These days many people have trouble finding ways to relax. We often contribute this to societies pressures. After all, things like job security, family relations, dating and love and geopolitical developments have all become a little bit less secure. Sometimes for real and sometimes in our perception. But there is more to relaxation that meets the eye.
Let’s discuss three mayor insights on relaxation that can increase our overall wellbeing. The first is a sense of (in)security. The second is technology that reduces relaxation. And the third is the many benefits of reaching a relaxed state of flow.
Let’s start with security. For many of us, the world has become less secure. Job security – essential for our survival – has reduced due to rapid business changes or things like Big Data and robotics. Relationships are also less secure and family structures are changing. The news doesn’t help us much either with all of its doom and gloom.
What we need to do is re-find our ways to distinguish between real and perceived insecurities. In our behaviour we can often find a paradox. If the insecurity is real, most of the time we know how to deal with it. But if it is only perceived – fuelled by the many expectations of modern society – they become illusive, increasing our stress levels.
This brings us to the second relaxation killer: technology. The simple practice of looking at a screen at night already scrambles your sleep hormone levels. Mixed with the countless signals that tell us how to live a ‘successful’ life can fuel unhealthy expectations. Here the message is to limit and control your use of technology, greatly increasing your ability to relax.
We are only scratching the surface here. In Restart we call it ‘noise’; the constant flow of information coming towards us, distracting us and reducing our focus. To combat this we can offer a new, more positive approach focused on relaxation.
In psychology there is something known as ‘state of flow’: a fully relaxed state of the mind resulting in absolute focus and tremendously high creativity. Great doctors, musicians, yogi and writers and the lot reach this often. The trick is to teach us to relax under pressure. Here is what we suggest:
Instead of only focussing on the negative consequences of disconnecting with technology we can also focus more on the positive effects of total relaxation: focus, control, productivity and creativity. This gives an extra incentive to change your technological habits. Not only do you prevent things like burnout but you also increase your work output, ultimately resulting in more wellbeing.
Rogier van Kralingen is a Dutch writer, speaker and musician with extensive experience in the business world. He is a three-time nominee and one time winner of the Dutch Innovation Literature Awards (PIM Award) and owns media production company The Whole Story.
Relevant work:Restart (on burnout - English) - buy bookThe Outerweb (on the future of the Internet - Dutch) - buy book
More books:De Groeimotor (on innovation - Dutch) - buy bookEmotional Innovation (on business values and emotions - Dutch) - buy book
Read more articles by Rogier:
- Restart your wellbeing- Reaching a state of company flow- Burnout recovery - podcast transcript