Peace of Mind and Body

Mental Fitness, Relaxation

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“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” – Ovid

When I was a teenager, I had a beautiful blue and white Ford Granada. The world became my Garden of Eden the day my mom got me that car. I would drive it across town just to drive it across town. Loved that car. Loved me in that car.

When I drove it to the mall (teen girl=daily), I’d park, like, a mile away so it wouldn’t get hit, scratched, sneezed on, annoyed……Then, on my walk into the mall, I’d glance back at “her” about 20 times, just to see what she looked like sitting there. She’d always be bright and shiny, daily washing and waxing saw to that.

One hideous day, between Prince and Pat Benatar, I could hear a weird noise coming from her bosom (the car’s, not Pat’s).

Teen Joi’s Mind: “If I tell dad, he’ll totally panic and want to take her to the shop or something lame like that. When Mom’s car was in the shop, “he” was gone for a whole week. Screw that! The noise will just go away. It’s not THAT big of a noise….and, here, if I turn Benatar way up, the clump clump grrr goes away…”

Seemed reasonable at the time. It wasn’t. The vehicle of my dreams got worse (go figure) and ultimately spent a month in the shop! Can you imagine how long that month seemed? Suffice to say a lot longer than a week would have been. But the real kicker was, my dad said that the problem my car had could have been taken care of by him, in our own freaking driveway if I had told him the very first day.

There are a heck of a lot of “noises” in our life that we should pay more attention to….as in immediately, BEFORE THEY GET WORSE. A lot of ticking time bombs are walking around, drowning out the ticking noise with other sounds the way I used 80’s music (of course then it was just music) on the radio.

Stress builds the time bombs and ignoring the sounds of stress could be a fatal mistake.

The tough part is that most people fail to realize they’re ticking! Sure, they may hear it initially, but they become experts at “turning up the radio” and ignoring it.

Big mistake. One you could pay for with a heart-related illness, a breakdown, or even death. Please read the questions below and, if you recognize yourself in any of them, make relaxation a priority – carve out more time in your day to totally relax and unwind.

1. When you are away from work, are the majority of your thoughts ABOUT work?

2. When you lie down at night, barring an uncomfortable bed or barking dog, are you able to drift off to sleep in under 30 minutes?

3. Do you bite people’s heads off for no apparent reason?

4. Upon waking in the morning, do you feel fully rested and ready to face the day or is your first response to pull the covers over your head and make the day wait.

5. Do you think to yourself several times during the day, “I’m exhausted!”

6. Do the slightest noises annoy you?

7. Are things you once did with ease becoming difficult? Do you even ask yourself, “What’s wrong with me?!”

8. Is it difficult for you to speak or make conversation? Is it as though you simply have nothing you care to say?

These questions, rather the answers TO these questions, can shine a light on your stress level. If you answered more than a few out of the “healthy” norm, own up to the fact that you’re HUMAN – a human who just needs to rest and relax more. If it makes you feel any better, it’s usually the people who are doing the most and living the loudest who are at risk. You’re a “go-getter” who just needs a break before going after any more gets.

I’d wager to say that in this day and time, not many of us could get through all 8 questions in a manner that’d make a doctor grin. Also, something I’ve found is that, your answers will vary from week to week – so frequently ask yourself the questions and look for a trend.

It all comes down to taking the time to “look under your hood” and addressing any problems before it’s too late. It’s worth noting that a few of the questions/answers could point toward depression, which is nothing if not stressful. Again, just take a long honest look at yourself and at your life.

Imagine the person closest to you. If THEY led YOUR lifestyle would you be okay with that, or would you tell them to slow down before they break down. Now, realize how your lifestyle affects them, and ask yourself where they’d be without you. If you won’t take care of yourself for you, I’d be willing to bet you’d do it for them.

For the next week, each post will be about relaxation, quieting the noises of life, dealing with stress, etc. Even if you aren’t in dire need of mental repose, you could only improve your life with a little more relaxation.

One final test: Take note right now of your facial muscles. Are your teeth clinched as you’re reading or is there space between them? Is your jaw relaxed or tense? If they’re clinced and tense, go to the Relaxation category (from the links at the left) and look for the post titled, “A great relaxation exercise”.

This has, I realize been a long post, but this is a very important subject and I didn’t want to rush through it. You’re too important for that.

“Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important.” – Natalie Goldberg in O Magazine.

Make every nap count double!
~ Joi

P.S. The blue and white granada from my mom is long gone and it’s place in my heart has been filled with a beautiful snow-white Dodge. My husband got it for me for my birthday a few years back. I park her far away from potential harm as well, and glance back to see the sun shining off of her. (Of course, trips to the mall are outnumbered by trips to the grocery store these days as I’m more about eating than cruising at this point.)

Learning from past mistakes, I now go to the extreme of reporting every wheeze “she” has. That may seem overly observant, but when you care about something, it’s ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS better safe than sorry. And if it’s true of a vehicle, how true must it be of a human being?

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