Unwinding is the active process of releasing held physical tensions and emotional burdens in order to feel lighter, freer, calmer, and peacefully present.

  • Conscious unwinding takes stress relief and unburdening to the next level… moving it from "coping" to actively supporting our thriving long-term.
  • Incorporating unwinding into our lifestyle design means that we're pre-planning activities that restore balance as an integral part of being vibrantly active and engaged.
  • Exhaustion is less likely even after intense physical and emotional labor when we take powerful pauses to unwind in the midst of such activity.

Wine, Cheese, and Chill

A glass of wine after work. Or two! A little Netflix and chill. Or a binge-watch! And don't forget the cheese… with chips!

Unwinding is essential for human survival.

We unwind when we sleep. Most humans figure out that food can help unwind tension. So can TV. Alcohol. Drugs. More…

What are your typical ways to unwind?

For thriving, it is worth being aware of whether those ways support your long-term well-being… or not. To be clear, what we do to cope is not "wrong." Coping is crucial.

Once we become aware that unwinding is essential, we can look for other choices that feel more inspired and nourishing.

Combined with powerful pauses throughout the day, we are more likely to finish the workday feeling "complete" rather than "depleted." That leaves us with more energy to savor all aspects of life.

Unwinding Movements

Think small. Slow, delicious movements. Micro-stretches. Melting. Flowing.

Yes, active exercises can be unwinding, especially for emotional stresses.

If you use sweaty activities to unwind, you're invited to check in with your body an hour later and see if it has tensions it wants to unwind with mindful movements guided by deeper listening.

If you tend to unwind by sitting, watching, listening, eating, and drinking… consider spending 3 minutes allowing your body to move — not in "dance" but in unpredictable shifts in posture and stretches as small as you can imagine.

Why? Because tensions that build up over time tend to impact the fascia (the tissue that holds us together!). Fascia responds to slower movements. Think melting more than stretching. Letting gravity slowly take more of the load.

Unwinding some aspects greatly benefits from skilled presence. The craniosacral system can hold deep tensions that a trained bodyworker can help unwind. Emotional traumas and their frozen tensions benefit from EFT Tapping together with a professional, friend, or in a group.

It's definitely not a weakness to acknowledge that some burdens are easier and safer to set down with help.

And it's wisdom often acquired through intense pain that our body-mind is designed to move to unwind… and not just at the end of the day when we're too exhausted to really pay attention.

Take a powerful pause and unwind with slow, delicious movement.

Useful Questions

  • Where am I holding tension in my body? (scan head to toe, inside and out)
  • What emotional heaviness am I feeling? And where is it centered?
  • What are the "default" ways I unwind… and are they supporting my thriving… or just helping me cope?
  • What might I do for three minutes that would be unwinding for me?
  • How might I move my body and breath with this tension to help it unwind a bit more?
  • What needs to be expressed that I'm holding inside? Can I write it out? Speak it alone, to a friend, to God? If not, what fear is keeping me tensely holding onto this feeling?
  • Would supportive bodywork/massage help this unwind in ways I cannot do on my own?


Related Concepts

Activation Energy, Comfort, Grounding, Healing, Lifestyle Design, Powerful Pause, Relief, Resilience, Self-Care, Vitality


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