Practice Resting

Practice Resting

On the topic of living life in a meditative way, a skill of top performers is the ability to distinguish between action and inaction. Jim Harbaugh, once a star quarterback, would practice returning to resting rate during games. This is also a classic benefit of meditation. The ability to operate at a really high level and then go back to a resting rate allows the body to recover to begin again. 

Jim Harbaugh describes himself as a very competitive person and when he played on offense as a quarterback, he was on and active the whole time. Then, when the defense was on the field, he had to learn how to relax and sit on the bench. His natural tendency was to cheer for the defense and be screaming the whole time; but he had to learn how to calm down in between his periods of action. 

If you watch quarterbacks in the NFL, they all seem to know this now. They will sit and read through their notes, look at plays, and relax during the normal course of their time on the bench. Some players will go put a towel on their heads and take it easy, so that they can be prepared to go out there again.

​If we apply this to our day, we can distinguish between periods of action and inaction. For instance, if you’re really busy in a meeting and you have a lot of stress, don’t go from seven AM to seven PM stressed out. Our central nervous systems were not designed to be in a state of fight or flight all day long. 

During every hour, try to use five or ten minutes to relax completely. Even if you have to hide and go somewhere that it’s quiet, it is worth your short and long-term health to give yourself that time. You will return more productive and won’t be so exhausted at the end of the day. If we look at nature, there’s not a full-time summer solstice. There is a winter time and summer time; there is high tide and low tide, waxing and waning. Be patient with yourself and learn how to rest.

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