“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lou Holtz
Over the last few months, my friend and I have been preparing to present a Stress Management course to 800+ people across 16 different sessions at the 5th largest Accounting Firm in the entire world. We have spent countless hours creating the material, rehearsing our roles, and relentlessly refining the course. This past week, I found myself unbalanced and full of stress and anxiety as I poured more and more of my time and sanity into perfecting the course. This is ironic and unintentionally humorous because the intention of the course is to help decrease stress, not increase it…
For many of us, overwork is a normal part of life. Our culture applauds the value of achieving, producing, and doing. We rush from one activity to the next and if we have a brief pause in between, our instinct is to fill it with something productive. Otherwise, we feel guilty or shameful. In this world-view, relaxation is a treat, a rare gift we give ourselves. For many of us, this hectic lifestyle influences our well-being and happiness. When we can find a healthy equilibrium between work and play, we allow ourselves to discover a deeper sense of fulfillment and happiness. But How?!
Work and productivity are commendable, but hard work will not make us happy unless balanced with exuberant rest, carefree play, and jubilant love. One of the wonderful things about making time for stillness or meditation is that it reminds us to create balance. As we learn to listen deeply, we start to nurture an instinct for balance. We realize that to enjoy life, we often need to ease our pace. Perhaps that means adjusting priorities, replacing activities that don’t bring us joy, or making time for people who make us laugh. With a few minutes of mindful breathing each day, we strengthen our awareness for what serves us and what does not. Creating balance begins when we pay careful attention to our minds, bodies, and hearts. By doing this, we become aware of our deeper motivations, desires, and needs. If this is difficult for you, simply begin with a few minutes a day. Breathe, tune in, and listen. Let the balance of each inhale and exhale guide you to a calm and peaceful state that spills over to every facet of your life.
Personally, I use the Calm phone application every day of my life. This was the #1 rated App on ITunes last year and is great for enhancing sleep, focus, relaxation and stillness! You even get a free week just for signing up! Other great relaxation or meditation applications include Waking Up and Headspace. It is also worth mentioning that currently, Headspace is 40% off for an entire year! This offer expires on August 12, 2019. I am in no way affiliated with any of the aforementioned applications. I simply want to share these with everybody here because this practice has made a gigantic impact on my life and I am confident it will on yours as well!
Enjoy what comes of today!