Ok, so we all know how it feels to put pressure on ourselves, don't we?
The small things we say to ourselves to force ourselves to do that annoying thing that we really don't want to do.
'If I don't work out 5 times a week, then I'll loose all my fitness and become lazy' or 'if I just get that last piece of paperwork done, then I'll be happy with my progress for the day', maybe even 'if I don't go to work today, my boss will sack me and I'll become a homeless crack dealer, selling my body for rock' ... No? Hmm, just me then ...
The trouble with all this pressure is that it makes us feel like crap! There is already enough pressure on us in the form of 'life in general'. We don't need to go adding to the shit-storm!
I speak from personal experience here when I tell you that the more pressure we put on ourselves, the sicker we become, the older we look, the more tired we are and the less we enjoy life.
As soon as I stopped pressurising myself to do things a certain way, a whole new world opened up before my eyes. Here are just 3 of the benefits I have felt from learning to relax:
1: I immediately felt healthier, stronger and freer in my everyday life! After literally a lifetime of forcing, pushing, striving and blasting through my limitations I finally gained some freedom. Unless you have lived in this way, there is no way to understand how trapped you can become when you are under so much pressure. The best part is that once we realise the pressure is actually self made, we are free to choose how we spend our time. This means, more time with loved ones or friends, less time stressing about what we think we have to do and more time planning holidays, traveling or simply relaxing ... I'm a huge advocate of relaxation ... simply because I don't do it enough and I benefit so much when I do! Putting pressure on ourselves is needing too much control over which things happen and when ... let go, trust a little that things are unfolding just how they should and see how much richer life gets.
2: Nothing happened to my fitness or flexibility levels ... literally nothing. So often we push ourselves to exercise when we just ain't feeling it and this just makes the whole thing torturous. The same can be applied to working. Nothing will happen to your business if you take a flippin' day off! Literally nothing. We won't get sacked, we won't loose customers and we won't become a destitute drug addled whore. Big promise! Working all the time, never giving ourselves time to let our brain calm down is akin to leaving a lightbulb burning in your house all the time. Yeah, its cool for a while and you'll have a brilliant light but one day, it'll go bang. Suddenly everything's dark and you've gotta scramble around trying to get the bulb changed ... or worse, run to the shop and get another one! Bummer. What will happen when we take a rest is that we will begin to calm down, to relax and let go ... then come the major realisations. A friend of mine wrote to me the other day saying that she had started to give herself Friday, Saturday and Sunday's off each week and she is getting more done and having more breakthroughs every week because of this simple change in strategy. Another thing that will happen is that we begin to enjoy the times when we are working out or working on a project! It becomes a joy rather that a torture and we could even see an improvement. Even if you can't change your working situation right now, just try to take a little more time for you and see how much better your brain and body function when you aren't forcing it.
3: My happiness levels drastically increased. Having suffered through depression and chronic illness, I am no stranger to feeling like crap. However, as soon as I stopped trying to force myself to get better and simply accepted that today I feel sad or angry or tearful or low in energy or whatever, my whole outlook shifted. I was able to see that it's totally OK to have a down day or to feel demotivated or to have a day where I just don't care. It could even be an entire week! No worries!
Sometimes, we don't accept the way we feel and this just breeds resentment for ourselves and for others who try to cheer us up. Acceptance of all our emotions no matter how 'bad' or 'negative' they may appear is key to being able to relax. So, you're having a bad day? No problem. Treat yourself with kindness much in the same way that you would treat a little child who is having a grump. We wouldn't blame a child for his or her outburst of emotion, lets not do it to ourselves, eh?! However, this doesn't mean that we should allow ourselves to treat people badly. We don't need to be an asshole and think that everyone else should just live with it! It simply means that we acknowledge and accept the way we are feeling, minute by minute and work with it, rather than fighting against it. This way, we can always be aware of how we are feeling and how we are treating ourselves and others.
So lets all just flippin' well calm down shall we? It takes some practice and I'm still a work in progress myself but with awareness and rest, things are always changing for the better!
I have a 5 minute meditation that can help to reconnect us to our bodies and minds. If you would like to try it out CLICK BELOW.
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