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Relax and Make Some Space

By Elizabeth Irvine, BSN

In this day of surviving on cell phones, emails anywhere and double espressos, the constant stimuli never allows life to slow down. Multi-tasking is our middle name and this leads us to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. How can one relieve stress and replace it with balance and well being? It begins with small steps. One of those steps is dedicating a small amount of time every day to relaxation.

Why should I practice relaxation?

Maybe you are thinking: how can fifteen minutes of "trying to relax" do me any good? But the truth is, the simple act of dedicating a small piece of each day to relaxation can pay back in huge dividends.

Creating some space in your reservoir

Our body is just like a reservoir. Life presents us with many different conditions that can affect our reservoir's "level." For example, stress-free, sunny days, along with a healthy diet, keep us well below our dam's breaking point. But gloomy, stress-filled days surviving on junk food can quickly fill us to the brim, where it takes just one little thing for the dam to break. And when the dam spills over, the symptoms we manifest might be an emotional outburst, a physical pain or worse.

Living in a place of capacity

Become aware of creating ways to "lower" your own personal reservoir, or staying in a place of capacity. You can create a buffer around yourself, allowing room to maneuver a little more gracefully through life. Keeping some space in our reservoir leaves room for the “unexpected” and therefore keeps us physically and emotionally in a good, healthy place.

Creating a buffer

An example I like to use as a metaphor for creating a buffer, or a place of capacity around us, is the story of my twin sixteen-year-old daughters and their learning to drive. It goes like this: while venturing out onto one of Houston’s busy freeways, I noticed a nervous wave of emotion surging through me. My daughter, who only recently had received her driver’s permit, was behind wheel, merging into six crowded lanes of speeding traffic. I focused on staying calm while instructing her to leave plenty of space around our car and the cars on every side of us. Though obvious to me, the importance of leaving ample room to maneuver was still a fairly new concept to an inexperienced motorist. We managed to make our way safely on and off the freeway that day, perhaps both of us more aware of the importance of creating enough space around us to leave room for the unexpected in all areas of our lives.

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