Traditionally summer has been a time to get away from the 3-R’s — you know — the ones associated with school.
But this summer I am suggesting you take time to experience three of the R’s associated with Recovery. Typically when someone says they are in “recovery” we think they have had a physical disability or a drug problem. But recovery is a vital part of optimizing Human Performance and is something we must all do to stay in the perfect balance our creator gave us the ability to experience.
The 3-R’s of Recovery are:
We will briefly explore each.
The word “relax” is possibly misused in our culture more often than it is appropriately used. This comes from a basic misunderstanding of what it means to relax. Actual, authentic, genuine relaxation has some basic characteristics. Become familiar with these characteristics of relaxation and you will be better able to decide if something is truly relaxing or not.
Characteristics of relaxation include:
·slower heart rate
·slower breathing rate
·reduced blood pressure
·reduced muscular tension
Many people do things that they believe help them “relax.” Eating chocolate and smoking are two that frequently make the list of so-called stress relievers, but let’s think about these for just a moment. Chocolate is high in sugar and also contains caffeine, and results in speeding metabolism, increasing heart rate, and increasing blood pressure. Chocolate may be a temporary “feel good” food, but it does not provide true relief from stress. Smoking too, is a pseudo stress-reliever. Nicotine is a powerful stimulant that speeds up your heart and metabolism, increases blood pressure, not to mention all of the poison that is dumped into your body.
True methods for relaxing include regular:
- meditation and prayer
- slow, deep breathing for several minutes
- “tuning in” to nature (the creator’s world) – watching sunsets (or sunrises), trees, birds, gently moving water, etc.
Hopefully you will learn to relax well enough so that you can experience the next phase of Recovery.
Once we learn to relax, rest becomes possible. Sleep is certainly possible without relaxing, but learning to relax is vital to rest. Each of us has experienced awakening from a night of sleep still feeling unrested. Being restless during sleep comes from holding onto worry, stress, and tension — from not knowing how to “let go.” Deep, peaceful rest is only possible with true relaxation. If you consistently wake up tired and never feel rested, you may have something physically wrong — get things checked out with your physician. But more likely, you are stressed and having trouble relaxing. This means you are normal because our culture doesn’t teach us to relax as we grow and mature. Check with a Behavioral Medicine Specialist in your area for help in learning how to relax your body so that you can gain the rejuvenating effects of rest. Learn to “Let Go and Let God.”
Restoration requires balance in all areas of life — mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Add to these the areas of balancing our family lives and careers. Most of us are familiar with using the term “restore” in reference to furniture or automobiles. It means to make like new, to repair, to reconstruct. How do we participate in our own restoration?
We begin to work with the Creator’s plan for our lives. We have free-will and the ability to choose, and part of that choice is whether or not we are in relationship with our Creator. When we make this choice we address the one area that is most often neglected by those trying to manage stress in their lives — the area of the spirit. Remember Psalm 23, especially verse 3 — “He restores my soul.” This is work that God is willing to do on our behalf — IF we allow God to do it.
Recovery is a process in which we participate with our Creator to optimize our lives and our ability to perform as human beings. Recovery includes relaxing, resting, and restoring the vital nature that is part of our design. Learning to recover is a way that we participate with our Creator in maintaining the wonderful body with which we have been blessed. Are you in recovery?
Remember to be good to you!
Copyright © 2013 by Gary L. Flegal, Ph.D.
•Dr. Gary Flegal is a Behavioral Medicine and Health Specialist with a doctorate in “Health Education and Human Performance” from Michigan State University. He is an exciting and accomplished presenter and keynote speaker, presenting seminars for groups and companies on location and at conventions. His advanced training in stress management came to him while working in affiliation with the original Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard under the direction of Herbert Benson, M.D. and his staff. In addition to corporate presentations, Dr. Flegal keeps a busy schedule working with individual clients for a variety of stress-related issues, including anger management, quitting smoking, learning to relax and manage stress, and learning self-hypnosis.
Dr. Flegal’s other passion is magic. He has been a professional magician for over 30 years and continues practicing his art at every opportunity. These two passions work together beautifully as he illustrates stress management concepts with fun, visual, and “magical” demonstrations in his stress management workshops and seminars. It also allows him to share stress management with his magic audiences wherever he goes because “Laughter is the Best Medicine!” Gary is a Reiki Master and a Certified Consulting Hypnotist, certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists.
Dr. Flegal’s specialties include stress management, anger management, positive behavior change, insomnia, smoking cessation, and exercise physiology. For individual appointments, speaking engagements, or more information, contact Gary at Professional Stress Management Services in Nashville, Tennessee, at (615)812-7280 or through his Web site: www.GaryFlegal.com.