Today we ask that you value relaxation.

Relax.  It is good for you.  Really, it is the best thing for you.

It is strange, but many humans do not know how to relax.  They are incapable of letting themselves deeply unwind.

For many, relaxation is something they regard with suspicion.  It is a sign of virtue to be constantly productive.  Relaxation just means you are lazy.

On a deeper, level people fear that something bad will happen to them the moment they relax.  This is called hypervigilance.  It is a belief that the minute you fully drop your guard and unwind, something terrible will happen.

For most people, this belief is not fully conscious.  But if you’re a person who must constantly be busy and active, if you are restless, and sleep poorly at night, this is a sign of hypervigilance.  There is a part of you that cannot relax fully because it believes something bad will happen you do.

Beliefs that workaholism is a sign of virtue and that relaxation is lazy are really very insane.

If people could relax deeply, a staggering amount of physical and mental health issues would be “cured.”

The human body requires frequent periods of deep rest and relaxation.

You simply cannot experience true mental and physical health unless you allow your body and mind to fully relax on a regular basis.

If you truly understood the connection between the inability to relax and physical and mental illness, you would not take this advice lightly.

Relaxation is absolutely essential to your well-being.  It is not a luxury to be indulged in on rare occasion.  It is as essential to your health as exercise, and a good diet.

This means that even if you exercise and eat well, you will not experience real health unless you also incorporate deep rest and relaxation into your lifestyle.

You can take expensive supplements, eat pure organic food, go to the gym, and do rigorous yoga — but if you cannot relax, you will still experience physical and mental health issues.

We cannot overstate this.

Many people view relaxation as unproductive.  They even resent the basic human need for sleep, seeing it as unproductive, valueless time.  No wonder they do not sleep well!

If people relaxed more, the pharmaceutical industry would be in serious trouble.

So how do you relax?

First of all, acknowledge the value of relaxation.  

Examine your beliefs about what constitutes a good work ethic, and what you consider “lazy.”

And then look at ways you can cultivate more true “down time” into your life.

“Down time” does not happen when you are watching TV, sitting in front of a computer, or checking your phone.  

“Down time” does happen when you meditate, take a nap, cuddle with an animal or young child, or go for a walk outdoors.  Not a rigorous jog, but a walk — where you are present enough to notice the trees and the sky, and hear the birds sing.  

“Down time” happens when you stop and smell the roses.  When your mind is quiet, and you can just be.

This should not only happen when you are on vacation once or twice a year.

For true health, “down time” needs to happen every day.

You may need to schedule down time into your calendar.  

Can you give yourself even twenty minutes a day of quiet, meditative time?  Can you schedule yourself a nap time, as you would for a child you loved and cared for?  

Even just taking a daily twenty minute nap would create a radical health improvement for many people.

Please do not underestimate the value of relaxation.  It is as essential to your well-being as the nutrients in the food you eat.

And if you cannot relax, examine your beliefs around relaxation.  Are they really true?