You would think people would take any chance they get to relax. But many people feel that they don't relax enough - "relax more" is a popular New Year's resolution. How many times have you found yourself wishing that you took more time to "smell the flowers" and less time on the go-go-go? And yet the problem with deciding to be less busy is that, well, we all have too many things to do. And then, when we do have time to relax, we tend to collapse in front of the TV. And somehow, even if we use up a whole evening watching TV, we still don't feel like we get enough relaxation.
This is at least in part because relaxation is not just "not doing anything." It's a state of bodily relief, of reduced tension, and of calmness. You will be able to relax better if you're healthier - which includes eating right and exercising. Far from being the opposite of relaxation, exercise is an important key to it. So, in fact, "vegging out" in front of the TV with pop and chips is not really the best way to relax at all - especially not if it's the only thing you do to relax. If you want to relax more, the first steps you should take are to eat right and exercise more - see the corresponding sections in this health feature.
There are several other things you can do to increase the benefit you get from relaxation. Here are some suggestions:
The more you do things that actively release stress and tension, the less you will feel a need to "veg out" - and the less you may want to try to take shortcuts to relaxation with the aid of alcohol or tobacco.
Part of the problem for many people is that they think of relaxation as "filler," something of no actual importance - an absence of activity. But relaxation is very important. People work long, hard hours just so they can afford to relax later on - and then they don't get around to it. Schedule some time in to relax. Give it a priority on your list of things to do, and don't let other things bump it out of place. Remember: it's not "doing nothing." It's recharging your batteries!
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