Last night officially marked the start of the Major League Baseball season. To celebrate, I drove around town running errands with the windows down, the Cardinals-Marlins game playing on the AM radio, and a ridiculously silly smile across my face.
As I went from location to location, I was blissfully content and stress free. There is something incredibly relaxing about listening to baseball games on the radio. I don’t know if it’s the sound of the announcer’s voice, the crack of the bat, the pops of the radio signal over the AM waves, memories of listening to games as a kid, or a mixture of these four things and more that work their magic to calm me. Whatever the reason, a baseball game on the radio has the same restorative result on me as a day at the spa.
My morning coffee-making ritual affects me in a similar way. And, there is a stretch of the Kansas Turnpike when you’re heading south out of Emporia, about 10 miles before passing the Cassoday exit, where the view of the Flint Hills is so breathtaking it’s impossible to experience anxiety until you reach Wichita. These common moments of pure relaxation may seem rare, but their ability to bring calm in an otherwise stressful day are essential to your productivity, competence, and sanity.
When clients mention they are having difficulty focusing because of a stress-filled mind, I ask them what ordinary activities relax them and allow them to regain a sense of calm. Many have no idea. They can name beach vacations, entire days at the spa, and other extraordinary experiences that calm them, but it’s difficult to name simple activities in their regular routines that reduce stress.
If you’re someone who has difficulty finding common activities that help to reduce your stress level, start paying attention to when you have a ridiculously silly smile on your face. Are you listening to a baseball game on the radio? Are you on a short walk back to your office after getting lunch? Are you writing with a favorite pen? When you identify these actions, try your best to incorporate them into your everyday schedule. Take a short walk away from your desk when frustrations flare. Replace the pens in your desk drawer that you dislike with only your favorite brand. Or, if you’re like me, keep a radio app on your smartphone to listen to a baseball game whenever you need to.
I’ll be tuning my radio to the Nationals-Cubs game today at 2:20 pm EDT. What small activity will you do today recharge, regain focus, and relax?