Learning to relax can increase our productivity.
Do you have anything that makes you relax instantly?
(I’m not talking about anything that comes in a capsule or bottle.)
How good are you at relaxing?
Are you good at relaxing?
We lead pretty hectic lives. Even in our down times, like summer, we have full agendas. If you ask someone, “How’s your summer going?” the most common response is, “It’s busy!”
Maybe you are just back from a nice vacation, or planning one in a few weeks. Vacations do provide a change to get away from packed schedules, do something different and have special times. Vacations are great. And, have you noticed when people return from vacation they often look different? They’re calm like, relaxed, and peaceful. Vacations are good for us because they give us a chance to relax.
· Relaxing is good for us.
· Relaxing reduces stress levels.
· Relaxing lowers blood pressure.
· Relaxing decreases muscle tension
Relaxing involves our bodies and our minds. We can be sitting in an easy chair looking all relaxed on the outside with our minds not at all relaxed but full of swirling stressful thoughts. True relaxing is when our body and our mind are freed of tension. Relaxing is a productive activity to do. True relaxing is a state of calm for both body and mind.
So, are you wondering how relaxing can be productive if it looks like doing nothing?
Good question. As strange as it sounds, this “doing nothing” actually produces great benefits. Take a look at this enticing list of benefits associated with relaxing:
· Better sleep.
· Less headaches and pains.
· Increased ability to concentrate.
· Less frustration, anxiety, and anger.
· More calm, joy, and peace.
· Enhanced energy.
· Stronger immune system.
· Improved problem solving.
Vacations are great for relaxing, but they don’t last long enough.
Summer is great too, but it doesn’t last long enough either!
Do we have to settle for waiting for summer or a vacation to de-stress and relax? Actually, that is a prescription for problems. Our lives are filled with stress. Too much stress is linked with loads of health problems. Even our kids these days are showing up with mental backpacks loaded down with stress. To stay healthy, we need some time each day for relaxing. We can’t just wait for our vacations to relax.
So, I suggest planning mini mental vacations. You can take them each day. You can take them whether you are on the train, at your desk, or at home with family members around. They’re a simple habit to learn, but a vital one to do. They belong on everyone’s agenda whether you are under 18 or over 18.
Taking a mini mental vacation goes like this:
CLAIM YOUR MINI-VACATION
Settle yourself down someplace, sitting or standing is fine, just declare it time for a mini vacation and take 1-3 minutes for yourself. Longer is even better, but 1-3 minutes several times a day will produce benefits. You don’t have to be alone, but you do need to be able to concentrate on being on your mini-vacation. Claim the time. Think of it as a necessity.
Start with taking three deep breaths. Notice your breathing as you do it. Breathe slowly, in and out. Pay attention and think about your breathe going in, filling you up, delivering needed oxygen to your body and brain.
RELAX AND CALM YOUR MIND
As you continue breathing deeply, empty or calm your mind. This can be hard to do. One way to bring on calm is to put on a mental movie of a relaxing memory, like being at the beach listening to the waves. Stay with the memory or calm thought. Close your eyes if you can or look at something you enjoy in the room. If stressful thoughts interrupt, replace them with the calm memory or thought.
RELAX AND CALM YOUR MUSCLES
Notice your muscles. Ease any tension you find by letting your muscles relax. Many people carry their stress in their neck, shoulders and back. If you are in a private place, do a few neck rolls or shake out your hands to relax. Then stand and do some gentle stretching. Take deep breaths while you stretch. If you have to stay at a desk you can stretch your legs, roll your ankles, or wrists while remaining seated.
CARRY THE CALM WITH YOU
Keep enjoying the relaxing memory, refreshing breathing, and easing of muscle tension. When it’s time to return from your mini-vacation, take another deep breath, relax your face muscles, and smile gently. Notice and enjoy being more calm. Carry it with you in both your mind and your body as you return from your mini-vacation.
Want to be more productive? Put mini mental vacations in your schedule each and every day.