5 foot 8 inch steel plank. A snootful of nitrous helps, but still I can be fairly tense.

Somehow tight muscles feel like the proper state of readiness for everything, good or bad. Never mind that I almost never resort to a physical solution to problems. I don't actually engage in fight or flight. Instead, I ponder, revise, negotiate, think, chat. These activities don't require the muscle tone of a shark.

Nevertheless, the habit persists. This morning at my dentist's I made a point of using not just the nitrous but as much muscle-loosening as I could muster. I made my hands feel heavy. It felt good.

And I have an idea I could probably think better with loose muscles. If you happen to have any studies or experiences that demonstrate that, I'd love to know. I fear it's going to take all the king's horses to get my shoulders to move to a different position on a regular basis.

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kenju said...

I know of no studies, but I know that for me, being relaxed brings many more thought and problem solutions than being tense does. Try meditation.

Peggy Payne said...

I do meditate every day, either once or twice. And it's very helpful, both for getting ideas and for calming down and getting some perspective. And it doesn't seem to touch the muscle tension.

Possibly I'm attached to the tension because it burns calories and lets me eat more chocolate.

Greta said...

Ah, I love a challenge, intended or not. My first online find was "Frequent massage from high-end massage chairs has been proven to improve the mind’s ability to monitor stress signals and respond appropriately, enhancing capacity for calm thinking and creativity."

Not a study, just an ad for a massage chair.

My second find is more pertinent:

At this site the massage therapist gives "10 Tips for Healthy Muscles." All of them are commansense things that I certainly need to keep in mind when I find my shoulders are up around my ears!

Sorry, no scientifically researched findings yet.

billie said...

There is research about muscles and horses, believe it or not. :)

Linda Tellington-Jones has done lots of work about using what she calls T-touch (various light massage techniques) and labyrinths to relax a horse during training/handling so that he can learn more effectively.

Elle said...

Agree! relaxed brings many more thought and problem solutions than being tense does.