Discover Yourself: Taking Vacations, Traveling, and Healing

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The American poet T.S. Eliot wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” The idea is, of course, that exploration, travel, and seeing new places will lead us back to the starting point with an entirely new view and different perspective.

According to the American Institute of Stress, 25% of people have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress, and 80% of workers feel stress on the job. This means a considerable amount of people feel constantly on edge, and a good percentage of them have reached what might very well be described as a boiling point. This is not uncommon in a society that is often said to be overly dedicated to careers and job responsibilities. However, taking those vacation days can help people that feel this type of stress to reset, catch a breather, and view life through a new lens.

Keep Sickness Away

According to Psychology Today, chronic stress is a major factor in the body being unable to fend off infection, maintain vital functions, and even resist injury.  High levels of stress for a prolonged period of time weaken the body’s immune system, and often block its ability to recover from illness.

Aid Your Brain

Based on research published by Scientific American, leisure time is not a vice, but indispensable to the brain’s well being and long-term function. Downtime actually replenishes the brain’s stores of attention. By allowing the brain some cool-off time, there is an increase in creativity, which helps to solve difficult problems and tackle complex projects at work.

Increase Productivity

Not only does some time off increase your creativity, but it will increase your productivity at work, allowing you to work more efficiently and effectively on a variety of tasks. As Inc. reports, the brain is not designed to work nonstop. It needs breaks, and contrary to popular belief, putting in more hours has been proven to actually decrease productivity.

Experts have confirmed that memory depends on sleep. Maintaining a sharp memory can help in recalling important information that aids in the completion of your work.

Help Your Relationships

Experts say that time off can actually help relationships flourish with family. When people work long hours during the week, taking a few days off can do wonders for a relationship with your kids or with your significant other.

Combat Pain and Addiction

If you’re recovering from addiction, removing yourself from your usual surroundings will help in bringing new perspective to your life. Traveling out in nature even for a few days can be a good way to rediscover your place in life.

Removing yourself from the usual routine can help bring new understanding and perspective. For many, it is a way to heal. If you’re working through addiction problems, travel is one way to occupy your mind on new people, a new environment, and a new culture. This is a great way to remain sober and cleanse yourself of bad energy. As the Huffington Post writes, travel and reflection can help heal pain of all sorts.

How to Maximize Your Time

It is often more difficult than it seems to slow down after working at a high pace for long periods of time or switch gears from a routine. This often leads to people squandering their vacation time, and thus not maximizing the amount of time off. To combat this:

  • Make sure to plan ahead

  • Book flights and hotels early

  • Allow yourself a day or two to wind down

  • Plan activities during your vacation so you don’t go from being completely busy to having nothing to do

Americans are known workaholics, but as it turns out, using those vacation days can actually make you more productive, increase happiness, and give you a new outlook on life. As Eliot wrote, you return to the place from which you started, to see it as if for the first time, with a new outlook and a new depth.

- Henry Moore (Guest blogger at fitwelltraveler.com)

 

 

Marriage - The Mouse vs. The Elephant

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Recently in marriage counseling one of my clients told me she goes into “mouse mode” when the possibility of conflict arises with her husband.  

Mouse mode has a real feel to it - Her voice gets small and a look of pain wraps tightly around her face.  She sighs heavily, and the act of shrinking seems to drain her strength.  Going into mouse mode means that she must suppress her thoughts and emotions which can be exhausting.  The result is that a familiar fatigue is added to the anxiety she already feels in such interactions.  

As we explore this phenomena further it becomes apparent to all of us that mouse mode is unsustainable and the inevitable release that must come from regularly escaping into mouse mode looks a lot like the polar opposite - Elephant mode.

Elephant in the Room?

Elephant mode has a feel to it too.  We become big, animated and sometimes loud - speaking with force, urgency and often carelessness, embellishing our point because we need it to land with impact and force.  We can bombard our spouse in elephant mode because, well, we feel entitled to unleash what we’ve been holding in for so long.  We’ve been “taking one for the team” as my client put it, and now it’s my turn.  Problem is, we can trample people in Elephant mode, and these types of delicate conversations in a relationship call for some finesse.  The re-occurring fights in any relationship are critical to address.  Safety is required in such interactions.  If there is no safety there will be no productivity.    

Mouse vs. Elephant  

Mouse Mode:

  • Diminishes the humanity of the individual.  
  • Hurts the relationship by creating a one sided closed off individual that suffers in the relationship alone. (though the spouse usually can feel the distance) 
  • Resentment and bitterness ensue.
  • Blowups (Elephant Mode) must come eventually 

Elephant Mode:

  • We become bigger than reality in order to be heard but - it makes our spouse feel smaller
  • Can sometimes feel good because there’s a feeling of Finally letting it out!  This is deceiving because it really only feels right to the elephant.  (not your spouse)
  • Hurts the relationship by creating fear, and destroying openness.  Openness is one of the keys to a secure bond.
  • Makes your spouse feel as if they must also get bigger to match you or become a mouse to keep the peace.
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When we feel safe in relationship there is no need to become more or less than we are; we can be ourselves and invite our spouse to do the same.  Safety allows us to listen patiently and share openly because we know there is acceptance of the person even if there is disagreement on the subject.  

How are you promoting safety for your spouse during difficult conversations?  We can expect struggle and disagreement in relationships.  We can either be alone in the difficulty and against each other or we can promote safety and be for each other especially when we disagree.  What better way to let your spouse know they are safe with you?  What better way to earn the right to be heard?