I always meet a certain amount of skepticism when I tell my students that they can train themselves to relax almost instantaneously!
I, then ask them to think of a person they hate. As they think of that person, their mind runs through an image of that person, their body tenses up and, in many cases, there is a visible increase in their stress levels. In some cases, they confide, all they have to hear the voice or see that person's face in their mind- and they feel angry.
Our minds are very powerful - it can take just a negative image or voice of a person, event or even an imagined action and we are able trigger stress and strong feelings in your body. As you have "negative" experiences with this person, your mind records all the details of this "heightened emotional" state", your breathing, your posture and other physical and mental parts of the event. As you encounter this person or negative event again, the mind/body "remembers" the past experiences and builds upon it. Suddenly, all you need is a little cue, like the person's face or voice and you trigger the strong visceral reaction in your body. You are set to have "anchored" your strong feelings to that cue or "anchor".
In my meditation classes, I teach the" opposite" process - the art of "anchoring" the relaxation response. As you reach a state of complete relaxation, you can use multiple anchors (such as snapping your finger and whispering the word "peace") or you can use a photo of a loved one in your key chain. As you repeat this anchor, your mind records all the details of your breathing, posture and your mental state. If you do this often, all you need is to use the anchor in a situation where you are stressed out and your body will relax instantaneously.
Many athletes and performers have created similar anchors for peak performance. They run through mental states of feeling empowered and anchor their minds to these states. This technique is well-known among NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) experts. Check out the video above demonstrating the technique.
Want to learn more? Check out a 2013 book written by one of the founders of NLP, Richard Bandler.
The Ultimate Introduction to NLP: How to build a successful life
Richard Bandler (Author), Alessio Roberti (Author), Owen Fitzpatrick (Author)
a guided finger meditation
Engage your senses with soothing music, guided imagery and a labyrinth tracing activity which leverages the power of touch. Click the album cover to learn more.