It’s difficult to do nothing when idle time makes you feel anxious and unproductive. You are apt to avoid the unpleasantness by getting busy again. But change comes when you do something different in the heat of the moment. 

Here’s a mindful relaxation exercise that you can practice for ten to twenty minutes to help you unwind: Sit quietly in a comfortable position with eyes closed. Starting at your feet and progressing up to your face, deeply relax all of your muscles. Pay close attention to your breathing. Breathe in easily and naturally through your nose. As you breathe out through your mouth, say the word chill silently to yourself. As distracting thoughts occur, try to ignore them and return to repeating “chill” with each exhalation. 

After you’ve finished, sit quietly for several minutes at first with your eyes closed, then with your eyes slowly opening. Avoid judging yourself based on how successful you were. If possible, practice mindful relaxation once or twice daily.

How often do you hear the refrain, “There’re just not enough hours in a day”? Your need to stretch time as if it’s a rubber band is a reflection of your need to overdo, your inability to accept life on its own terms. Instead you try to push the river instead letting it flow by itself. You try to force more hours than there are into the workday. Your life becomes more manageable when you structure your workdays for only twenty-four hours and learn to work, sleep, and play within those boundaries. 

Excerpt from #Chill: Turn Off Your Job and Turn On Your Life with permission from the author and publisher.

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  • Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Journalist, psychotherapist, and Author of 40 books.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. is a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, psychotherapist in private practice, and award-winning author of two novels and 40 nonfiction books that have been translated into 15 languages. His latest books are CHAINED TO THE DESK IN A HYBRID WORLD: A GUIDE TO WORK-LIFE BALANCE (New York University Press, 2023)#CHILL: TURN OFF YOUR JOB AND TURN ON YOUR LIFE (William Morrow, 2019), DAILY WRITING RESILIENCE: 365 MEDITATIONS & INSPIRATIONS FOR WRITERS (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018). He is a regular contributor to, Psychology Today, and Thrive Global. He has appeared on 20/20, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, ABC's World News Tonight, NPR’s Marketplace, NBC Nightly News and he hosted the PBS documentary "Overdoing It: How To Slow Down And Take Care Of Yourself." website: