This exercise is incredibly effective, especially for those new to awareness.
I mean, I’d go as far as to say that all exercises are effective. It’s just that some exercises a lot simpler to execute than others.
One thing you’ll notice as you trawl this website, is that there are a range of different exercises which all seem quite similar to each other.
This includes Slow Down Time where we attempt to slow down and speed up reality, as well as Stop Absolutely Everything You’re Doing where we attempt to shut down our mind completely, as if we’ve consciously flicked off a switch at the back of our minds.
The idea is that with different perspectives, we can learn to understand ourselves and our conscious experience with a more open mind, as well as embrace different ways of thinking.
So that we can effectively challenge the denial that comes with being an addict.
With Relax Everything, what we’re essentially trying to do is learn to relax and let go, as opposed to say, consciously manipulate our interpretation of reality or make judgements about how we’re feeling.
It’s a skill which will allow us to effectively deal with our urges and uncomfortable feelings and emotions.
An important thing to keep in mind with these awareness exercises is that while we’re ultimately aiming to develop hard skills, it’s also important for us to focus on the introspection aspect of these exercises as well.
In other words, how these different exercises make us feel as we practice them.
From an introspection point of view, we’re not necessarily trying to ‘achieve’ anything per-se.
Instead, what we’re merely attempting to do is observe and develop our ability to view ourselves with a more open mind.
Essentially, it’s a very effective way to learn mastery over your thoughts and emotions.
So whenever you’re doing these kinds of exercises, remember to always try and guage how you feel. Does the exercise make you feel frustrated? Do you think anything at all?
If you skip this step, then you'll gain very little from these exercises because you won't be actively engaging your brain.
And if you don’t engage your brain, then you won’t engage in physical changes that take place between your neural connections, and subscequently you won’t be truly changing in the sense of conscious realisation.
So ask yourself when doing the exercise:
Do you feel more comfortable when you relax? Is there anything you don’t like about relaxing? How does it compare to other awareness exercises? Do you even understand what it means to be relaxed at all?
Remember, this is a process of self-discovery.
There are no right or wrong answers.
There is only what you feel and how you perceive.
For this exercise, what we want to do is relax and you can do this whenever you want.
I personally find it’s quite effective to engage in this activity while doing something, because it’s arguably easier to relax when you’re in a non-relaxed state, as opposed to sitting silently in a chair.
So what does it mean to relax?
Well, let’s start with some of the physical attributes.
Relaxing from a physical perspective means letting go of all the tension in your body. It means slowing your mental pace, as well as taking things easy.
If I had to describe the essence of relaxation, I would say that it’s about experiencing life without obligation or care. You just are.
It means not worrying about anything, because you know what? There’s simply no obligation to worry, because when you are relaxed you have no responsibilty to anything.
Again, I urge you to remember that this is a process of self-discovery, and that I’m not asking you to permanently dissolve into a puddle of jelly.
These are short bursts of perspective I am asking you to engage in throughout the day, in order to develop a more open mind.
Certainly, while I can describe what relaxation is all day, unless if you actually attempt to practice it, then you simply won’t learn what it actually is, nor be able to effectively use it when required.
One key thing to understand about relaxation is that it’s a feeling, so if you can’t feel it on demand, then you won’t be able to cope when you find yourself in a situation where you feel compelled to watch porn or do something equally self-destructive.
In other words, relaxation is one of the many health coping mechanisms we will be developing in order to help us cope with life in a more effective way.