01 October 2010

Relaxation

The other day I was sitting in my office at the end of the day waiting for K. to be finished with his last patient.  I was laying on my consulting room couch with my feet up, engaged with a book, listening to Friday city sounds.  He saw me and said, "You look relaxed." and I realized that I was.  And thus began some pondering about--and experimenting with--relaxation.

So now here's the weekend, time to relax, and I'm thinking as I write this about what the difference between a relaxing weekend (or day or vacation) and "doing nothing" really is.  Why do we come out of some weekends saying "I feel relaxed" and others saying "I did nothing."

So here are some thoughts:

Relaxation involves -- wait for it -- activity.

Relaxation comes when we are active internally in some way.  Reading a book, sitting by a lake, walking in the forest.  We are not working, but we are also not not doing.  We are relaxing.  We are purposefully engaged in something that has no purpose but our inner pleasure.

So why is relaxation different than distraction?  Aren't we feeding inner pleasure through distraction?  I don't think so.

Too much distraction leads to a kind of out-of-body experience in our own life.  I believe that we need grounding in our life, right here, right now, today, in order to feel good.

What distracts?

TV, Internet, movies

worry
anger

work...

What relaxes?

Unscheduled time spent sitting and listening to beautiful music
Reading a good book
Taking a long walk
Doing something else that is, for you, special

So now I'm off to work on it this weekend, to continue to work at my relaxation research.  It's a tough business.
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