My music coach often reminds me that physical tension when playing is usually a sign of mental tension. The same can be true of life more generally, particularly when we are faced with new challenges or problems.
The unfamiliarity of a particular situation along with our desire to “not screw it up” might allow physical and mental tension to creep up on us. The real danger is that this can quite easily happen without you being aware of it. Unnoticed and unaddressed, mental tension can escalate to unhealthy and unsustainable levels.
Indeed, one in four people in the UK is expected to suffer from a mental health problem in a given year.
Notice your body
If your chest is starting to tighten up, your heart rate is elevated and you body is feeling rigid, perhaps mental tension is starting to take hold. These physical signs are an opportunity for you to become aware of your emotional and mental state. An opportunity to release and relax.
Noticing the body is so useful because it is a direct indicator of your overall state. And, sometimes the body can begin to show signs of emerging tension even before you have had a conscious thought about a stressful matter. Try and notice this for yourself sometime.
Releasing mental tension
Once you become aware of tension in the body and the mental tension it betrays, it becomes much easier to deal with. Try and release tension in your own way. Take a walk, sing a song, have a tea, chat to friend, listen to some music. Do whatever works for you!
You are also much more likely to better deal with your challenge when in a more released and relaxed state. In your relaxed state, you might even find that the solution you had been seeking was staring you in the face all along!
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