Relaxation 101


How often do you find yourself saying…or merely thinking … I’m exhausted. I’m overwhelmed. I have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. My to-do list is a mile long.

We have long been told by society to believe that only when we are producing something tangible are we of value. The mantra of modern day society is: “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” I still remember my mother jumping up from the sofa and busying herself with ironing or vacuuming as my father drove up the driveway after work. That was her way of proving that she was not lazy. She was, in fact, busy doing something valuable for the family.

What is it going to take to get over that mindset? Multiple scientific studies have shown us that a tired mind is an unproductive mind. When we force our bodies into a constant state of physical, mental, or emotional “doing-ness,” they tend to get stuck there, resulting in symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and stress related health issues.

What’s holding us back from taking care of ourselves? Why do we insist on pushing ourselves until we drop… even though we know it is detrimental to our well-being and our relationships? One answer is that we do not want to be called lazy or accused of being a slacker. It’s been drilled into us that taking time for ourselves is not productive and therefore of no value.

It’s time to let go of our anxiety and tendency toward overachievement. Put yourself on your own to-do list. Begin to focus on gaining a healthy state of relaxation. Here’s how:

Step 1: Awareness.  Can you tell when you are stressed? Do you know how to relieve that feeling? Can you remember a time when you felt really relaxed?  What did it feel like?

Step 2: Take relaxation seriously. Taking enough time to renew yourself is necessary to preserve and enhance the greatest asset you have, peace of mind. When you are relaxed, everything seems to flow more easily. You are able to do less and accomplish more.

Step 3: Make relaxation a priority. Learn the difference between allowing yourself to deeply relax and just “stopping activity”.

• If you only have a few minutes, spend them daydreaming, taking a walk, listening to music, breathing slowly and deeply.

• If you have more time, look for creative or recreational activities that are non-competitive and feel relaxing to you. Once you learn what works for you, make it a habit.

Learning to relax is key to your personal well-being and happiness. Be sure to bring relaxation into your relationships as well. Make time to enjoy your friends and family. Resist the temptation to always be do-ing or accomplishing something. Instead, play! Go out and have a good time. Enjoy the company of those around you. There is a time for chores and projects, but you also need to make time for fun and enjoyment.

Relaxation is the key to good physical, mental and emotional health. It also leads to increased productivity. With all the proven benefits, what is stopping you from trying to relax just a little bit more?