Everyone would like a happy, relaxed lifestyle — a calmness and serenity that lasts day after day. For most, however, this is difficult to achieve. Problems, frustrations, anxieties and so on get in the way. But if you take time to relax, you can come close. Relaxation is the key. When you are completely relaxed you are content and have an inner peace — a feeling of satisfaction and happiness with your life.
Although a relaxed lifestyle requires learning some relaxation techniques and using them it also needs something else. In particular, you also have to learn to relax at your job and other activities. Enjoying your job is of high priority. Don’t tie yourself up in knots trying to get your work done; you can get just as much done (and likely more) by working in a relaxed way.
Another thing that is important for a relaxed lifestyle is keeping busy. Keeping busy is, in fact, one of the best ways to keep yourself relaxed, but for this keep the following in mind.
- Don’t undertake more than you can handle.
- Don’t worry about your work, just do it.
- When you start to feel stress, take a short break and relax. Don’t let it build up.
Some of the things that help you achieve a relaxed lifestyle are:
- A good attitude
- Having fun — living your life, not letting it just pass
- Taking short vacations, even if just over a weekend
- Short naps are helpful when you start to get stressed (15 minutes)
- Spending a few minutes relaxing your muscles when they start to get tense
- Using quiet periods
- Meditation and music
For complete relaxation your muscles must be relaxed, and three of the major muscles to concentrate on are:
- Muscles of the eyes
- Muscles of the jaw and throat
- Muscles of the heart and chest
Relax these muscles and you have gone a long ways toward total relaxation. The best way is to close your eyes and keep your mind blank, then concentrate on the area you wish to relax. Sit calmly and quietly and say to yourself, “I am relaxed… very relaxed.”
Apply this to the three above areas, and also to your shoulders if they feel tense. Do it for several minutes. When you are completely relaxed, you will feel much better..
The Three Minute Quiet Period
An alternative to the above that may, at times, be quicker and easier is the three minute quiet period. You can use it several times a day, or whenever you feel tension starting to build. Sit in a comfortable chair and remain quiet and relaxed for three minutes. Don’t think of anything — let your mind relax. Enjoy the moment.
(Meditation and music are also helpful, but I will deal with them in a separate article,)
It’s important to note that there are actually two types of tension: physical and mental. You feel physical tension in your muscles; they become tense and tight. Mental tension is generally associated with the mind, and it is caused by your emotions. The two types are related in that one usually leads to the other; in particular, mental tension almost always leads to physical tension.
You can go a long ways towards giving yourself a relaxed lifestyle by using the above relaxation methods. But for a completely relaxed lifestyle and its associated inner peace you also need the proper attitude.
The Proper Attitude
If you already have the proper attitude for a relaxed lifestyle you don’t have to worry. But most people don’t. You can’t be completely relaxed if you have a pessimistic, negative attitude. Your attitude has been developed over many years, and it came mainly from your parents and friends. At this stage of your life it’s likely well-ingrained, and if it is negative you will have to change it.
People with a negative attitude have a pessimistic outlook on life. They allow themselves to get upset and depressed by the smallest things. They dwell on the ills, difficulties and problems in their life; they think about them day after day, gradually magnifying them until they are out of control. They can’t face their problems; they let them become obsessions until finally they are so stressed out they have a nervous breakdown.
It’s critical that you “let go” before your problems become obsessions and ruin your life. Furthermore, in this state you cannot be relaxed, or have a relaxed lifestyle. You have to change your attitude.
Most of the problems of people in the above state are due to “habits”– habits that have been developed as a result of their attitude.What you want is to change these habits, and indeed you can if you change your attitude. It can’t be changed overnight, but it can be changed. (It’s well-known fact that habits can be changed.) If you have a negative outlook on life, make a resolution to change it. Begin by telling yourself that you don’t want your life to center around your problems and difficulties. You want a relaxed lifestyle that emphasizes optimism, happiness, contentment and inner peace. Think about it. Substitute positive thoughts for every negative one that comes into your mind. Little by little you will make progress. If you do it long enough, your subconscious mind will take over and change your habits automatically. In fact, it will change your entire personality.
Also, remember that in many cases it’s your attitude towards your problems that is the real problem, not the problem itself. Use this to your advantage. Think about your problem; is it really that important. If it is, list ways it can be solved and take action. In many cases, however, it may actually be quite trivial — built up in your mind. If so, relax and forget it. If it involves another person, talk it over calmly with them. Try to resolve it.
In summary, with the proper attitude you can develop a relaxed lifestyle by using the techniques that I discussed earlier in the article.
Barry Parker, Ph. D., is a professor emeritus (physics) at Idaho State University. He is the author of 25 books on science, health, writing, and music. His website is BarryParkerbooks.com and he has several blogs, one of them is at Barrysbuzz123.blogspot.com. He has done research in biophysics (mutations in the DNA molecule) and in relativity theory (Einstein’s field theory), has a strong interest in health and fitness, self-improvement, and in music (particularly piano). He taught a writing class at ISU for several years. One of his recent books is “Feel Great Feel Alive.”
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