The Inability to Relax – A Problem of the Digital Age
One of the primary problems for busy professionals is an inability to completely and fully relax. You would think this is easy, go on a holiday, lie on a beach and you are relaxed? The reality is most people are unable to relax, let go, no matter what the circumstances. How many of us check our emails in the middle of the night when we wake up? Or feel that we need to reply to an email or a message as soon as we receive it, even if there is no real urgency involved?
Alternatively, we tend to rely on addictive agents such as alcohol or cigarettes to find that space of relaxation and letting go. There are many reasons for the inability to relax, but as busy professionals, we are so consumed with work, emails and our electronic gadgets with the constant social media channels fighting for our attention, that we forget that the most important person in this whole world and our surrounding circumstances is us. In our desperate effort to succeed, we tend to ignore our own needs and requirements and loose that deep connection with ourselves that is so very necessary for our well being, optimal performance and success.
High work stress over the long term, coupled with an inability to let go of work, leads to burnout with increased possibility to develop diseases such as blood pressure, hypertension, digestion problems, and in extreme cases, a nervous breakdown or depression.Leaders, CEOs and Entrepreneurs are particularly exposed and more susceptible to stress related disorders, considering all they have on their shoulders.
Why do we need to relax?
For optimal functioning, human beings have an imperative need for deep relaxation.Deep relaxation energizes us like nothing else can. It is only when we can easily and effortlessly fall into deep states of relaxation,(this can be through Meditation or not) that our minds can focus and function at heightened levels. To be focused at work, and let our creative juices flow, we need to have the ability to let our mind be empty or still for a while. In a spiritual context, this space allows us to connect with our radiant inner self, and it is also in this state we are most receptive to allowing Source energy through our energy centers and detoxifying our mind, body and spirit. Allowing this high vibrationsource energy to flow through us, enables us to be more productive and creative in our work and personal life.
Reducing stress and mental well being is the prime responsibility of an individual but organizations and leaders can do their part to help both themselves and their employees.
What Organizations can do?
Responsible organizations can ensure that their employees do not suffer from stress overload and heavy work fatigue. This can be done by ensuring that the culture of the organizations encourages a Work/ Life Balance and does not penalize employees for leaving work on time. If there are expectations for employees to be on call 24/7, this should be monitored and managed.
How Leaders can Enable Higher Productivity
If you are a leader of an organization or a team, you can help your employees by being cautious in your use of email and messaging. Give your employees the space and time to relax, by not sending out emails or messages late in the night. Wait till the next morning. Ask your team members to do the same. This will discourage the culture of always being logged on and employees will come to work refreshed after a good night’s sleep and some time off.
Deep relaxation is different from just hanging out with friends, playing a sport, having a beer or sleeping. It is a state where you consciously allow each and every part of your body and mind to go into a state of ease while remaining awake. All muscles need to be fully relaxed and the mind should be calm, reducing the speed of thoughts as much as possible.
Benefits of Deep Relaxation:
- Better mental health leading to higher creativity, productivity and intelligence
- Higher ability to focus / better attention span/ Greater motivation
- Emotional Upliftment, Joie de Vivre
- Longevity – Yes! Ability to relax has a lot to do with how long you will live.
- Peak physical health
- Higher change of reaching your highest potential
To check your current ability to relax, do the following:
1. Check your resting breath rate - to do this, sit upright with your eyes open and count the number of breaths in three minutes. (Short option one minute) Don’t effort in the process, just observe. A deep relaxation state is 3-6 breaths a minute.
2. Try to focus on your breath and count to 30 breaths with one count being one complete inhale and exhale. See how far you reach with the count, before your mind gets distracted with thoughts – The closer to thirty the greater your ability to focus and therefore also greater the ability to relax.
3. Lie down with eyes closed, and try to deaden your body to the floor/ bed. Try to let go of all tightness in all muscles in the body. Observe how easy or tough this process is. Are you able to fully relax all your muscles and be completely still?
There are different ways, that you can learn to relax. However the ability to go into a deeply relaxed state of being on call, takes some effort and practice. It is about training both the body and the mind. Yoga, Tai Chi, Energy work helps, as do Breathing practices (Pranayama), Yoga Nidra and Meditation.
If you require some help creating a Deep Relaxation Curriculum, please contact me for a consultation or a session here.
Deep Relaxation is important, healthy and rejuvenating!