Do you resist ease?
I confess. I do.
I do so even though I am fully aware of the benefits of bringing more ease into my life; even though I know specific strategies that can help me to shift from tension to ease in just a moment or two; even though I teach other people how to let go of stress and tension and move toward ease. Despite all this, I still resist it sometimes.
I have been giving this a lot of thought.
In truth, I am MUCH better at choosing ease than I used to be. (Yes – it can be a choice!)
I was a tense, tight, stressed-out mess before I discovered the Alexander Technique over seventeen years ago! Now I know effective ways to direct my awareness and thoughts to release excess tension, and I make it a practice to consciously choose ease as much as possible.
Yet the old resistance still exists. Maybe it always will.
Ease is an underrated quality, and many of us are resistant to the very idea of it – either consciously or unconsciously.
Even as I write this post on ease, I find myself wanting to think hard, concentrate, just get the job done, and use extra effort to hold the pen and put pressure onto the paper (yes, I often write long-hand first!). Old habits die hard. We have the “try hard” work ethic drummed into us from early in childhood. It doesn’t feel like working if I’m not putting effort, aka muscular tension, into it. We’re unconsciously making things more stressful for ourselves.
And yet, we get our best ideas so often NOT at our desks when we are “working.” I’m not the only one who comes up my most creative ideas or solutions to problems when I’m in the shower or out for a walk!
Unlike the woman in the photograph at the top of the page, we actually think more clearly when we are not tensing, tightening, hunching, scrunching or frowning in concentration – i.e. when we are not stressed.
The trouble is, we don’t then get the feeling we associate with working – and certainly not working hard – when we’re not tensing up, contracting our muscles!
I am writing this to remind both myself and you that EASE is NOT the opposite of work.
We can actually do more work, be more productive and creative – and have more fun doing it – when have less tension in our body and more ease. When we’re less stressed, we also won’t suffer from the after-effects of too much tension, such as headaches, back or neck pain.
Ease does NOT mean lazy.
Ease is neutral. You can be lazy with ease or you can work with ease. You can be lazy with lots of tension and you can work with lots of tension.
Most of us resist ease because it is easier (ha!) to go with our habitual stress patterns. Ease may use less muscular effort, but it requires more consciousness, more attentiveness to yourself in the moment, more presence on your part. It requires a willingness to prioritize ease – to give it more value than your desire to “get something done” for instance. This is true SELF care.
The trouble is, if you’re hurrying, you don’t feel like you’re hurrying if you’re not putting a lot of muscular effort into it. If you’re “very busy” you don’t feel very busy if you’re not putting lots of effort into it.
Of course, you won’t. You must accept that ease may feel odd at first, like you’re not working properly, that you’re not working hard – that’s kind of the point!
Ease may seem illusive. You can, however, learn to move toward the ease in any given moment – I promise! Even in acute, nerve-wracking situations, we can learn to make choices that lessen our stress responses and bring about more ease. Ease is our natural state.
The more we are able to choose ease over tension moment by moment, the more evidence we get that work actually gets done, AND we feel better, do better, and ideas come more freely and easily. The more we make ease a practice and a priority, the more our resistance to ease lessens. The more we practice, the more we are likely to remember that ease is an option in times of stress. We may not always choose to go there, but we DO have the choice.
So, give ease a chance. Your back, your neck, your business, your work, your friends, and your family, will thank you!
Do you often feel stressed and tense? Do you feel like you have to “work hard” all the time? Perhaps it is so much part of your normal operating system that you barely register it, until you are utterly overwhelmed? Then maybe you also have resistance to ease. Maybe you have forgotten, maybe you don’t know, that ease is even an option.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please write your comments or questions in the space below.
Photograph © hootie2710 / 123RF Stock Photo.
Interested in my approach to stress relief, ease, self-care and more? Then you are invited to join my Facebook group, the BodyIntelligence Community. It is a place where I aim inspire and support members with their personal development and self-care goals, as well as somewhere you can ask questions, and get answers from me and other community members too. Click here to join >>