What if I’m boiling over and can’t calm down?

Programming Instant Relaxation

We’ve all been there. Some time in the past 24 hours, perhaps. Your boss said something hard to take during your performance review. The gas pump wouldn’t work at the filling station. Your kid pushed just the right button and you reacted by saying the wrong thing. Now you feel worse. What do you do?

First, stop feeling worse. You can’t change the past. However, you can change the future! This page will give you an exercise that you can use to gain instant control of your feelings so that you can return to the How to Feel Balance Wheel and respond appropriately to any stressor.

The following trick has many different names that span many different cultures. Behavioral scientists call it “operant conditioning.” Sometimes it’s called “Pavlovian conditioning”. Same thing. I have heard yoga practitioners call it “the Bagha”. It has been applied all over the world across many centuries because it works. I will call it “instant relaxation” because that is how it works for me. I apply this most effectively in martial arts competition. But there are many applications for this in everyday life–waiting at a traffic light, standing in line at a grocery store, enduring some obtuse remark by a co-worker and so on.

Many of you have heard of this technique which involves pinching the earlobe which is a physical stimulation to trigger the mental response. Sometimes, there are times when you can’t reach your earlobe, or you don’t want to move. You can substitute any sort of physical stimulation to trigger the mental reminder. In this exercise, I program you to gently bite the sides of your tongue. I learned this from my voice coach in college. She instructed me to bite the sides of my tongue and relax. In addition to the physical trigger for full-body relaxation, the gentle bite causes salivation which you can then swallow to moisten the throat.

Instant relaxation

(This is the perfect opportunity to listen to the free meditation at the top of the page)

You begin first by programming your desired response in a controlled situation. Sit upright in any chair or lie comfortably in bed. This works even in your car, but don’t do it while driving. If possible, close your eyes. It will work with your eyes open, though. You are always in control. Begin by counting backward from ten. Visualize the numerals of each number as you count backward. Allow yourself to relax more with each descending number. When you reach the number one, you are now very relaxed. Now give the five regions of your body extra permission to relax:
1. Your head, scalp, and face.
2. Your shoulders, arms, and hands.
3. Your chest and abdomen and back.
4. Your hips and pelvis
5. Your legs and feet.

You are now completely relaxed. Remember you are still in the programming mode. You are relaxed and in complete control. You can open your eyes or stand up or speak when spoken to any time you wish to.


Concentrate on the feeling of relaxation all throughout your muscular system. Notice the warmth and energy revitalizing and refreshing your entire being. Now, allow your tongue to flatten out between your teeth along the sides of your mouth. Bite your tongue firmly so that you can recognize the sensation instantly the next time you wish to relax. Hold the sides of your tongue firmly between your teeth and count to three. One. Two. Three. Now, release the the sides of your tongue.

You have now programmed the relaxation of your body to the sensation of a gentle bite to the tongue. The next time you need instant relaxation, carefully but firmly bite the sides of your tongue to stimulate this sense of relaxation. The more you practice instant relaxation, the more masterful you will become in this technique.


{ 1 trackback }

Featured Video