Many of us grew up in the 60s and 70s in families that (unconsciously) instilled in us the belief that resting or doing nothing was lazy.
Whilst the pace of life was slower back then, resting and relaxing, except on Sundays, wasn't something that was encouraged or role-modelled on a daily basis.
Fast-forward to today, and thanks largely to a technology-driven world of instant access and gratification, a culture of busy-ness has taken over business and family lives.
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The pressures to be seen as successful, to have more, have the perfect body, fit everything in and keep-up with the latest trends in food, gadgets, holiday destinations or entertainment, are rife.
Whilst there's nothing wrong with wanting to experience all the amazing diversity that life offers, the need to keep-up and keep-doing is exhaustive and having massive impacts on our health and happiness.
Sadly, one of the most common phrases I hear people say when it comes to being able to slow down or relax is "I just can't keep still" or "I can't switch off". This is not just in adults, its also in children and teenagers. And hands-up if you pride yourself on 'being busy.'
We've lost the ability to simply 'be'.
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Unfortunately, despite most of us knowing (on some level) that a frantic pursuit to get everything done isn't good for us, we are still not convinced to take the time-out that we need to.
More than just chilling-out, true relaxation is where our parasympathetic nervous system activates, our breathing rate slows down and we feel a deep sense of contentment and ease. Being in this state allows our body's natural ability to rest, to digest, to regulate and to heal.
Relaxation is crucial for personal well-being, for healthy relationships and for productive, successful workplaces. If you are among the majority of people who are stressed and who don't make relaxation a priority, it may be time to re-evaluate your perspective - and your schedule.
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And if you have children, it is essential that you role-model routines and behaviours that teach them how to relax in healthy ways.
Research shows that many minor and life-threatening illnesses are stress-related, and therefore preventable. Stress, and the lack of regular relaxation, has harmful effects on your body's immune system - everything from catching colds and getting cold sores, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disorders, infertility and chronic anxiety to heart attacks and cancer.
We are each responsible for taking time-out every day so that we can effectively relax.
Natalie Snooke is an experienced Life Coach, Mindful Leadership Coach, Yoga and Meditation Teacher and the founder of Momentum. She specialises in guiding men and women to develop focus, presence, creativity and compassion in their personal and professional lives. She has a background in human resource management and takes a pragmatic yet light-hearted approach to her work.
Natalie Snooke – Image courtesy of Momentum