Make Work-Relaxation Balance A Part of Your Life
In our society, doing something slowly, relaxing or even doing nothing at all — even for a little while — is often equated with laziness, lack of ambition, lack of ability and perhaps even a lack of character.
Many who pride themselves on being busy all the time simply don’t know how to relax and slow down. When they do slow down, they chastise themselves and feel anxious or guilty.
They may tend to rush headlong into a situation rather than approach it slowly and methodically. Often, they must redo their efforts, and this produces frustration and detracts from a feeling of achievement or enjoyment of success.
Setting aside some leisure time to relax does not mean giving you permission to lighten up all of the time. A driven overachiever whose definition of success is limited to his career may equate relaxation with being unproductive.
Taking time to walk the dog, watch a sunset, enjoy music or talk with a friend may be perceived as a waste of time at first. But it can become part of a healthy lifestyle if it is incorporated into your routine.
Unfortunately, many times it takes a heart attack or other significant trauma to make the person begin to include some relaxation.
Here is a good technique to learn how to relax and relieve tension:
* Lie or sit comfortably. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths.
* Clinch your fists tightly through the count of five and then let go. Notice the difference between these two states of muscle tension.
* Tense the muscles in your feet and legs for a count of five. Release the tension.
* Move to your abdomen and stomach using the same procedure.
* Move next to your arms and shoulders, tensing and relaxing them.
* Tense the muscles in your neck. Hold and let go.
* Clinch your teeth tightly together, tensing the muscles in your jaws and face. Hold, and then relax.
* Finally, squeeze your eyes tightly shut. Furrow your brow. Relax and feel the difference.
These tensing-relaxing exercises can help you learn to distinguish between the two states. You may need to practice several times each day.
Learn how to do nothing and do it slowly. Life can then be much more rewarding and less stressful.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2011