Ok, it’s truth- telling time.
I often forget to relax.
It’s true. I am the first person to suggest relaxation and downtime to someone if I see them going too fast or feeling uptight, but I don’t always recognize the signals as easily in myself.
I am a passionate and energized person, and as a result, I tend to go into life giving it 110 percent (sometimes at 90 miles an hour), and relaxation and downtime just seem to get edged out by the mile-long list of other juicy things I want to get my hands dirty doing.
Which is precisely why, when I’m paying attention, I am very deliberate about relaxation. I schedule it. I put it on my “to-do” list…. otherwise it might not get done.
About eight years ago I earned my certification in clinical hypnotherapy. It was during my training that I realized how running around and chasing life wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Here I was thinking that if I just did more, learned more, or pushed harder I would see better results, and my training revealed to me that I was only half right.
What I learned about relaxation and the mind during the process forever changed the way I look at “working” towards a goal.
What I learned is that the brain processes the information you feed it (through work, learning, etc.) while you are relaxed. In other words, without “downtime,” the brain cannot integrate change. This is precisely why cutting edge companies such as Microsoft and Google have been rumored to allow their engineers plenty of on-the-clock time to play games and goof off. They understand that creativity is born during relaxed activity, and not when the brain is “efforting.” (Okay, so I made that word up – but isn’t that what it feels like sometimes?) We need to value the 50/50 split between working and relaxing in order to really, truly make permanent change within.
Once I realized this, in true “go-get-‘em” fashion, I began promptly downloading guided meditation and hypnosis tracks on my iPod. I acquired a proactive habit of almost daily meditation and/or hypnosis, so as to make sure I was taking time to relax.
The irony isn’t lost on me when it comes to the idea of scheduled relaxation. I know that kind of seems to be an oxymoron. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I am by history a “Type A, make it happen” kind of gal, and while I work daily to be mindful of keeping a balance with that – I find it’s easier to start where you are.
So on that note, I ask you to ask yourself, how do you relax?
How do you allow your mind to just wander off and let go?
If your answer is “sleep,” then I am going to suggest to you that maybe you too could use some deliberate relaxation. Many, many people living life in today’s age will find themselves in this category.
Meditation, guided imagery and hypnosis are all great ways to begin this process, and you can easily access vast amounts of resources and information simply by jumping on Google and typing in the terms.
Meditation, hypnosis, and guided imagery have been shown to:
Lower blood pressure
Reduce problems related to stress
Help to reach goals and promote healing
Assist in preparing for an athletic event or for public speaking
Aid learning, creativity and performance
I encourage all of my clients to engage in some form of deliberate relaxation while we are working together. Changing old patterns of behavior requires a lot of work, but equal to that, it requires time for the new beliefs and habits to be integrated.