I’m so amped about my progress and the self-satisfaction boost that completing the previous 30-day challenge has provided me with that i’m going to try another one this month: relaxation.
This one is probably going to be a lot more difficult than the previous, because I won’t be physically producing the desired result in the same way every day. Rather, its a desired state of being that i’m going to challenge myself to uphold.
I realized that when I am in a state of calm or relaxation, I am able to achieve the results I want in every area of life, or at least accept my own actions without second-guessing. When I am calm, I am able to make decisions and follow through. I am in a state of flow and abundance, I feel connected to myself and to the rest of the world, and everything seems to come naturally.
I would say that my natural state (or at least the one i’m used to) is quite frazzled. She wants to do too many things at once, in the fastest way possible, and she wants to start NOW, but she’s so nervous that she becomes overwhelmed and fearful and takes no action. This is the opposite of what her highest self wants.
So my challenge to myself is to remain relaxed at all times, and when I feel myself becoming nervous, I must take all the time that is necessary to return to a relaxed state. I recognize now that it is not a waste of time to spend time organizing my mind and calming myself down before starting a task–yes time is being spent, but it is being spent wisely. Starting the day’s work, going to a meeting, hanging out with friends, or any other activity is great, but if i’m not in the right mindset then I feel uncomfortable and the results are subpar. I think the right mindset begins with relaxation. Just as doing work flows more naturally and easily when you’ve got a clear desk, so does life flow more naturally and easily when you’ve got a clear mind.
FEAR OF RELAXATION?
When I was thinking about whether or not I really wanted to do this challenge, the small/weak/nervous part of me (let’s call her Least Self) said “but i’m scared!” and the other part of me, the part that is positive, energetic, and logical (let’s call her Highest Self) couldn’t help but laugh and say, “what, scared to be relaxed all the time?” That’s just silly–nothing can come of this experiment but positivity, even if I don’t make it every single day (which I nevertheless intend to do.)
My favorite part of this experiment is that I am simply not allowed to worry. Its against the rules, so any time I catch myself thinking negatively or worrying about the outcome of a decision or “what will happen if…,” I must catch myself and remind Least Self that she is not welcome for the next 30 days. If I miss her at the end of 30 days, she is welcome to come back, but for the time being, she is banished.
This isn’t to say I expect to be happy and upbeat the entire 30 days (though that would be cool, and if its a result of being relaxed all the time, then bring it on, universe.) But when I have a low energy day or I’m not feeling in tip-top shape, I have to remember that its not the end of the world. I have to accept my feelings and remember that it will pass. Like Steve Pavlina says, I need to observe and appreciate the storm rather than getting caught up in the drama of it. Before this experiment, I have already experienced a few instances of being in a relaxed state during periods of low energy or sadness, and it feels different than giving into the grief and feeling hopeless and angry at myself: rather, it feels good to savour tears sometimes, in the same way that being sore from a workout is satisfying. So when I have a low day, I just need to relax, enjoy it, and remember that its just part of my natural balance and that it will pass.
I don’t mean to avoid stress at all times and to spend the next 30 days lying on the beach, but rather to avoid unnecessary self-imposed stress and worry. I am not so naive to think this is an easy task, but i think it could provide some really excellent growth. I know it will be tough, and while I’m full of energy today and feel very gung-ho, I’m pretty sure my focus won’t remain so strong the entire time. So, when I don’t think I can relax, I have come up with a few techniques to refer to when the going gets tough:
– ask myself what a relaxed person would do in my situation (or the relaxed version of me).
– breathe deeply
– remind myself to remember that stress & worry is not allowed for the next 30 days, and if I allow nervousness to settle in without redirecting my thoughts, I have to start the challenge over from Day 1.
I’ve successfully remained relaxed for the last 3 days, but I actually already had to enforce the last bulletpoint of this list and start over. (Damn, 33 days of relaxation.. how awful.) I accidentally got stranded in a strange part of the city late last night far away from home and for a brief moment I allowed worry to overwhelm me. However, after a 2-minute freakout, I remembered to remember to relax, organized my thoughts, found a map, and navigated my way home. Even though it was a small and brief event and I am proud that I recovered quickly, I’m considering it as a violation of the rules and a reason to restart the challenge because I acted on my thoughts of fear rather than relaxing before acting, even if only for a moment. I know I will have more worrying instances in the next 30 days, but if I can relax before taking action, then I will consider this challenge a success.
EAGER TO CONTINUE: RELAXATION IS AWESOME
I am really excited to continue this challenge, because in the first 3 days I’ve already noticed some positive effects. I don’t think that less stressful things are occurring, but rather in a relaxed mindset, I am able to see events in a different light and move past them. I don’t get stuck in a negative zone of inactivity when I relax: I can accept the situation and carry on my way. I’m looking forward to the challenge…