Oy! I am so sorry for disappearing on you like that. I feel like a bad friend who fell off the face of the earth for a few weeks. No calls. No emails.
Well I went on vacation. A delicious, luxurious, tropical vacation complete with pina coladas, snorkeling and sun-bathing.
I had every intention of writing a blog post while away, but yeah... that didn't happen. Somewhere in between reading Twilight New Moon (I can't believe I am admitting to that publicly), taking a nap, and working on my tan,writing a blog post just somehow slipped my mind.
We all know that relaxing feels good and is fun. But I think we forget that it is actually important for our overall health and well-being.
From a physiological perspective, eliciting the relaxation response has tons of positive effects on the body. Things like: raising serotonin levels, boosting your immune system, stabilizing blood sugar levels, improving your digestions and sleep, and much more.
To illustrate the positive effects that relaxation can have on a person, I would like to refer to one of the best films of all-time, Pretty Woman.
Operating under the safe assumption that you have all seen that movie, remember how the Richard Gere character is this workaholic and has really bad insomnia? And then Julia Roberts comes along, and she gets him to loosen up and they go on a picnic and he puts his bare feet in the grass and they read books and snuggle? And then that night, what happens? I think the quote goes, "He sleeps..."
As you know, I have a pretty holistic approach to health. It's not just about the absence of illness. Our sleep habits, stress levels, and mood, all play an important role in our well-being. Something like 70% of all doctors' visits are for the treatment of conditions that are stress-related.
Given the prevalence of stress these days, relaxing becomes a revolutionary act. Every day, our stressors come at us with an army of worries and, most days, we let that army defeat us.
Relaxing is not just relaxing. It is a conscious decision to say NO to the tide that we usually let just take us. If we can pull this off, even for an hour, it's a miracle, let alone a revolution, and we are saying to ourselves: I am too important not to relax. I am bigger than my anxieties. I am under my own control. The revolution is self-belief, faith, perseverance, and optimism.
I encourage you to take time out of your day, each and every day, to do something that is either relaxing or fun. Put it on your to-do list. And try to find outlets that go beyond TV and alcohol. Something that is more of the feet-in-the-grass variety.
Take a walk just for the hell of it. Leave your cell phone behind.
Sit on a bench in a park.
Play with a baby.
Practice a random act of kindness.
Take a dance class.
Jump on a trampoline.
Have a night in that is totally "unplugged".