The military definition of “at ease” means to relax from standing at attention. Yet, a soldier remains cognizant of his/her commanding officer while at ease. According to dictionary.com “at ease” means, freedom from labor, pain, or physical annoyance; tranquil rest; comfort: to enjoy one’s ease. 2. Freedom from concern, anxiety, or solicitude; a quiet state of mind: to be at ease about one’s health. The most famous yogic term in compliance with the Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali, Sthira (Steady) Sukham (Comforatable) Asanam (Posture). Asana is a steady, comfortable position. Each definition mirrors one another. Finding ease within your life is possible when you focus on being “at ease.”
Although you may not know what you are striving to achieve when you feel the need to relax, consider shifting your mindset to rest at ease. The potential of achieving tranquility may be closer than you imagined. In a fast paced society, slowing down may not be an option. Rather, I perceive it, we must slow down or you risk potential burnout. Seek to find time to meditate, slow down, and breath. If you are a neophyte to meditation, do not worry as it may take time to learn. The mere thought of sitting quietly could give you thoughts of anxiety. If so, that moment is clearly not the proper time to begin a meditation practice.
So how does one find ease or relaxation? One must take the time and have a desire to make a change to find ease. Organizing your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems may allow you to get synchronized. When the sympathetic nervous system is aroused, we are placed on alert, also known as our “fight-or-flight” response. The parasympathetic nervous system when aroused produces a feeling of relaxation. The two systems work congruently; as one becomes active the other displays less activity. Our society is high strung and we generally live in a high alert mode. Therefore, relaxation is difficult to achieve by most people because we are constantly in motion physiologically. Here are a few suggestions on how to slow down and take it easy:
Try doing less. You may be asking yourself, how can I possibly do less when I have so much to do? Try lessening your load. Is there someone you can delegate your responsibilities? Focus on what is important. Schedule appointments from one another to alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed. This may allow you time to take a snack or coffee/tea break.
- Be in the present. How often do you deviate from the present? Make a list of to-do’s to help you stay focused. You may feel more organized by managing your time more efficiently. Your mind will not waiver and worry about what needs to be done in the future.
- Disconnect from devices. Shut down your phone, computer and anything else that may distract you. All of the above complicate your thoughts. Even if you think you cannot live without your phone… leave your device behind on your lunch break. Our devices can create stress.
- Focus on people. How often do we see people fidgeting on their phones when they should be enjoying their lunch date? Our physical presence may be there but our minds are multi-tasking. Attempt to connect at your next lunch meeting rather than worrying about what may or may not be on the agenda.
- We are short in our breaths and we are creating self-inflicting stress. Stop, take 10 breaths, and begin again if needed. Feel the smoothness of your breath move through your body and bring yourself back to center. Relieve the stress through breathing techniques.
The above suggestions are meaningful. Choose one and try it for a day. Work your way down the list. You will find it is not as difficult as you may think. You will find clarity in your thoughts and flow smoothly through your day.