Overcoming relaxation anxiety is possible with a few simple changes
It?s been a stressful day at work. Estimates came in high, projects were overdue and three key people called in sick just in time for the big meeting. All the way home, all you could think about was relaxing and leaving the tension of the day behind you.
But somehow, when you finally got in the door, that long-anticipated relaxation didn?t happen. Your muscles were tight, your mind was racing. So what?s up? Experts call it relaxation anxiety. Your mind and body were so wound up that any hope of relaxation seemed impossible. So you took a drink or two, maybe a tranquilizer and fell asleep in front of the TV, exhausted but never really relaxed.
The problem behind relaxation anxiety
In our stressful workday world, we are expected to be ?on? all day long. Down time is looked upon as wasteful. Even lunch time and break time are part of the work day, with working lunches and mini-meetings over coffee in the break room. The result? We have trained our minds and our bodies to never relax.
The solution is out there?
?or rather in there. In you. Despite the years or maybe even decades of training your body to remain on high alert, somewhere deep within you remains the ability to relax. The trick is to tap into that knowledge.
Start by not trying to relax
If you have tried forcing yourself to relax (or sleep) through sheer force of will, you know what the result will be. Failure. More stress. Less relaxation. Classic relaxation anxiety sets in, and your mind is off and racing. That?s because rest isn?t something we can force?it?s a process.
Set the stage
Now that you have removed the imperative to relax, start by setting the stage. An hour before you?re ready to leave work, make some changes. Put on some soft jazz or classical music. Save a favorite project for the end of the day, so your day ends on a positive note. But remember, you are not trying to relax..that only leads to relaxation anxiety. Instead, you are just re-designing your day?s end.
Change your drive
Instead of focusing on everything you need to do at home or anything that happened at work (and I do mean anything), put in a soothing CD and look around while you drive. Notice the color of the sky or the way the trees look. Instead of seeing the other drivers as competitors for road, start looking at them as people who are heading home, just like you. No pressure to relax. No mood shifts required. Just looking around with a soothing background soundtrack. Changing the environment takes the pressure off of you. Relaxation anxiety triggers? Nope. Just doing different stuff.
Walk in the door in a new way
When you arrive at your home, spend a moment sitting in your car, looking at the front of your house. See your home as a shelter from the outside world. Picture its walls and roof protecting you from the elements, offering you warmth and safety and a place to sit down quietly.
At home at last
When you enter your home, retain that new perspective you had on your drive. See the rooms with new eyes. If there is clutter or if toys are lying around, see these things as evidence that the people you love also dwell in the house. If dinner is being prepared, allow yourself to feel gratitude that someone is cooking for you. If you will be the one cooking, experience the gratitude for the food you will prepare and the nourishment you will receive.
Relaxation without anxiety
The idea for relieving relaxation anxiety is to take the focus off of trying to force your mind and body into relaxation, and instead focus on changing specific behaviors which will bypass that wall of anxiety and allow relaxation to occur naturally.
Relaxation anxiety is a very real phenomenon in today?s stress-laden world, but with a few simple changes, you can find your way past the blocks and into a healthier, more serene life. These tips are only the beginning. Even so, try them ? the results will amaze you.