“…Goldfinger could not have known that high tension was Bond’s natural way of life and that pressure and danger relaxed him.” – Ian Fleming, Goldfinger
This is just one more way that I will never be like James Bond!
Tension is not for me! I find high tension enervating if it goes on for too long. Yes, it can be motivational, like when you are in a competition or responding to a crisis, and it can be productive, but after awhile it becomes exhausting and makes you grumpy and pessimistic.
And it skews your thinking, too! Anxiety makes you more reactive, less thoughtful, and more pessimistic. Anxious people dwell on their problems, turning them over and over in their minds, micro-examining every particular detail of their dilemma. How will I handle this? What will I do if this happens? Or if that happens? Maybe this person will do this? Or someone else might do that? What do I do then?
It’s a futile cycle, from which you really gain nothing, but anxious people usually thinks it’s a necessary and effective way of problem-solving. It isn’t, and they just become more tense. They would actually do better if they took time off from their problems to refresh and relax.
However, some people are bad relaxers that confuse being physically inactive with being relaxed. They sit in front of a television, for instance, completely immobile but mentally frantic and call that relaxation.
Granted, you can relax by chilling out, but only if you can stop the mental frenzy. You’d do better actually if you went in the opposite direction and did something very physical, like playing a sport or taking a hike. Or even if you started tackling that to-do list of projects you need to finish. The key, of course, is getting the mental break because a) you don’t exhaust yourself with pointless worry and b) you end up in a better frame of mind.
What is your relaxation style? Are you a good relaxer or a bad one? Do you need to change your style at all?