Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Relax..Take it Easy

I was listening to the classic album, 'The Grand Illusion' by Styx the other day and when the song 'Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)' came on, the beginning lines of the song struck a chord with me.

In it, Tommy Shaw sings, "relax...take it easy" and that got me thinking about how many of us sabotage our lives with stress, anxiety and impatience.

The constant barrage of stimuli that we face every day is causing sensory overload. We have a million and one things to do and only enough hours in the day to do a thousand of them. No wonder so many kids have ADD. If the adults have trouble coping and processing, throw in the Ipods, video games and whatnot that youngsters are involved in and you begin to understand why kids have such a short attention span.

The problem with all this stress, anxiety and impatience is twofold - it's bad for our health and it cripples our ability to focus.

Without focus we are lost. For anyone to be successful they must have concentration. Controlled focus is the ability to lock on to a task or target and keep with it until the task is completed or the target is reached. Proper focus is elimination of all distractions with singlemindedness towards a chosen goal.

There's no need for me to mention the health issue - we all know by now what stress does to the body. New studies have come out proving that high stress levels can actually cause the brain to shrink! High anxiety and stress can kill brain cells as well as wreak havoc all through the body.

This is an age of mass consumption. I want it all and I want it now is the battle cry. It's a philosophy that has no direct connection to reality, which is why we have anguish, despair, depression and people in massive amounts of debt they'll never be able to get out of.

Life doesn't work that way. Look at nature. A seed falls to the ground, in time it becomes a tree or a plant and then the cycle starts all over again. But notice, the seed doesn't become a full-grown tree overnight. It takes years and years before it blossoms to maturity. All the secrets of life are in that tree. Learn it's lessons and become wiser for it.

Plant your seeds (your goals), watch over them (focus), care for them (action) and in due time, with due diligence - the completed goals are materialized and accomplished.

Stress and anxiety breed impatience. Impatience causes lack of focus and that in turn causes indecision. Indecision leads to even more stress and anxiety, which of course can grow into fear, doubt and depression.

Learn to prioritize. Make a list of the important tasks of the day. If it's not on the list - don't do it. If it is, don't let the day fade away without completing it. Many of us waste our time on trivial matters, while more important areas of our lives suffer neglect. Don't let this happen to you.

Decide on a course and stay with it. Know in your heart that what you truly desire is coming to you and be patient for its arrival. You desires will come, but in their own sweet time. Just keep focusing on what you want and take continuous action to make it happen. Learn patience. If you're impatient and want it to soon, if you try to hard to grasp for the brass ring - you may fall and lose it all.

Deep down in our souls, we know what's important and what isn't. Spending time with loved ones - important. Spending time watching TV and ignoring our loved ones - not important. Focusing on areas that can make you more successful - important. Spending your time reading the latest celebrity gossip - not important.

It's easy to prioritize once your focused. Keep your mind on the things you want and off the things you don't want.

You can't possibly be at your best when under stress, so take some solid advice from a classic rock song - "relax...take it easy." And watch what a difference it can make in your life.

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