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Want to improve your health & performance ? Relax!

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Chill Out! Take your “parking brake” off

 

Think of two scenarios when you had to perform a task.

  • First, remember a time where you were very anxious, perhaps rushing, and focused on doing well — a time when you were so stressed out and tense about doing a good job you were practically vibrating.
  • Now, remember a time where you felt relaxed, groovy, and open, totally focused and “in the zone”, having a great time.

In which scenario did you perform better?

 

In which scenario did you feel better?

Which scenario was more successful?

 

Our guess is door number two.

While it seems like focusing on the stressful elements of a situation would help you do better, the opposite is true.

While a little bit of stress sharpens our attention, too much stress and anxiety are like a “parking brake” on our performance.

There’s a zone of “optimal stress” — neither too much nor too little.

 

Our guess is door number two.

While it seems like focusing on the stressful elements of a situation would help you do better, the opposite is true.

While a little bit of stress sharpens our attention, too much stress and anxiety are like a “parking brake” on our performance.

There’s a zone of “optimal stress” — neither too much nor too little.

And if you’re like most folks in our over-stressed, fast-paced modern world, you probably need to calm down rather than rev up.

 

Relaxation is a habit

When you’re relaxed and feeling good, you’re more likely to make thoughtful choices, understand and remember what you’re learning in the PN Coaching program, and perform well in the gym.

 

You’ll also be more likely to view mistakes as learning experiences rather than failures.

This means a leaner, healthier, stronger body in the long run.

More good news: You don’t just have to wait around for positive thoughts and feelings to appear.

You can purposefully create them — and a relaxed state — by training your body and mind.

 

 

How to chill out

Here’s an easy way to start relaxing:

Focus on your breathing.

 

Here’s a little exercise to do before you go to bed tonight to help you get that good night’s sleep.

  • Lie down comfortably on your back. Close your eyes.
  • Put one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. (You can also use a pillow on your stomach if you like.)
  • Now, focus on what the belly hand is doing. You want that hand to rise up and down gently as you breathe.
  • The chest hand shouldn’t move much — you want to be breathing deeply, from your abdomen, with your diaphragm fully engaged.
  • Breathe in — belly expands, a hand goes up. Try to expand your belly to the ceiling.
  • Breathe out — belly lowers, a hand goes down. Try to push your navel to the ground.
  • Take twenty slow, mindful “belly breaths”. Don’t rush.
  • You don’t have to think about anything in particular besides your belly hand going up and down.

 

That’s it.

 

Notice how you feel, and how the breathing changed your heart rate.

You probably feel a bit calmer.

You probably feel like you could focus again, and are probably more mentally ready. You might even have conked out by around breath #15. (We consider that a success!)

Once you have the hang of how belly breathing feels when lying down, try it while standing or seated, in daily life. You don’t have to huff and puff, just quietly take 10–20 deep belly breaths.

Use this technique any time you need to relax. It’ll force your body to slow down and chill out.

 

We suggest you use the belly breathing technique before each meal. Slow down. Focus (and re-focus if you need to).

During the meal, if you find yourself rushing, stop for a couple of discreet belly breaths. (Swallow your food first, unless you want to test your family’s Heimlich maneuver skills.)

 

Chill out and find your focus.

Understand that relaxation helps you perform and learn better — which helps you work towards a healthier, stronger, leaner body.

Practice “belly breathing” before bed tonight.

Then, use it whenever you need a “relaxation shot”.

Now that you’re nice and relaxed, carry that feeling over to your pre-bed routine and hit the sack.

 


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