The Momentum of Our Lives: Can You Relax When You Need To?
This past week I wrapped up a course for medical students I was teaching. The class, in essence is aimed at helping these medical students remain human amidst the rigors and challenges of having a career in medicine. A pitfall of this stab at enrichment is that the class is positioned in the heart of a medical student's most stressful time, right before their first huge board exam. The pressure in preparation for this long and difficult exam is tremendous with any detail covered in their last two years of training fair game. As this class ended, the students turned in a papers and grading them, I was struck by one student's analysis of his current state. He wrote, "I have gathered so much in working toward my goals that the thought of slowing down to relax is impossible." I thought about how profound his statement was, not only for his life, but for most of our lives as well.
Chasing the Wind
There once was a young man, a promising student. He worked hard, telling himself that when he finished school and secured a job he would enjoy peace in his mind. But when he got a job, the demands consumed him. He told himself that when he retired he would enjoy peace. Retirement came and he was unable to find peace. As his days on earth came to an end, he longed for death when he might finally find peace.
How many times do we push things off to the next horizon? This goes for any change in behavior - eating better, smoking, finding balance. While it may seem simple, it's particularly difficult to establish a good amount of peace, balance, and relaxation, because it requires a complete change in the momentum with which we are normally moving.
Most of us can work hard and play hard, but we cannot follow suit with relaxing hard when it is needed in our lives. While it is possible to change gears more deliberately, it truly takes training and practice. Most of us need to ease into these restful, rejuvenating times. Identifying fundamental barriers to finding peace is important as a means to break through.
Are you always short on time?
Are you trapped by debt or a stressful job?
Do you feel driven to acquire possessions or wealth to find happiness?
While such barriers can seem like a runaway train, waiting for things to stop can leave people bewildered amidst the chaos. Finding ways to relax and acquire peace during challenging tines, even little doses, can improve perspective and functioning.
Practice makes perfect. Training in relaxation can help to achieve peace. Relaxation techniques and coaching can help for those who do not come by this naturally. This may come through meditation, prayer, Tai Chi, yoga, running or anything that matches your needs. Revisiting such a practice regularly prevents that runaway train from gaining too much momentum.