Stretching is a fantastic way to address four types of stresses:
Physical, mental, spiritual and emotional stress
Stretching your BODY
If you exercise, stretching is (or should be) an essential part of your workout. Some classes focus solely on stretching, because of the enormous benefits it has on the body. By stretching a muscle, you allow it to lengthen, which sometimes is all it takes to get the tension out of the muscle.
If you stretch your spine, it allows the vertebrae to re-adjust on each other and to get back in alignment.
Take it easy if you just start out. Beginners want to stretch in the four major directions: forward, backward and sideways. For people with back problems, an easy cat-stretch (where you are on your hands and knees and roll your back up and down like a cat) is a great release.
People who are advanced may find benefit in yoga classes, where stretching is given for almost every asana (yoga position).
Stretching your MIND
Level 2 is everything that you have not done before and that feels like a challenge in the beginning.
Public speaking is a big stretch for many people, for example, as is change.
What is it that you can do to put some more level-2-thinking in your life? You will be amazed, how quickly you will get adjusted to this level until the point, where it is no longer a stretch (and level-2 becomes level-1).
In Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this would correlate with quadrant 2: important, not urgent. for people in business this is the quadrant that is the most important for the business, because this is what will make it grow.
Generally stretching the mind is what helps us grow – personally and professionally. And it helps us to stay relaxed.
Considering everything mankind knows about aerodynamics and the proportion of wings to the body, the bumble-bee would not be able to fly. But the bumble-bee does not know and does not care and flies anyway.
Stretching the SPIRIT
How often have you heard this saying, yet never really could believe in it?
Stretching the spirit is all about giving yourself the permission to think and dream big. What would be possible for you if you had no fear? What if you knew that whatever you did, you would succeed?
A stretched spirit is going beyond what everybody thinks is possible. Like Roger Bannister, who ran the first 4-minute mile. Nobody even thought that it was possible, until one day Roger just did it. Amazingly, since then a four-minute mile is not even an issue for young sports students. It has become a ‘normal’ achievement, not even recognised as something special any more.
Stretching the spirit can also mean to be the one to practice forgiveness for example, if that is something that you would not normally do.
What can you do to stretch your spirit? What is an emotion that does not come easily to you, yet would make the biggest impact on your performance or in your relationship?
Stretch your spirit once a day and experience the difference this has on your whole life.
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
Stretch yourself to who you really are and let go of the stress of trying to be what, who or how you (or even worse: others!) think you should be.