January Theme of the Month – Relaxing With My Work

relax-with-workTwo weeks ago I did a theme of the week: “More Listening, Less Talking.” It forced me to really listen to what people are saying to me instead of interrupting people before they are done.

My main weakness during that week was that I really wanted to help people finish their sentences because I knew the word that they were trying to use, but couldn’t quite get out.

It was actually a little painful.

I decided to let people have their say and I was amazed by the experience. I tried to open up to each word. It became a meditation. There were a couple of times when I was talking to my Uncle and a friend that I zoned out and I was doing a little too much feeling and not enough listening, but I quickly snapped back so they didn’t even notice.

I realize that the theme of the week is nice, but a couple of readers suggested that I do a monthly theme and break it into focused weeks. So that’s what I’m doing.

Here’s the outline that I’m using…

This month’s theme is relaxing with my work. I notice that I push and pull instead of finding harmony with the present moment.

Let me give you example. Picture me working in front of my computer. I’m writing an email that will hopefully land me a new client. I try to write quickly, but the thoughts aren’t coming fast enough. I just want it to come out smooth and easy.

This isn’t happening.

So I end up writing out weak thoughts. Instead of slowing down, I speed up and it makes me more and more frustrated.

I stop. I growl and go use the bathroom. In the bathroom I’m trying to think of a fresh angle that will wow the future recipient of the email.

This ain’t happening either.

So now I’ve tried pushing myself faster, which didn’t work. I tried pulling myself into a more creative mindset and all I got was even more frustration.

The flow isn’t flowing; it’s blocked up.

That’s why it is so important to deal with our emotions while we work. By learning from our emotions, we can use them as a compass to a happier life.

Too many people want to feel happy, and they think that when they reach a happy state, they’ve done their job. I’m going to argue that they have taken the easy way out.

It’s easy to eat a cookie and feel good, but it’s hard to use our feelings to keep our emotional development moving forward.

Working with Your Emotions

This January’s theme is “Relaxing with My Work.”

I’m going to break down what I need to focus on each week.

Week 1 – Notice My Breathing

The quickest way for a person to gauge his happiness is to watch his breath. If it’s quick, shallow, or labored then my guess is the person is stressed out.

A person who breathes relaxed while working is someone who has plenty of energy, fun, and calmness.

I’m going to keep track of when my breath is labored or relaxed and remind myself to find the sweet harmonious spot that allows my creativity and enjoyment to flourish.

Week 2 – Relax Muscles

My reaction to a lot of my work is to tense my muscles. I’ll tense my neck, jaw, legs, back, and shoulders. I guess that’s most of my muscle parts. 🙂

While working, I’m going to try to notice if a certain muscle is tense, and then I’m going to relax it. Sounds easy, but it’s not. I’ve made the mistake of just relaxing it and then going right back to work. 30 seconds later I’m tense again.

This week, I’m going to focus on relaxing my muscles for 30 seconds after I notice the tension. I really need to focus on retraining how I deal with my frustration.

Week 3 – Be Playful

During this week I’m going to be playful with my tense mind and muscles. Sometimes I get so caught up in trying to be relaxed that it tenses me. I know. It’s the opposite of what I’m trying to accomplish.

This time I’m going to make a joke every time I tense my muscles. My habits won’t go away in a couple of weeks, so learning to laugh at my habits will help me have an easier time encouraging change.

Week 4 – Watch the Changes (AKA celebrate)

The final week I’m going to watch what progress I’ve made or didn’t make. For me this is fun because there is always progress.

This is how I celebrate. I look over the good and bad and find a way to enjoy both.

Why this matters to you

I hope that you will join me on this month long emotional trial. 70% of doctor visits are due to stress. My guess is that you have some stress related symptoms that you are aware or unaware of. We all need to practice relaxing with our work so that we can enjoy more of what we do and improve our results.

By following along, you can hopefully discover what triggers your stress, tension, and frustration and you can have fun with changing these habits.

The more you work with your emotional development, the easier it is to be happier at work.

Do you work with your emotions?

Do you try to set emotional goals to ease frustration, sadness, or whatever emotion seems to bring you down?

Just curious to how you deal with your emotional development.

*Want to build better relationships and enjoy what you do? Then sign up for the 10 Week Work Happy Now eCourse. (Sign up is in the top left corner). You’ll receive a new lesson in your inbox every Monday.

* Marc and Angel wrote a wonderful post called Why We Are Weird. I love the story telling. He forces you to read the whole thing. 🙂

If you enjoyed this post then you will probably like this one too:

What Hidden Emotional Anchors are Holding You Back?

Image courtesy of sokole oko

4 thoughts on “January Theme of the Month – Relaxing With My Work”

  1. A focus on themes is a great way to go. It gives you plenty of time to test and experiment.

    Keep in mind you can use stress to be your best (and don’t mix stress with anxiety — stress is physical, anxiety is cognitive.)

    In other words, you don’t have to relax to actually relax. You can actually use focus and full engagement to find flow … and you can make a game of it.

    One way to really be in the moment is to get clarity on “what do you want to accomplish?” It also helps to structure your time … if you know you have a limited time to spend on work, then it’s easier to focus (in other words, schedule your free time.) The paradox is that limits free us — and I actually learned that in my “How to Study in College” class 🙂

  2. Tom Volkar / Big Link Rally

    Karl, I’ve studied emotions extensively and two understandings have made all the difference. I am essentially stress free now and it’s powerful.
    1). I feel each feeling as it comes up even if it’s an unpleasant one.
    2). I now understand that all emotions begin as natural vibrations within our bodies. They don’t become negative emotions until we attach a thought to them that colors them so.
    Best Wishes for a prosperous and peaceful 2010!

  3. Hi J.D., I like how you said not to mix stress and anxiety. They are weaved together by a lot of people. When we can separate the two it makes it easier to adjust to any situation.

    Hi Tom, Natural vibrations. Yes. It’s really the individual that puts the negative emotions on it. I love that.

  4. Pingback: What I Learned from Working on My Habits | Work Happy Now!

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