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Relaxation: What’s The Secret?

How many times have you been told to “just relax” or “take it easy” when you get all fired up about something? And how many times have you said to yourself, “If I could only just relax!”

When I asked a businessman friend of mine about his secret to relaxation, without hesitation he answered, “Don’t care.”

It’s true that if you don’t care about anything, you won’t get “all worked up,” but you won’t live very well or very long, and you certainly won’t achieve your goals and make your dreams come true. In fact, you won’t have goals or dreams. You won’t feel ALIVE, and you won’t feel much of anything, except perhaps boredom. This kind of relaxation will not help you; it will destroy you.

What Is Relaxation?

Relaxation is becoming less tense. When your muscles or your mind get over-stressed, they freeze up. You feel stiff and unable to act. You stare into space, you piddle and procrastinate, and you don’t get anything done. Or you ignore your stress and keep pushing yourself — and wind up making mistakes or injuring yourself.

Relaxation does not mean “doing nothing.” It means doing something you love. True relaxation means using just enough energy to get the job done to your standards — no more, no less. When you attach fear and worry to your tasks, you use unnecessary energy worrying about what will happen if you fail or trying to please other people. You want to be serious about your goals, but you do not want to be grim. You want to be passionate and intense about your values, but you do not want to be stressed out over them. How can you achieve a state of relaxed enjoyment in your everyday life?

Take A Relaxation Test

Did the word “test” make you tense up? What else makes you tense up? Here are a few questions to help you detect what’s causing tension in your daily life.

  1. Are you doing what everyone else wants you to do, and ignoring what you want to do?
  2. Do you feel at home with your physical surroundings?
  3. Do you feel at home with yourself?
  4. Do you feel at home with others?
  5. Do you have unrealistic demands for yourself or others?
  6. Do you panic when given a deadline?
  7. Do you feel overwhelmed by your schedule?
  8. Do you take good care of your health?

If you answered “Yes” to numbers 2, 3, 4, and 8, and “No” to the other numbers, you are in good shape. If your answers were otherwise, it’s time to take a deep breath, step back from your frenzy, and gain some perspective.

Things To Help You Relax

Keep A Calendar. Put only the things YOU want to do on that calendar. That way you can relax, because you know when to do what.

Check Your Assumptions. Your deep-down bottom-line beliefs are your guide to living. Do you know what your bottom-line beliefs are telling you? Make sure that none of your beliefs conflict with your other beliefs. That way you can relax, because you know you are being true to all your beliefs.

Check Your Priorities. You can’t do more than one thing at once. But there so many things you want to do. List those things in order of their importance to YOU. That way, you can relax, because you know you are doing the most important things first.

Allow Time Between Activities To “Regroup.” If you don’t give yourself time to “digest” what you’ve just been doing, and to refresh yourself and prepare for the next thing on your agenda, you will run yourself ragged. Allow time in your schedule for non-scheduled time to fuel yourself up for the next exciting thing you want to tackle. That way, you can relax, because you’ll have time for YOU in between activities.

Plan A Change. Most people think of a vacation as a change, but I knew a man who was a doctor by day and a concert pianist by night. One profession relaxed him from the other! Taking a break from what you’ve been concentrating on a long time makes you more able to focus on the job when you return to it. That way, you can relax, because you know you will not run yourself into the ground and you have something else to look forward to.

Respect The Facts Of Life. Acknowledge that things have a certain nature, and that it is up to you to discover what’s what so you can live your life. Learn the difference between what you can do something about and what you can not do something about. That way, you can relax, because you won’t be trying to fight “Mother Nature.”

Respect Yourself. Take care of your health and safety, and make the effort to discover what you want out of life. That way, you can relax, because you’ll be at home with yourself and you’ll know you won’t end up regretting the life you’ve lived.

Respect Others. Honor their right to live their own lives in their own way, the same as you. That way, you can relax, because you won’t be trying to control others and they won’t be trying to control you.

Pick Pleasant Surroundings. Clear your surroundings of visual and noise clutter. That way, you can relax, because you won’t be distracted by things that have nothing to do with what you want to have in your life.

Go After Your Goals. Do something every day to bring you closer to achieving your goals. That way, you can relax, because you know that your daily efforts are adding up to something important: making your dreams come true.

Have Fun. Do something every day to celebrate being alive. That way you can relax, because you know that each day along the way, you will be stopping to smell the roses.

Relaxation Takes Planning

You can’t just calm down and relax  “on command.” It takes planning and effort. But learning to use your energy toward you goals instead of using it up on worry and fear and living with anxiety and stress is worth the effort. The relaxation that comes from being at home with the world, yourself, and others and going after your goals will bring you a lifetime of fulfillment and happiness.

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