Thursday, July 18, 2013


Summer is well and truly here – and  whether we are on holiday or not, relaxation is on the agenda! The question is, when you relax, do you really relax? Sitting in the park the other day, enjoying the warm sunshine beaming down from an unusually clear blue sky (unusual at least for London!), my mind was flitting from one thought to another at normal lightning speed, mulling over all the tasks I needed to complete when a small breeze rustled the trees behind me, bringing me into the present. It dawned on me that I wasn’t really relaxing.  My shoulders were tense and my jaw was slightly clenched, yet I had come to the park specifically to relax, to allow my body to rest and recover from recent busy activities and pressures. I needed to relax and had no excuse not to, knowing very well how to - never mind knowing the ramifications of not relaxing.  I smiled when I realised that I was now judging myself and creating even more tension. The humour helped and I exhaled, finally releasing the tension in my face, neck and shoulders. Significantly a small child ran past me, giggling to herself as she went.

It is a fact that tension and relaxation cannot co-exist – try tensing your fist and relaxing it simultaneously! Problems arise when we hold onto tension long after the need has passed; for example, have you ever found yourself frowning, clenching your fist or teeth and not even realizing you had been doing it?  Aside from letting us know it’s time to let go or relax, this indicates that our body is communicating to us about an emotional reaction or experience we are invariably holding onto. When we take the time to become aware of our own particular tension points, we can discover what they are telling us and respond accordingly. My clenched jaw tells me I am projecting into the future, worrying and not being present. A client tells me her jaw clenches when she is angry, and for yet another it signifies anxiety.

The body is such an awesome information carrier, with it’s own language that can give us huge chunks of knowledge about ourselves and make us increasingly self-aware – which the first and most essential step whether we are wanting to relax, enjoy it fully, or just have much more fun!

If you'd like to join me and my colleagues on line to further explore this subject, and how you can develop more insights and wisdom through emotional awareness, click here!

Happy Summer!