Relax and Enjoy
Life is busy, and it’s easy to get caught up in a constant effort to do more, have more and be more.
But what good is ‘more’ of anything if you’re too busy, stressed and overwhelmed to enjoy it?
Make it a point to stop from time to time and participate fully in relaxation and self-care.
As you temporarily let go of to-do’s and concerns, relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of rest and recreation,
you’ll recharge, rejuvenate and find greater peace of mind.
The Cost of Stress
“Peace of Mind most all the time” is our goal with this blog series. Stressful thoughts, feelings and behaviors obliterate peace of mind. What’s more, chronic stress is an enemy of peace of mind, and it’s also a killer! Both figuratively and literally.
In the literal and physical sense, chronic stress is a killer. It has been definitively shown to diminish immune response leading to greater susceptibility to infection and other disease (including cancer as I know from personal experience). It is highly correlated with heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke. Chronic stress interferes with the normal functioning of digestive, excretory, circulatory and reproductive systems in the body and has been shown to cause or contribute to an enormous number of diseases and medical conditions. Over 100 in fact, for and informative and somewhat scary list, click here.
In more figurative terms, chronic stress is a killer too. It kills creativity, curiosity, humor, the ability to concentrate and squashes possibility. In relationships, chronic stress feeds insecurity, inhibits clear communication and kills intimacy. It feeds anger and depression, inhibits pleasure and kills joy, happiness and the ability to experience to find fun in life. For a list of some additional cognitive, emotional and behavioral impacts of stress, click here.
Make Time to Relax and Enjoy
So now that we’re clear on the many costs and negative effects of stress, let’s focus on one of the solutions. High on most lists of ways to combat stress, is to regularly schedule time to relax and enjoy as you engage in healthy activities.
To relax and enjoy means to disengage your mind from the thoughts of concern and worry. It means to be fully present with and delight in the people and experiences around you. It is to lose yourself in an activity in a way that naturally allows your mind to become more clear and focused and your body to de-stress.
For example, I remember once going for a massage to help me relax. Yet as I lay on the table with skilled hands working me over, my mind was filled with thoughts and concerns of work, relationship and projects pending. The masseuse several time had to gently chide me, reminding me to come back to the moment, relax and breathe. Despite her wonderful work, I left feeling only slightly better than when we started.
The next time, I made it a point to focus specifically on the physical manipulations and sensations of the massage itself. I surrendered the worries and concerns, lost myself in the experience and left with a very relaxed body and even a stress-free mind. The difference was amazing.
What You Can Do
There are countless things that you can do – and sometimes not do – to relax and enjoy. Again the key is to temporarily surrender all concerns (they’ll wait for you), engage fully in the moment and choose to take pleasure in what you’re doing.
To take time to relax and enjoy contributes to Peace of Mind on many levels. In addition to the practical and immediate benefit of feeling better when you relax and engage in healthy activities, you can also rest easier knowing that you’re taking care of your mental, physical and emotional health. And that knowledge contributes to greater peace of mind for yourself and those who love and depend on you.
So my challenge to you today is to carve out at least a couple of hours this week to step out of the busyness and enjoy doing something that is relaxing and something that you love to do.
It could be something like:
- Going to the beach for a few hours.
- Playing with your kids, enthusiastically and with abandon!
- Taking a long walk in nature.
- Going for a massage or other personal care treatment.
- Putting on dance music and dancing uninhibitedly.
- Sitting with a loved one, watching the sunset.
- Any of a million and two other things!
Do It Now!
Make sure that it’s something that you can give yourself to fully, so that you can clear your mind of concerns and worries to simply be present and relaxed.
I’d love to know what you decide to do this week to relax and enjoy! Let us know by leaving a comment below.