Image courtesy of markus941
Liz and I went to our second of six birthing classes last night (in preparation for our little boy). I was reluctant at first, figuring we’d spend the whole time doing that awkward breathing thing, but ever since last weeks initial class, I’ve been enjoying the learning process. I think all the guys are actually feeling like it’s worthwhile and the women are thinking, “You BET it’s worthwhile! I’m going to need you to step it up and help me get this baby out of me!” (At least that’s what Liz says. )
Last night we learned something that really stuck with me. This is something that seems to apply to all of life. It was about contractions and the different techniques to getting through them and still sustaining energy until the very end. We talked about how to time them and determine when the woman will be able to relax and when she will be struggling with the pain.
Then the teacher started pressing on one specific point that she wanted us all to remember and take very seriously. She explained how there will be a point where ‘mom’ only has between 30 and 60 seconds to relax between the potentially agonizing contractions. She talked about how we naturally want to sulk about how painful the last contraction was while we have our seconds of reprieve. How we naturally think, “MAN, that was painful! I don’t know if I can do that again! Oh no, here they come again…”
She said that instead of wasting this time complaining about the pain that we just experienced and then worrying about what’s ahead, that we should utilize this precious rest time to focus on our breathing and work on bringing our bodies to a relaxed state once again. As she further explained, it made perfect sense that if the woman never lets herself experience rest between the contractions, she will be completely exhausted by the time she gets to the crucial pushing stage.
Such is life…
Life is just like this. There is inevitable pain and suffering wherever we turn. Our pasts are filled with sorrow and our futures bare the brunt of this broken world, leaving us anxious as we wind around the next bend. Yet, there is much beauty and many wonderful things to enjoy in our lives. There are so many opportunities to love those around us, enjoy a sunny day and strive to accomplish great things. It is an impossible paradox to part from.
The fact is, there will also be times when we will need our strength. Times when our families are counting on us to pull through. Our own bodies need us to be strong and fight off the temptations of laziness and self pity. It is absolutely crucial that we maintain our solid footing as we make our way through the ever changing seasons of our lives.
Relaxing is a skill
I am amazed at how many techniques there are to get our minds and bodies to relax. Tapping into the power of our senses and utilizing sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought, we are able to recharge ourselves to prepare for the coming storm.
5 simple tips to help you relax in the moment:
- Breathe. Such a simple human habit and yet, if done properly, can quickly bring our blood pressure back down to its optimal state. Deep breaths in through the nose and slow, sustained breathes out through the mouth. Focused, proper breathing techniques are tops on my list of ways to relax.
- Let go. Often easier said than done, letting go of whatever is bothering us is an essential ability we all need to master. Whether we’ve been hurt by someone or are just having a bad day, let go of that bad feeling and look ahead. The past is in the past, but the present and the future have yet to be established.
- Get out! Get outside and get your blood pumping. Whether for a light stroll or a vigorous run, just GET OUT! The change of scenery, fresh air and physical activity will almost always leave you more relaxed and better prepared to take on the stresses of life.
- Read a good book. I hear this advise less and less and I’m guilty of rarely partaking in its beneficial process, but sitting down and reading a book that will take you away to a different world is a very effective way to fend off the frustrations of life.
- Outward focus. Sometimes we can get caught up in ourselves to the point of poisoning our perspectives. We can become obsessed about what we do or don’t have or what did or didn’t happen to us. Take a break from this. Focus your attention on someone else and look for opportunities to show that you care. Sometimes the best way to help ourselves is to help another in need.
All too often we fail to accomplish this most basic state of mind. Our worries about all things past and future, keep us from relaxing in the present. If we can master this ability and truly take advantage of our time between bouts of life, we can be assured that it will never be too much. But let our minds absorb the poison of ‘why’ and ‘what if’ and we will most certainly succumb to the berating blows of our darkest days.