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Monday, May 23, 2011

Proactive Relaxation

Paul Nguyen is a new addition to The Earth Diet team. He is a certified Consulting Hypnotist and founder of Moodstreams. He is based in eastern Massachusetts, performing personal hypnosis sessions for clients residing in the suburbs of Boston. 

 Over to Paul...

Let's Prelax

Today, I'd like to introduce a concept that may seem foreign to all members of our increasingly Americanized world: The idea of proactive relaxation.

How many times have you heard (or worse, said), "I'm so stressed out, I need to relax", or "I'm totally overwhelmed, I need to relax", with the idea being that the person in question has allowed him/herself to go over the edge of sanity before deciding that finally, now it is time to find some peace. That, my friends, is what I'd call reactive relaxation; identifying that you are already overwhelmed and then responding to that by trying to relax after the fact. If you've found yourself doing this, you might have noted that it is, in fact, quite difficult to then relax.

So I propose this much more appealing alternative: Relaxing before you ever get overstressed or overwhelmed! (Light dawning on Marblehead). We'll thus refer to it as proactive relaxation, or pre-relaxing. In fact, let's go ahead and make a catchy new verb out of this: Prelax.  I just thought of the name earlier today as I was conceiving of today's entry.

The idea of prelaxing is that if you begin the day relaxed, you never get stressed out to begin with, and then you never need to relax afterward. And what could be better than going through your day knowing that you are not going to be perturbed by anything? It's like having a protective shield of "I don't give a darn" surrounding you at all times.

So, how to achieve this wonderful stress-free sheen? Emotional preparation is everything. Start your day with a few quite moments of looking inwardly, eyes closed, breathing gently, and preparing yourself for the various scenarios that might take place that day. Imagine yourself calmly and confidently handling every possible situation that could arise. Use of all your available senses in your imagination to create the situations vividly and live them out in your mind, reacting the way you want to react, and seeing how the outcome is just so much better if you are in control of your emotions. After all, for most of us, we can basically predict what's going to happen in our day with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Let's face it: We're not that interesting. And also be aware that the people who you envision having very interesting lives probably have very routine lives as well. Tom Brady wakes up in the morning and says, "I'm going to throw a football today. Just like yesterday".

So the point is, if you know it's coming, why bother being stressed out about it? If you know your boss is going to throw a load of work at you and that he's going to have unreasonable expectations about how soon he wants it all done, why get upset about that? You've accepted the fact that you're working for this miserable SOB, so you may as well handle it in a way that doesn't further punish you in the process, which is to say, calmly and coolly. So, prepare yourself for the way you want to act in the situations that you will know will arise, and expect to act that way. We all know that expectation is the mother of outcome. And if you begin your day relaxed, you know that you're much more likely to stay relaxed, rather than starting the day already worried about what might be coming down the funnel.

And then once you've gotten the hang of forecasting how your day will go, start to think further into the future. Emotionally prepare yourself for the week, and then the month, and then the year, and so forth, creating positive outcomes for how you will handle every possible situation that could arise. Forecast all kinds of scenarios, from best to worst, and know that you and you alone determine how the situation affects you. Prelaxing, and preparing yourself to respond in a calm and confident manner assures the best possible outcome for even a bad situation. Learn this, and you are on your way to being a master of your own mind.

Paul Nguyen

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1 comment:

  1. Interesting concept! Will try to "prelax" myself next time when I know that there might be a tense situation coming up.