The average person in the Western World goes to work, goes home, has a drink (or two or three), has tea, sits down, watches television, goes to sleep, wakes up, goes to bed, can’t sleep, tosses and turns, gets up the next morning tired and does it all again. No wonder they’re stressed out of their brain.
If you can’t find time to
- get away from the desk at lunch time and go for a walk
- play sport
- play cards
- go for a decent holiday each year
- mix with friends
- go to the pictures in the middle of the week
- read a book
- conduct a healthy romantic life
… it’s time you woke up to yourself. Get a life!
If you want to relax your mind you need to start doing the things that relaxed people do.
For starters they meditate. Meditation would have to be the easiest and most cost effective thing you can do to improve your physical and mental wellbeing.
‘All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.’ Blaise Pascal
There is a compelling reason to meditate. It’s not like it’s hard. You don’t have to do anything except sit in a chair with your eyes closed and drift off with the faeries into the alpha brain-wave zone.
Meditation is the best way to ‘warm up’ that part of your autonomic nervous system that relaxes muscles and blood vessels. And like a smile, it gives much and costs nothing – just a bit of time.
Most people can’t find the time, including those who spend 20 hours a week watching TV.
Secondly, they keep themselves aerobically fit. The reasons for doing so are legion but in the stress reduction arena, vigorous physical activity burns up the stress hormones and washes them out of your body. What it does is ‘cools down’ that part of your autonomic nervous system that wants to fire you up, tighten your muscles and constrict your blood vessels. You can’t have a relaxed mind in that state without a physical and mental collapse.
You’ll know you’re getting the right type of exercise when you get a sweat up. You stimulate your elimination system – which involves your lungs, your skin, your kidneys and your bowel. You also get out of your body the waste products of a toxic environment. You feel better.
They take a lunch break, they get outside for a wander round.
They take their holidays. Paul Pearsal in his book Super Immunity says you need at least one twenty-one day holiday a year. Anything less than that and you’re still worrying about the work you haven’t completed and the work you still have to do.
Leonardo da Vinci said,
‘Every now and then go away, have little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer; since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose power of judgment. Go some distance away because the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen.’
Good advice now as it was then. People like to think life has sped up since Da Vinci but no doubt there was a rat race in Florence in the 16th Century. And speaking of the rat race, as Lily Tomlin said, ‘Even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat!’
They eat wisely, plenty of fruit and vegetables and not much fat, flour and sugar. They drink plenty of water and hardly any alcohol.
They like a good laugh.
They have a distraction strategy to divert their attention from misery and work. They have hobbies, they play sport, they are members of clubs, they have friends around, they go to the pictures, they play cards, they sing, dance and play musical instruments.
They enjoy gardening. There are few things more relaxing to the mind than gardening. At the end of a day in the garden there’s more satisfying than cleaning and packing away the tools and looking back to survey your work.
Finally if you’re having trouble relaxing, get yourself a dog. Harry Truman said, ‘If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.’ Pretty good advice that pretty much applies world wide. When it sees you it will wag its tail. You’ll at least know someone loves you. You’ll feel better.