You can’t make yourself relax…

John Wood, Founder of Rageheart

by John Wood

…just like you can’t make yourself stop thinking.

All you can do is create the space for your nervous system to relax for you 🤔

Think about it this way.

There are 2 main branches in the Autonomic Nervous System:

1. The Sympathetic Nervous System, which is responsible for not just fight-or-flight but also for getting you up in the morning, moving around, driving, working, lifting weights and more.

2. The Parasympathetic Nervous System, which is responsible for resting, digesting, recovering, sleeping and more.

In simple terms, we can think of doing as a sympathetic activity and being as a parasympathetic activity.

In other words…

The more you strive for something, the more you activate the Sympathetic Nervous System…

…while the more you let go of striving and just be, the more you activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System.

Here’s where it gets real interesting:

If you TRY to relax or stop your mind, that means you’re striving for something… and that means you’re activating the Sympathetic Nervous System (even if only by a tiny amount).

But here’s the thing:

How can you deactivate the Sympathetic Nervous System by activating the Sympathetic Nervous System?

That doesn’t make sense.

It would be like trying to put a fire out with more fire, fix a flat car tyre by making another hole or soothing the anxiety and shame around your porn addiction by watching more porn (been there, done that… but thank to the tools I teach in Rageheart, not anymore 💪).

Like I quoted from Einstein yesterday:

You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.

So how do you relax then?

If trying to relax ultimately stops the system from completely relaxing, what are we to do?

Give up?

Hell no.

I’m not saying relaxation tools like taking a deep breath don’t work. Sometimes, they’re 100% necessary.

However, eventually we have to let go of any striving to drop into the deepest sorts of relaxation throughout our nervous system.

I’m talking about the tools in Rageheart too.

They’re the best tools I’ve ever found for getting a feel for the Parasympathetic Nervous System (a key part of the process)… but eventually, you let the tools go and the body does it for you.

Like I said yesterday, that’s when the deepest healing begins.

That’s when all the beauty and magic and power of the Parasympathetic Nervous System really starts to come online.

Sleep and digestion improve. Muscles relax. We’re happier. Calmer. More excited and alive. We start to find our purpose and passion. We get sick less. Recover faster from workouts. On and on it goes.

SO –

Less doing. Less striving. Less trying.

More being.


John Wood

P.S. I’m not saying we should always be like that… always calm. Always parasympathetic.

We’ve evolved to do both – get up and go and then slow down and relax – but the modern world is mostly sympathetic.

With that in mind, most/all people would benefit bringing a little more parasympathetic into their lives.

P.P.S. Know anyone who can’t relax no matter how hard they try?

Refer them to The Daily Growl (this email newsletter) and give them better tools and frameworks for relaxing.

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