As I was driving on the motorway the other day, overtaking a huge lorry with my little car, I suddenly realised I was very tense on the stirring wheel and my body was leaning forward as if trying to overtake the lorry with my body and not with my car! As I noticed, I laughed at myself and rectified my position, leaning back, breathing normally and relaxing my hands, arms and shoulders. And, guess what, I overtook the lorry just as well!
Have you noticed how much we tend to do that? We are putting a lot of energy and physical tension into something that does not need it. We are getting tense as we are waiting for our computer to start or respond, we are tensing our back muscles, our shoulders and neck as we are working at our desk, our whole body tenses up as we are waiting for something to happen… Just like when we were children and our jaw was absent-mindedly munching away as we were cutting something with scissors. Maybe for instance, we are waiting in a queue and our body is getting all rigid. We do need some energy in our muscles to be standing up without falling on the floor but do we need that much? If we make a habit of using twice as much energy as we need in everything we do, how much is going to be left at the end of the day? Not to mention the build-up of tensions that can lead to actual physical pain if we do this constantly!
Absent-mindedness is the key word here I think. What we need is to be a bit more aware of what we are doing. If we sense how tense our body or part of our body is and the amount of actual tension or energy we would actually need to do what we are doing, it is then easier to try and relax those muscles. Hence the “relax in the doing”. I like that expression as it is easy to keep in mind and remind ourselves several times a day.
So, next time you are waiting impatiently and finding yourself tensing up, think about it: how much energy do you actually need? Breathe, relax and realise how much more energy you are actually saving for later, a good way to stay bright and alert until the end of the day!