To achieve a balanced life we must ensure that the expended energy of existing in a fast moving world is countered with time spent relaxing to re-charge those batteries. The word relaxation within the wonderfully complex English language, however, could be interpreted in different ways.
Many would consider activities such as sporting pursuits or evenings out with friends as relaxation. In Chinese medicine terms however I would describe this as “enjoying yourself”. Though this may seem like nit picking over language, there is a distinct difference particularly in what we are setting out to achieve. Remember, this is about balancing Yang (fast moving, active energetic such as working or even playing hard) with Yin (slow moving, passive and reflective such as meditation, mindfullness or quiet contemplation and proper rest).
Ideally I would advocate at least a short amount of time each day in an absolute state of relaxation, such as when meditating, avoiding any type of stimulation and instead allowing the body time to recharge. In addition, time spent walking, doing simple Qi Gong or Tai Chi exercise, reading or listening to music is a great counter to the highly charged lifestyles most of us find unavoidable in a modern world.
It isn’t just bodily activity we need to consider. Turn the TV off. We may be physically inactive when sitting down to enjoy our favourite shows but most of them are highly mentally stimulating.
This isn’t to say that we must live sedentary lifestyles, withdrawn from the world and shunning socially accepted normality. It is simply a matter of creating balance. In other words, do both.
Start off with realistic goals and build up. If you have never taken time to switch your brain off it will be a challenge. With perseverance however you will achieve your goals and in time come to cherish the moments of peace as well as optimising your personal well being.
If you would like to comment or discuss the contents of this post, please feel free to contact me.