Trying To Relax Is Stressing Me Out!


Imagine this scenario: You go for your annual physical and your doctor gives you the startling news that you have mild high blood pressure. You admit that you are under a great deal of stress at work. The recommendation is to exercise and begin a relaxation program such as mediation.


So you, being the proactive go-getter that you are, Google “meditation” and research how to meditate. Based on your findings, you begin a daily meditation regimen.


You follow the instructions closely. You sit cross legged on the floor with your back straight and your timer set for 20 minutes. You find your breath, ignore the stiffness, find your breath, ignore your thoughts and so on and so on. The timer finally goes off. You rise up from your meditation with a stiff back, sore knees and racing thoughts about how little time you have to get ready for work.


You do this for a couple of weeks and find yourself even more stressed, suffering from mild tension headaches and completely frustrated. You took your doctor’s advice and followed the meditation instructions explicitly, so what gives?!?!


Well what gives is this. We must identify what was the IMPOSED EXPECTATION and determine if it was REALISTIC. Just like training to run a marathon by building our endurance, we must do the same with our meditation practice. Right now you may be asking yourself how the #%&@ do I build my meditation endurance?!?


First rewind and ask yourself what is your imposed expectation? From the example given it was to sit for 20 minutes and “meditate” until the timer went off.


Now let’s ask ourselves how realistic it is for stressed out, hypertensive individuals to sit on the floor cross-legged and follow their breath for 20 minutes??? Umm…about as realistic as putting a cookie in front of a two year old and telling him not to eat it!


Build your meditation practice by imposing REALISTIC EXPECTIONS. Here is my suggestion.




Day 1-7 Sit in a straight back chair rather than on the floor

Set your timer for 5 minutes

Set your intention as simply sitting

Breathe normally and allow yourself to just sit without any other expectations.

Day 7-14 Sit on the floor

Set your timer for 5 minutes

Set your intention as simply sitting

Breathe normally and allow yourself to just sit without any other expectations.

Day 14-21 Sit in a straight back chair OR the floor, your choice

Set your timer for 5 minutes

Set your intention on observing your breath




Now if you make it to 21 days you can creatively build on either increasing the sitting duration OR the following of your breathing or combining the two. By following the same pattern as above, you will gradually increase your meditation.


Listen, even Buddha had to start somewhere. And in our present day world of overstimulation and instant gratification, practices of meditation and relaxation have to be introduced gradually in order for them to successfully stick. So try this out and see how it goes. Be creative, find patience and remember it’s a total oxymoron to rush relaxation. Remind yourself of that the next time you are trying to hurry yourself to relax. ☺ Take it slow and enjoy the process.

Wishing you complete success and health, 
Lee Baker 
Founder Positive Constructs, LLC


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