I want to yell at the dental assistant.
Mariana is taking an x-ray. My mouth is stretched open wide, a metal contraption wedged into the space between upper and lower teeth, an x-ray chip pressing into my gums.
Just relax, Mariana says with firm authority
Just relax! Nothing about this is relaxing!!!
That same week I was coaching Eduardo, a speaker who is rehearsing a presentation to his CEO. Eduardo is a rising corporate star. I sensed his anxiety about his presentation as we talk. The more Eduardo speaks, the more tense he seems.
Just relax, I want to say to him.
And I realize it’s not that easy.
Pretty much every task is accomplished with more ease and greater impact when we relax.
How do we relax when circumstances conspire against relaxation?
Relaxation is the art of letting go."Dan Brulé
This is the relaxation paradox:
Relaxation occurs in the body. The deep breath we take. The physical stretch. The intentional muscle movement we make. Our conscious exhale.
We know that. And yet, our mind stubbornly inhibits relaxation.
It has a ferocious fling with fear-inducing thoughts. It forgets to send relaxation commands to the body. And it does so with alarming vehemence.
This is the old mind/body connection. And the old mind-over-matter hierarchy where the mind over-rides what the body longs to do and does best.
Here’s how we navigate the relaxation paradox.
Consider these your two relaxation allies.
Yes, it’s not that easy. Yet exceptional everyday behavior doesn’t happen without it.
Dan Brulé is the world's foremost expert in breathwork, the author of “Just Breathe,” and a renowned pioneer in the worldwide Spiritual Breathing movement. He served in the United States Navy as a medical deep-sea diver during the Vietnam era and completed his master's degree in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dan trains people all over the world to use the power of breath and breathing to relax and energize their body as well as focus and expand their mind.
Relaxation IS the art of letting go, Dan says. Yup. In my two decades of coaching executives for high-stakes presentations, my guidance, in the end, is always the same:
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. And let it go.
And when you let it go, Dan Brulé affirms, everything happens for you. You vibrate differently, and the world changes.
That’s the woo-woo part. Trust it. Know that it’s mind over matter, and that at its very finest, muscle memory will outfox the mind. It’s how we began to manage the relaxation paradox.
Powerful. And so liberating.