We've forgotten how to relax.
Somewhere throughout the years we unlearned this important trait.
Sitting in front of a TV is what most people do to "relax." But that's passive relaxation and due to the constant barrage of stimuli it's not relaxation at all.
Those of us without a TV have other forms of passive relaxation that isn't relaxing. Playing a computer game, mindlessly surfing the Web, checking twitter, checking e-mail, and so on.
Lately I've been practicing what I call active relaxation. It's very simple. Ready?
How To Practice Active RelaxationActive relaxation involves doing literally almost nothing.
1) Turn everything off. TV, phone, computer, iPod, everything.
Noise is OK. We can't shut off the world. We can, however, shut off our world. The goal here is not to escape, but to just be.
2) Sit, breathe, and be still. Eyes can be open or closed.
This will depend on where you are. If I'm indoors when I practice active relaxation I close my eyes. If I'm outside I will sometimes keep my eyes open and focus on something fairly inactive, like the treetops.
3) Pay attention to what's going on around you or to your thoughts.
Depending on where you are will most likely determine what you're paying attention to. When I'm indoors my attention usually settles on something inward, but when I'm outside it's a different experience.
I enjoy doing this exercise outside more than inside. When I do it inside (between writing sessions for example) it helps with clarity and focus. But when I practice active relaxation outside the results are a little more intense.
The best way I can explain it is it feels like rainbows and fireworks. :)
A special request from me today: At some point today (not tomorrow or the next day or next week or next month) take 5 or 10 minutes and practice active relaxation. Even if it's immediately before going to bed.
Taking time for yourself is important and I know with our busy schedules it's not always easy. But it's a special request, which is like some kind of blood oath. Which means you might die if you don't do it. (People die from blood oaths? What is a blood oath? I hope it's nothing like blood pudding. Ugh. Do you know what's in blood pudding? It's worse than cooked congealed blood. Wait. It is cooked congealed blood.)
When you're done come back here and let me know how you feel. :)