Self-Control and Relaxation

“There never has been, and cannot be, a good life without self-control.”
-Leo Tolstoy

Stress is physical tension. Tension is tightness in muscles and increased brain and nervous system stimulation. The brain and nervous system operate using electricity and chemicals.

Relaxation is a state of the body where there is a small amount of tension in the muscles and brain waves are slowed down. When brain waves are slower and muscles are relaxed, there is more self-control and a feeling called peace of mind.

As the brain receives more stimulation, the brain waves speed up and create tension in the body. The more excited a person becomes the more out of control or automatic the behavior may become.

Learning to relax your muscles is one of the greatest skills you can develop. All great performers relax and focus on the job at hand. They learn to use the right amount of tension to perform at their best.

To be able to perform well on and off the field, you must learn to relax and control your thinking. When you learn how to use the right amount of muscle tension and concentrate on the present moment, you will be able to control your emotions much better.

Many people go through the day using too much effort. They are overly tense, as if they are ready to run or fight. Going through the day in a fight or flight state of tension is exhausting. In most situations staying relaxed will help you react faster and make better decisions.

“Rule your mind or it will rule you.”
-Horace

RELAXATION BASICS

Remind yourself that words and images can create muscle tension or relaxation.

Relaxation is the absence of tension in your muscles. It will happen when you concentrate on one thing which slows down electrical brainwaves and releases tension.

Practice this exercise every day. You will develop the skill of mental focusing and releasing tension. Make a recording of this exercise or have someone read the words to you slowly and softly. Eventually you will develop the ability to release tension quickly and maintain a more relaxed mental attitude during the day. You will also remember what to say to yourself and not need a recording or friend to guide you.

Go into a quiet room, lie down and close your eyes. You don’t want any distractions. Closing your eyes will reduce brain stimulation caused by images. Your goal is to control your words and imagination. Practice is the key to success.

RELAXATION EXERCISE

Concentrate on my voice. Take a deep, slow breath. Breathe from your diaphragm and as you exhale let out a sigh. Take another deep breath and focus on breathing slowly. Now, take five breaths as you count from five to one. Breathe in slowly and out slowly.

Now, tighten the muscles in your feet. Hold the tension for two seconds then let go of the tension. Now, tighten the muscles in your legs.

Hold for two seconds then let the muscles relax. Now, tighten the muscles in your stomach. Hold for two seconds then relax. Now, tighten your back muscles then let the muscles relax.

Now, take three deep, slow breaths and sigh when you exhale. Let go of the tension inside your body. You are safe now, you can let go of your tension.

Now, tighten your chest muscles and then let them go. Now, tighten your arms and hands and then let the muscles relax. Now, tighten your jaw muscles and then let them go limp.

Now, tighten the muscles in your forehead and then let them relax. Take three deep slow breaths and sigh as you exhale.

Become aware of how you feel at this moment. The next time you want to be relaxed, the way you are now, say the word relax. The word relax will trigger this feeling.

Now, I am going to count from one to five. When I get to five you will be wide awake and feel good. You will want to release tension by doing this exercise every day. The best time is in the afternoon or before bedtime.

One…two…three…four…five. Open your eyes.

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It will show you how to develop self-control skills and a healthier body. You will also experience more confidence and happiness as you take control of your thoughts, emotions, cravings and behaviors.

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