The Value of Rest for Your Success

Written by Machen MacDonald

Are you overscheduled? Obsessing about your career? Fantasizing about lolling on an exotic island beach? You may be overdue for some rest. As the pace of modern life accelerates, the need for, and the value of rest sometimes gets pushed to the bottom of our priority list. Often, rest is exactly what we need to perform at our peak.

The Value of Rest

Rest is essential for your physical and emotional well-being. It dissipates the pressures that build up in your mind and body and is vital to the immune system. Thus, rest is even more essential when you lead a high-stress life or are passing through stressful circumstances.

With a well-rested mind and body, you feel centered and balanced. Instead of having to “push the river,” as you do when you’re overextended, you are once more in the flow, creative, and at ease. And more productive.

Become Aware of the Warning Signs

The need to rest always announces itself: the stubbed toe, the dropped pile of papers, the missed appointment. Heed these early-warning signs and find ways to release tension before it builds to irritability, anxiety, and, eventually, lack of productivity.

Tips for a Restful (and Truly Successful) Life

Sleep, of course, is the most essential way to recharge the mind and body through rest. Here are some other suggestions:

  • Use breaks effectively. Do take breaks! Even one minute with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath, can recharge you. Take five minutes to visualize the success of your current project. Keep a mini-trampoline, or other exercise equipment, in your workplace. Refreshing yourself with exercise can have as much value, and be as helpful, as a nap.
  • Find time to play. Turn “recreation” into “re-creation.” Gather some friends to play board games or soccer, or to sing. Find activities that create laughter, which benefits emotional and physical health.
  • Stay mindful — nurture ongoing restfulness. When we become tense, we tend to breathe shallowly. Train yourself to be aware of your breath — while on the phone or computer, in your car, or while simply waiting for something. Learn relaxation skills that support your well-being, such as deep breathing and guided imagery. The value of these mind/body techniques helps you do everything more restfully. Notice the demands you place upon yourself and others, and stop pushing so hard. Let what you do be fun.
  • Spend time in silence. Seventeenth-century statesman William Penn wrote, “True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body.” Meditation is a valuable way to rest the mind and body and restore balance.
  • And, finally…do something new. As the old adage says, “A change is as good as a rest.” Do something you haven’t done for a long time: visit the zoo, rent a kayak, or have lunch in a neighboring town. When you do something new, you open yourself to insight, inspiration, and guidance.
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