Decreased Tension, Increased Productivity


How much tension is in your body right now? Are you as relaxed as you can be? Wherever you are right now, take a moment to do a self scan. Close your eyes and imagine a beam, like the scanning light on a photocopier, starting at the top of your head and slowly working down to your toes.

How do your neck and shoulders feel? Are your shoulders up by your ears? Are holding up the weight of the world? Do you feel aches and pains from muscles that are holding onto pent up energy?

How about your low back? Are you sitting or standing tall with a natural curve to your spine or are you hunched over?  Are your core and abdominal muscles engaged? Or are you letting your body to rest on the structural ligaments that hold you up instead of engaging the proper muscles.

Notice any tension in your legs and feet. Are your feet flat on the floor or are you sitting with one leg crossed over the other? While this position may feel comfortable, it puts unnecessary stress on your hips and low back. If you find that your back starts to ache at the end of the day, even though you have been sitting all day, chances are it’s because of your posture.

Take a deep breath and bring consciousness to the areas that you felt tension. Contract the muscles in that area and purposely increase the tension. Now relax the intensity. Do you feel a difference? Did this bring awareness to stress you were holding but maybe didn’t even realize? Tighten the muscles again, then release. Are you able to decrease the tightness more than before?

Our bodies function at their best when we are relaxed. Allowing blood and nerve impulses to flow unimpeded. Tension stops the flow and increases the pain we feel. Like a river being dammed, the water builds up to the point where the riverbanks can no longer maintain the pressure. The pain we get from unnecessary strain just like the water breaching the banks.

The first step in correcting this is to bring attention to it. If you don’t realize you are doing it, you can’t correct the behavior.

Taking two minutes a few times a day to scan your body, can have astounding effects on your productivity, health and mental state. Like opening the channels of the river, it allows you to discover places of unease, decrease negative effects of stress, tension and pain and increase the flow of energy.

We know the importance of getting up from our desks during the day and moving at least every hour. Try incorporating a 30-second body scan before you move. When you are ready to get up to move, take a deep breath and focus on maintaining the relaxed sensation. Sitting back down, are you still in control of your new posture? The more you practice, the easier it will become to recognize the feelings of tightness and release.

One of the best techniques is the modified Progressive Muscle Relaxation method mentioned above. Squeeze the muscles in the strained area for five seconds then letting go. Repeat up to five times. Focus on the differences of the feelings before and after. Make note of which areas you felt were tighter than others. The next time you do the scan, notice if that area was still tight or has something changed.

Mindfulness is currently a hot topic and it’s not without reason. People are carrying so much stress these days and they don’t even realize it. Awareness is one of the first steps in fighting the battle of tension and improving how you move through your day.  


Kandice LeafComment