As perplexing as it seems, despite the exponential improvement of technology and quality of living, more and more people are saying they are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and anxious with the world today.
In a recent study, 50% of college undergraduates said they felt overwhelming anxiety in the last year.
True, technology has made a lot of difficult jobs easier, and has created more time; but what have we done with the time it afforded us? We added more work to it.
More must be done, within the shortest possible time. We are always on our toes, doing this, and doing that; never hitting the snooze button, until our minds and bodies can’t take it anymore.
The excuse many give is that they must work harder so as to afford a vacation before they can get away from all the work. They complain of not having the money nor time for a vacation, so they won’t hit pause.
But vacations don’t always have to cost a fortune, nor does it have to take two months. You can take a mental vacation for free, and be in and out of it in just 15 minutes.
Just like a real vacation, a mental vacation is a getaway; with the twist that it happens only inside your head. At first, it may sound silly and ridiculous, yet in practice, it can be as potent as meditating – in fact, meditation can be considered a form of mental vacation.
Mental vacations are basically an attempt to unplug, relax, enjoy, and rejuvenate oneself before heading back to normal life. It is not the same as going on breaks only to head over to the drama of social media, or to wallow in one's thoughts. During mental vacations, everything that is not pleasant is expelled. Only pleasant sights, sounds, thoughts, and feelings are permitted.
The aim of a mental vacation is to experience calm and peace; to place your mind in a state of harmony, and stability.
In all sense, it is as rewarding as an actual vacation, except for the fact that you can’t take pictures.
Looking for a bigger retreat? Read this next: Think a Meditation Retreat Can't Help You? Think Again!
The first step in taking a mental vacation is actually getting away from everything. After that, you can proceed to
Headphones on, turn on a piece of music that relaxes you.
It could just be the sounds of crashing waves, chirping birds, leaves in a rolling wind, or maybe the sound of gentle rain. A classical song with just the instrumentals skillfully playing in harmony is always a good start!
It could be some other peaceful sound that translates you into a place of mental serenity and tranquility.
If you can play an instrument, you can find yourself easily carried lost in the state of flow. It disconnects you from the worries of the moment and gets you to relax. Maybe you love playing the violin, or the piano; don’t hesitate to play your favorite scores.
Books are magical. A well-written book has the capacity to teleport you into another realm, then keep you there.
Exceptional books can change your outlook on everyday life. It is almost hallucinogenic and provides a great degree of relief. If you already enjoy reading, then try reading in a quiet place, and in a relaxed position (maybe on your bed) more often.
You could decide to take a stroll through nature – a waterfront, a garden, the woods, etc. This will help you relieve stress, and get out of your head. It has the added advantage of getting you some sunlight and exercise in the process.
Beautiful sceneries, or maybe old pictures that conjure up delightful memories can help you escape the bustle and tussle of the present. You could also consider going to an art gallery and getting immersed in the world of art.
Think of a pleasant moment. Something that makes you happy, grateful, or fills you with awe. This could be a memory or just a fantasy. The idea is to try to relive the moment. When tension reduces, pressure dissipates.
If you have a lot running through your mind, consider going into meditation.
The aim isn’t to forget those things but to simply observe them, and let them fade away. It is a way to free you from the influence of those thoughts by becoming unaffected by them.
It takes a while to master meditation, but constant practice can help you maintain your peace in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.
This is perhaps the most luxurious form of escape. Even those on “actual vacations” still need to get a healthy dose of sleep. So, if you find yourself stressed out during the day, you can go for a quick nap, in order to rebuff your mind and body.
Bonus: Anxiety Canada offers a walkthrough of a mental vacation for free on their site!
Going on mental vacations every now and then can save you from the negative long-term consequences of stress. Thankfully, you don’t have to be on an island resort in order to enjoy the benefits of disconnecting from work and reconnecting with your inner self. So why won’t you? It’s free anyway.
January 18, 2022
January 17, 2022