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Henry Woeltjen

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Improving Your Life: Step 1 - Relax!

For the next few weeks I will be posting some steps I think are necessary to improve your life. Take the journey with me and give me your feedback. Let's build a strategy we can all use to improve our life and the lives of everyone around us!

Step 1 - Relax!

All of us have stories to tell. Some are exciting and full of progress. However, some of us struggle to understand what's going wrong. These posts will be an attempt to facilitate a conversation about progress. We need to move forward. I believe we can help each other do just that.

Step one of this process will be one of the hardest. We all have stress, and sometimes our stress is overwhelming. We need to take a step back and relax! Before our journey begins we must have an open mind. Take a second, sit back, and relax. Feelings of anxiety and stress will only prevent you from moving towards your goals.

What are some things that help you relax? What are your coping mechanisms?

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    Jun 19 2013: Step 1 should be Panic!
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      Jun 19 2013: Nicholas,

      Why is that?
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        Jun 19 2013: As an American, you will come across a phrase "yolo" (you only live once) - which translates into not worrying about the 'moment' and just having fun.

        And although this is my youth's contribution to the English language, in America suicide is third cause of death for under 21. Clearly there is a disconnect between how people philosophize and how people practicalize. The disconnect exist between how we do NOT have a tradition of longevity thinking in the states; we do not have a culture where thinking about your life in 10 years - is cool. So, we (the youth) are already relaxed in the moment, but shouldn't be because the future still needs development (for ourselves and others), so when the future comes we will panic anyways but with far more stress, anxiety and depression.

        Every self-help book you pick up will try to hypnotize (at least mildly) the reader into feeling better, if your mind is focused on the literature (this is a positive psychology tactic). Although I do not feel this is innately wrong to want... Thinking positive can make you delusional.

        "Relaxing" is an act best done after you have panicked, therefore you will appreciate the relaxation more (be able to count your blessings).

        I understand current day desires to try to 'spiritual' with emotions and thoughts, but that is not going to resolve why people kill themselves and are products of depressing environments. These are social issues, not individuals.

        If individuals panicked more often, than society would have to panic less in crisis.

        I'm not worried about individuals as much as the whole of them. We are already in a culture where selfishness and individualization is championed (paradoxically). We need no more of it! We need those who will criticize society constructively, and everyone to accept the criticisms openly.

        We need to Panic because after enough of it, the relaxing step will allow the next panic to be easier to handle. But starting with 'relaxing' is already the paradigm.
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          Jun 19 2013: Nicholas,

          Great post. I don't necessarily agree with the word choice, but I think I get what you are saying. Panic, using your logic, would force the person to act. I don't necessarily agree with that logic, but you may be right.

          Maybe some of us need to panic a little bit. That is definitely an interesting view. Panic can also be the result of failures or undesirable situations. The panic may turn into positive action.

          Great post. I don't necessarily think people should panic. However, I can definitely see where you are going with that.
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          Jun 20 2013: Nicholas and Henry,
          "One of the great difficulties in the new order of thought is that we are likely to indulge in too much theory and too little practice". (Ernest Holmes - The Science of Mind).

          So, I agree Nicholas, with you and Ernest, that sometimes humans do a lot of theorizing and philosophizing, and fail to "practice'.

          I do not agree that panic ("a sudden overpowering fright") is the best motivator. Generally, panic overpowers (with fear) our ability to act.

          We can be well informed without panic. You suggest that a positive attitude may be delusional. Perhaps it depends on the level of understanding and acceptance of the idea? It can be delusional if we simply repeat the mantra...."I have a positive attitued", while on another level we feel panic. If we totally embrace the feeling with confidence, however, it becomes part of us and our honest life experience.
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        Jun 19 2013: My thoughts are simply that if you are not prepared to panic, when you do, you will make more errors.

        Moments of relaxation are rare for most, but they get enjoyed by the fact of their rarity, not by how they just should 'have' the ability to relax.

        A life long party person, often ends up depressed at the end of their life, because they have a lot of "I could of done that better" moments. During these moments, they should 'relax' because it is too late, but to prevent this from happening to my generation... This needs to be more recognized than ideals of meditation, reflection, and/or self improvement. Those ideals will come with the practice of 1. stressing details 2. controlling anxiety and 3. working through depression.

        What is a better life? Is as relative as subjective.. But, health of mind and body seem to be universal enough to start promoting ideas.

        For me, the best way to do that is to constantly reconstruct yourself, always reflecting and always expanding ... This isn't nor should be relaxing right away, the pay off of true self actualization and something of an enlightenment is an effort of panic or stress.

        AND we should definitely be panicking about the protest of the middle east, and S. America
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          Jun 19 2013: Nicholas,

          When a person panics they are not in control. You don't really want to panic about anything. You can have the motivation to progress without ever having to panic.

          In order to reconstruct yourself, you must be able to analyze your current state. This requires focus and a good amount of critical thinking. In a state of panic, neither of them can occur.

          Panicking can cause irrational behavior. This is not what you want. It is not a mind-set that causes us to analyze data critically and often leads to negative consequences. People, in my opinion, do not need to panic more. What we do need is an increase use of critical thinking skills. This can be produced by relaxation, followed by focus and motivation to progress.
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          Jun 20 2013: Nicholas and Henry,
          I agree that we don't need to panic to be motivated.

          If we are preparing ourselves to panic Nicholas, wouldn't we be programming our mind to panic?

          If we, as you insightfully say, are constantly reconstructing ourselves with reflection and expansion of our "self", I see no need for panic and stress. Evaluation of our "self" and information we have gained from the life experience generally provides a stronger foundation of confidence, which, in my opinion, is a better foundation than panic and stress.
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          Jun 20 2013: Panic in pure terms comes down to a fight or flight basic instinct that has much to do with survival and the amygdala part of the brain.

          As such, your responses will be done on the fly and in great haste without much contemplation and or not responded too at all in terms of a frozen in fear paralysis scenario.

          To me people panic mainly thru a lack of knowledge/experience! Everyone also, was young once and life was never meant to be easy, so the angst of youth is pretty well atypical. I remember reading something that was written along the lines of, "Oh the youth of today, the way they dress and their attitude to their elders...." it was written in like 500 AD!

          I was 17 years old when I joined the Army and if it were not for my preparatory training drills for fast roping from helicopters,would have died on my 4th jump from 100feet if I panicked when I came too after being knocked unconscious when I pendulemed back into the helicopter skid with my head. I was probably about 30 feet off the ground (approx 2-3 seconds off the ground) and immediately engaged my breaking drill which no doubt saved my life and any serious injury...save for bruising and maybe a fractured sternum.

          I am somewhat concerned Nicholas by some of your views. Relaxation is not something that should be rare by any stretch of the imagination and neither should one want to be panicking more in their lives as this a sure fire recipe for hypertension, high blood pressure, myo cardial infarction, blood clots on the brain and more!

          Just appreciating a magnificant view, should be relaxing. Having a swim on a hot day. Or even just breathing or having a drink of water and savouring it! : D

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