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relaxingI am a pretty relaxed individual. Most of the time. There are however occasions that I forget to relax. I am pretty sure everyone knows the feeling; life gets a little hectic and before you know it, relaxing is the last thing on your mind. So, we do social things. We go out with friends, or take a walk to the beach or any kind of leisurely activity. All in aid of getting our minds off of what ever debacle is taking up our thinking space. But what I have learnt is that if you don’t sit and reorder your thinking around what ever is bugging you, the leisurely activities are rendered redundant. Over the last while, that just because I was doing something relaxing, doesn’t mean I was relaxing.

It is here that I realised the importance of actively relaxing. It is a real thing. No one wants a heart attack. But there are many people that just do not know how to relax. It is, in fact, an art form. Something one needs to practice to get right. I am not talking about going on more walks or taking more time out of the busy schedule for laziness, this doesn’t really solve anything. We just spend that allocated time worrying about whatever other stuff is going on in our lives, or we feel guilty because there is something that we could be doing in that time that is more productive. What is the point then?

I am talking about learning how to relax while living. Yes, allocating leisure time is important, but for it to be really effective, one must learn how to relax all the time. I can hear the workaholics gasping from here. “Relax? All the time? No. There is no time to relax, laziness is the Devil and it will suffocate you in the night.” Well, I say different. I am not saying be lazy. That is not the same as relaxing. I am saying don’t get too worked up about things. I am saying that it is beneficial to keep a relaxed mind set while carrying out stressful tasks.

It is an interesting concept. Most will find that, if they get it right, they will be infinitely more productive anyways. Their minds will be clear and focused on the task at hand, leaving more thinking space to be innovative, creative and efficient. Easier said than done hey? Well this is why. There is this inaccurate correlation between stress and productivity. People just assume that if they are stressed, they are working hard. Sure you may be putting in the hours, but how productive are those hours? Any business person will tell you that three hours that are one hundred percent productive will beat five hours of fifty percent productivity. It makes perfect sense. What happens is we spend half of the time doing the work, and the other half worrying about the work that we still need to complete. What is worse, we spend all of out break time worrying about catching up the work that we are behind on. It’s a lose/lose situation.

I believe that learning to bring yourself into the moment can alleviate these working trials. Focusing on what you need to do right now and organising your life so that you can prioritise the stuff that needs to be done urgently, setting a deadline and then worrying about finishing that piece of work exclusively. Forget about the list, forget about what still needs to be done, you cannot do one million things at once. Work through it step by step. Then, when it comes time to relax, relax. Forget about work altogether. Sit with your feet up and dream about the good things in life. Hell, even siting and staring at the ocean will suffice. Then when it is time to graft again, graft. It really is a simple process, albeit a difficult one to implement.

Studies have even shown that people are far more productive when they do not have to worry about anything apart from what they are doing at that present time. Freakonomics, a book about economics and the mentalities of people, showed that employees that were getting payed enough to not have to worry about money, were far more productive than their lower paid counterparts. And it makes sense. Your mind is clearer when there is less clouding it. I am not saying demand a higher salary. Realistically, I am saying that it is a good idea to create those circumstances for your self. When things get heavy, take a breath and deal with them one at a time. It is not the end of the world and most problems or work errors can either be fixed or worked around.

Relax. Focus on what ever it is you are doing. Even if it’s lying on a couch relaxing. If you let the future of what could happen thwart the presence of what is happening, then you are probably going to have to deal with that conceived problem later too. If it is an inevitable problem, why deal with it twice? If there is something you can do about it now, do it. If you can’t then forget about it and deal with it when you can.

Relax, life is not the end of the world.