A Rebellion of Relaxation.
By Dana Lowers.
In today’s world, we are expected to push ever onward toward our goals. We spend our lives striving to climb the corporate ladder, eat or be eaten, shoot for the horizon, get to the top.
While having healthy goals and actively working to attain them is good, there is also a downside to constantly exerting energy and moving forward.
We all know that stress is running rampant in our society. When we are stressed, our bodies automatically respond to the stressor both physiologically and psychologically.
Some people are predisposed to disorders that can cause a departure from the body’s normal stress response. It is important for us to understand that the body’s normal stress response can present symptoms of anxiety, changes in mood, depression, and fatigue in anyone.
Why are so many of us finding it difficult to manage, and adapt to, the demands of life? What if the answer was as simple as the lack of “down time”?
Nowadays, it seems like relaxation is considered a luxury or a reward for pushing oneself to the brink. If we would look at nature more closely, we would realize that down time is a necessity. Plants go dormant, and animals hibernate.
Did you know that when it rains, some nutrients in plants are washed down into the soil (passive, rejuvenation) and are reabsorbed when the sun comes out? (Active, moving outward) Without this time of passivity, plants would use up their resources and animals would die from starvation.
If times of passive relaxation are so important in nature, doesn’t it make sense that it would be just as important for us?
We are often encouraged to actively relax. Do Yoga, get reiki, drink chamomile tea, practice pranayama. But what about doing nothing?
There have been times in my own life during which I tried almost every form of stress reduction – with no luck. Then I thought, “Well, I guess I’ll just sit here then…” and that’s what I did.
Amazingly, I started to feel better. My breathing became deeper and more regular. Deep breathing is a bridge that connects the mind to the body; therefore, it directly affects our physical well-being.
As my breathing deepened, my heart rate decreased and my mind cleared – like clouds drifting away after a storm. I did not focus on my breath, I did not meditate. I did nothing. I laid down and let go. I let my mind wander while letting my body do the breathing. After experiencing such a state of relaxation, I make time to do nothing; especially during times of stress.
Do not mistake doing nothing with watching television and eating a bag of potato chips. When doing nothing, you also need to be free from outside distractions. No television, no books, no yoga videos. Turn your cell phone off, lock the door, tell your significant other and children that you need some “you time.”
If it is impossible to be free of distractions in your home, find a quiet place in nature where you will not be disturbed. Finding a quiet spot outdoors can be even more beneficial because you will be surrounded and supported by the grounding, earthy energy of nature.
Do not focus on anything, not even your breath. Let your body do the breathing and let your mind be carried away into the ether.
In this void of nothingness, you will get to know you. Doing nothing is about spending quality time with yourself. Stay here as long as you like and drink in the solace. Do not expect anything, just let it happen. Treat this time with yourself, without distractions, as sacred.
When you return to your life, you will be amazed by how much better you feel. Remember, your stressors and problems may still be there; however, by making a commitment to yourself to do nothing, you will lessen the negative effects on your mind and body, and you will increase your ability to cope.
So, go against the grain and just be still. Do not push forward or move back, be where you are. If you don’t stop and ask for directions, how will you know where to go?
Dana Lowers is a lover of yoga, self expression, and firmly believes in marching to your own drum. Her passion is to show people how to live the healthy and fulfilling lives they are meant to through holistic wellness, spiritual cultivation and physical movement. It is her belief that the practice of yoga and a healthy diet can evoke powerful, positive change and growth that will affect every aspect of one’s life. Dana is a private yoga instructor, and also teaches stress management, nutrition and corporate wellness. You can find her at Elemental Wellness Solutions and on Facebook.