#3 RELAX PROACTIVELY

Happiness Choice #3 - Relax Proactively -  'Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.'

THE BUSYNESS OF LIFE

Life has a habit of speeding up and stressing us out. We are always so busy and our timetables are so full. We seem to be on the go from the moment our alarm goes off in the morning until the time we crawl back into bed at the end of a long, tiring day. Stress and busyness are two of the biggest killers of happiness - they stop us pausing and appreciating the moment. They hustle and harrass us and we are left feeling wilted and drained instead of cheerful and on top of things.

REMINDING OURSELVES TO RELAX

We don't need to be reminded to step up and get on with all the things on our to-do list but maybe we need to remind ourselves to take a break from all those commitments and stop and smell the roses for a minute here and there. Remembering to take some time out of our busy schedules to just relax and re-connect with ourselves can make all the difference when it comes to feeling a sense of happiness. 

It's also not about stopping one thing to take on another - that's just trading one hat for a different one and still being busy. Truly relaxing is when we step out of our daily routines and do something that calms our busy minds, relaxes our stressed bodies, or just generally helps us unwind from the relentlessness of our day to day lives. 


Happiness Choice #3 - Relax Proactively -  'Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.'

LA DOLCE FAR NIENTE

When we relax we stop thinking about what is still to be done, we stop juggling all our commitments, and we take a breath and focus on the "now". It's an opportunity to be still and to calm our minds and hearts and souls and let a little bit of refreshment creep in.

The Italians have a concept for doing this - it's about living in the moment and savouring the sweetness of life - it's known as “La Dolce Far Niente,” which means - the sweetness of doing nothing. It's something you actively focus on and don't feel guilty about. It can be sitting and reading a book, or staring out the window, or drinking coffee on your balcony, or listening to your favorite music. It can be taking time to stretch, to meditate, to lounge, or even to take a nap.

EAT PRAY LOVE

Elizabeth Gilbert came across this concept when she lived in Italy and wrote about it in her best selling book "Eat Pray Love" and it was also included in the movie with Julia Roberts playing the role of Elizabeth. I've included a little snippet with the Italians explaining the idea of actively doing nothing to an incredulous Julia.



PROACTIVE RELAXING

In the good old days people didn't need to be told how to relax. They worked a normal work schedule and then came home to their families. There was no computer, mobile phone, internet, social media, Netflix, online gaming etc. There was just time to chill out - maybe watch a little bit of television (on the limited channels available) and lots of time to chat, or read, or eat together, or whatever took their fancy.

Now we are "on" all the time - we barely slow down long enough to get a decent amount of sleep - and I won't even get started on how many of us sleep poorly these days! I think it's time to take a leaf out of the previous generation's book and slow ourselves down and take time out to give our brains a rest and allow our Serotonin levels to build back up again. It's really hard to be happy if you are tired, drained and over-stressed, we need to actively remind ourselves to stop and breathe and rest and relax before we burn ourselves out or end up miserable.

Let's make a conscious effort in this Month Of Happiness Choices to take some time for ourselves to tune out of the hustle and bustle of our busy world and to tune in to some peace and quiet - and ultimately some happiness.

Happiness Choice #3 - Relax Proactively -  'Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.'

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28 comments

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    1. Thanks so much Dee Dee - and thanks for following my Facebook page too - much appreciated x

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  2. I love this title - it seems like a contradiction of terms, but it perfectly presents the message: we need to force ourselves to step back, relax, breathe...I remember Sunday afternoons on my grandparents' farm when neighbors would stop by on Sunday drive and visit over a glass of iced tea.Everyone would gather on the lawn and play games, do cartwheels, and just have fun being together. Your post reminded me of a simpler time but also that I need to make it a point to create those times in my life.

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    1. We don't tend to do that family relaxation thing as much these days do we Melody? It might be because our family is so spread out, but I must say that I miss that sitting around on a warm Summer evening just chatting and watching the kids play silly games.

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  3. I used to be good at la dolce far niente but not so much these days. But I'm going to be taking more Carol time soon.
    Carol Cassara

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    1. You've had a very busy season with starting your new business venture Carol - I'm sure when it's all settled down you'll have more time to chill out.

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  4. The sweetness of doing nothing. Something I need to aspire more towards, I think. Thanks for sparking some self reflection with today's post, Leanne.

    SSG xxx

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    1. I saw you drinking tea in your backyard on your blog so you must have done a little bit of relaxing - mind you all that gardening meant it was a well deserved break!

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  5. So true Leanne - we need to relax more! Why do we seem to think we need to earn the right to relax? So silly because we need to have regular relaxation for our own wellbeing. I do think that this technological age is fab but gee whiz it means we are switched on ALL the time and rarely do we relax properly. I was making a point of trying to meditate each day but this has lapsed. I need to try and get back into that. I have however taken up some crochet and that has helped enormously for me to switch off. #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I've been doing some really easy knitting Min and that has helped me tune out a bit too. I get very caught up with stuff on my laptop - even watching too much catch-up TV on it! Turning off and tuning out is definitely a big thing for me too.

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  6. I'm a big believer in the "sweetness of doing nothing". I've yet to persuade the hubster though! He is pretty hard on himself and always GO GO GO. No wonder he falls asleep in front of the TV most nights ...

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    1. My husband is really useless at doing nothing too Janet - he seems to have a need to fill every waking moment with work or with a task - not sure how to slow him down either.

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  7. I think the best piece of advice here is to digitally detox and completely unwind without the noise of TV, video games, Netflix, and constantly being on social media or texting. I think the Italians have it sussed. I like the idea of “La Dolce Far Niente" and relaxing proactively. #TeamLovinLife

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    1. Social media and blogging are the best and the worst things in life aren't they Kathy? We love them, but they're not good for us because we never switch off. I try to turn the laptop off - especially over the weekends so my brain gets a rest.

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  8. I'm not the best at relaxing but sleep is a non negotiable for me. I am a miserable and non functioning person if I don't sleep well, so I make sure I keep a healthy routine in that area.

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    1. Sleep is a joy isn't it Vanessa? There is nothing like waking up after a good night's sleep - and having a late morning get up is just the best!

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  9. What does it mean that I need to schedule my relaxation---LOL!!
    I think it's a genetic trait to feel busy since my mom is sorta the same way! But I do need to relax---thanks for this Leanne!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. I'm getting better at the whole "leisure" thing Jodie - busyness is a killer and I'm finally figuring out that I need down time too (even if I have to schedule it in!)

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  10. Thank you for this important reminder, Leanne. I love the concept of 'la dolce far niente'!

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    1. Seeing you're in Spain (and they're sort of cousins to the Italians) you are probably getting a whole lot of siesta time in Donna - in between all that walking!

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  11. I love that quote Leanne about unplugging! I couldn't agree more about the importance of taking time out to relax. I'm really enjoying your Happiness series. Thanks for linking up at #BloggersPitStop, I've shared on twitter, G+ and Pinterest. Have a great weekend x

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    1. Hi Sue - thanks for all the sharing and I know you work hard at getting the balance right too - physical, mental, sprititual - it all ties together doesn't it?

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  12. We really have forgotten this skill haven't we. It seems counter intuitive to need to work at relaxing but that indeed is what we need to do.

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    1. I think in this day and age we have to work at everything or the busyness distracts us and we don't stop to take a breath. Those good old days were good for many reasons - the pace of life being one of them!

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  13. Thanks Leanne, for linking up and sharing your wisdom with us at #overthemoon. I love your title 'relax proactively' we need to do this more.

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    1. Thanks Sue - and yes, we need to be proactive in a lot of areas of our lives and I think giving ourselves permission to relax is one of them :)

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  14. Terrific post Leanne. The other great thing about the 'good old days' was that the shops closed at 12 noon on Saturday. Everything that you needed to get done by way of grocery shopping and errands had to be completed by this time. The rest of the weekend was devoted to rest, replenishment, family time, or engaging in sports and hobbies. I think that despite today's distractions we can choose how we live, and in particular choose not to be addicted to 'busyness'.

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    1. I hadn't thought about that aspect Jowill - but you're right, shops closed and we fitted things in around normal shopping hours and spent the rest of the time with our family and friends - now there's always something to keep us busy and pulling us to keep going - we need to actively stop ourselves and take time to breathe.

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