The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it. – Jim Goodwin
January brings with it a tendency to create resolutions for the year ahead. Now that March is upon us, some of us may be wondering why it is so difficult to maintain our goals. Ask yourself: Do these resolutions contribute to striving or thriving?
Striving represents both our good stress (socializing, working, or driving our kids to activities) and bad stress (a health scare, divorce, or car accident), all of which are experiences that are driven by concerted effort. Due to this effort, the brain releases chemicals. Because we are over scheduled by our need to be productive, our brain continues to release these chemicals, leaving our body unable to rest.
Good or bad stress is still STRESS which our brain responds to accordingly. Left unchecked or unmanaged, it creates a sense of unease which in turn can lead to disease. In fact, reports suggest that over 70 per cent of illness associated with aging is stress-related and completely preventable.
In contrast to striving, thriving exists in a space of flow. You know you are in flow when the ego falls away, time feels like it’s flying by, and you feel completely involved in an activity for its own sake. This creates an experience of peace and allows for a re-engagement of stress-released chemicals. We need this experience to maintain our health.
New research reports that westerners spend 33 per cent less time on leisure and experience more depression and anxiety than other cultures. It may be necessary to re-evaluate how we spend our time.
This is not another “how to” article; rather, it is a prescription to give yourself permission to incorporate flow into your life. Take a day to sleep until you are done sleeping; pass by that never-ending to-do list or create a “No Agenda Day”. Make note of things you’ve discovered in your life that allow you to lose all concept of time and space around you. This is your ticket to experiencing success while still maintaining your resolutions.
When we are truly in the moment, we are “being”, not “doing”. Whatever mental barriers may be in your way, try to understand that flow is a form of recharging and you’re actually expanding your capacity for excellence in work, life, love and relationships. This is an extraordinary life and yours to live to the fullest. This is thriving.
If you’d like to infuse some healthy thrive into your life, a Copeman Healthcare registered psychologists would be happy to help. By getting to know your priorities, your motivations and the various sources of your stress, we can help you find greater balance in your life.