Untying The Knots – Learning To Relax With Mindfulness Meditation

Untying the Knots

So there I was lying on the doctor’s table, getting my Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment for my fibromyalgia, and my doctor was saying, “relax your face, relax your face.” Well, my first thought was, “I thought it was relaxed!” My second thought was, “How am I supposed to do that?” This seems to be the story of my life. I can’t tell you how many times a Physical Therapist or Massage Therapist has told me to relax when I thought I already was. My muscles seem to be in a constant state of tension no matter how many stretches I do or how much I try to relax them. They’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. The weird thing is, I don’t feel tense most of the time. I guess I’ve just gotten so used to it that I don’t notice it.

I’ve tried different relaxation techniques over the years when my muscle tension was pointed out to me but all they did was stress me out! Part of the problem is that I can never truly relax. My mind is constantly busy even if my body is resting. Often my husband and I will be watching TV, he’ll make a comment or ask a question about the show, and I don’t even know what he’s talking about. My mind has been busy “chasing rabbits.” Again, I don’t feel stressed; that’s just the way I’m wired, but now that I can fully appreciate how much this is impacting my pain levels, I know I need to do something about it. My doctor suggested meditation because he said he wants me to learn to relax. Meditation was already a part of my HOPE plan, and though I do meditate on Scripture, I realized that I needed to make a concerted effort to learn the type of meditation taught in many medical facilities now if I want to make those unruly muscles loosen up.

I found a book called Mindfulness, An Eight-Week Plan For Finding Peace In A Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. The practices in the book are based on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavior Therapy (MCBT). MCBT was designed to help people with depression, and it revolves around a form of meditation called Mindfulness Meditation. According to Williams and Penman, “Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness not only prevents depression, but that it also positively affects the brain patterns underlying day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression, and irritability so that when they arise, they dissolve away again more easily.”  From what I’ve read so far, this type of meditation doesn’t require me to stop thinking and try to make my squirrelly brain sit still in a corner somewhere; it just gives me something different to concentrate on. It’s a method of mental training.

I’m ready to start this, but I have a confession to make here — I’m a great starter, but not a great finisher. I’m really bad about starting things and stopping halfway through. In my work as a personal trainer, I encouraged clients to have an accountability partner. Having someone that you have to “answer to” can encourage you to keep going even when you’d really rather not. So…. I’d like to make you all my accountability partners by starting a Mindfulness Monday post. Each week for the next eight weeks I’ll talk a little about the previous week’s meditation practices and how I did with them. Maybe that will help me stay on track with this and let you see if it’s something that might help you as well.

Are you good at relaxing? What have you found most helpful?

 

Blessings,

~Terri

24 comments

  1. I understand what you mean, if ever I have been given something to relax me I’m almost unconscious! I think I’m already relaxed but obviously not. The same when I consciously think about breathing, I breathe far too fast….. but enough about me 🤐 I would love to follow you and read of your progress. So you have to do it now 😏😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish you the very best of luck! I have one massage therapist who was able to get me to relax, one, in twenty years. I always jolt when almost relaxed and that hurts like heck. Thank you, PTSD! I no longer try but I’ll follow along and see how you do! I really hope it is a good experience. ~Kim

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m looking forward to reading how you go too. I’m always surprised when I have a massage or chiro session just how much of me is tense. If you go good, (and even if you don’t) I want to know!
    ~ Sarah

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Terri,

    I’m enjoying reading the book, it makes sense to me because I do believe that we are what we think. I know that if I say to myself this book will help then 100% it will. Keep the faith and keep positive . We are going to be so relaxed in no time 😉

    Elaine 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really bad about starting things and not keeping them going. I figured maybe if I publicly announced I was going to do it I would at least stick with it for the eight weeks. I’m learning a lot so far and really think it’s going to help. Thanks for the idea about Headspace. I’ll have to check it out. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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