Why Taking it Easy is Hard
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to relax? For something that's supposed to be enjoyable, slowing down can actually cause a great deal of discomfort to someone who's used to being on the go all the time. Try it now. Close your eyes for a few moments, and try to completely relax your body and quiet your mind. See how long it takes for your brain to start wandering to your ever-expanding to-do list or other worries of the day.
Without practice, taking it easy is hard work. We've spent a long time training our brains and bodies to become accustomed to consistent surges of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol; they provide us with fuel to get things done throughout the day. When we attempt to slow down and let go of our concerns, we can feel mild to moderate depression. We lose stimulation, which triggers an underlying fear that we won't have the energy we need to get things done—again boosting stress hormones in response. This creates a vicious cycle: We start to worry about not worrying, and suddenly we're relieved to be worrying—ah, that feels better.
Although we recognize that chronic stress can be hazardous to our health—even with the best intentions and the necessary knowledge to resolve it—we can find it nearly impossible to let go. Our codependent relationship with stress is just one example of a scenario in which knowing what to do and doing it are two very different things. We therefore need more than just the answers to ...