R-E-L-A-X – Finding Calm in Five Letters

Christmas is approaching, in less than a month, actually. It’s a time of cheer and of joy; a time of finding our loved ones and expressing our gratitude towards them. It’s a time where we can share physical and emotional gifts to show our real appreciation. The Christmas season is a beautiful thing—not just because of the Christmas music blasting 24/7—because everyone adopts a sense of happiness. And of course, the holiday season is a time for Christians to celebrate Jesus’ birth (although when, exactly, is always up for debate[1] amongst scholars)!

In our day to day lives however, we can see a lot of negativity and narcissism circulate, especially excluding the holiday season. Politics, violence, world events, personal matters—all of these things can, and do, stress people out no matter what time of the year it is. Of course, we should be involved to an extent in keeping ourselves up-to-date and informed on a variety of issues—both personal and not—but sometimes, we want to just focus on things like Christmas. On being happy; on enjoying our lives for a time before the undeniable stress rears its’ ugly head again.

So what about the days when it’s not Christmas? When there is no holiday reason to celebrate? What are we to do?

I say we just RELAX. R-E-L-A-X.

For those of you who are sports fans, this should sound familiar. On an ESPN Milwaukee station following their rough start to a one win, two loss season, Aaron Rodgers—starting quarterback for the American professional football team, Green Bay Packers—in September of 2014 said the following:

Aaron Rodgers Wallpaper 1144x1308
Aaron Rodgers, QB of the Green Bay Packers.

“Five letters here just for everybody out there in Packer-land: R-E-L-A-X. Relax. We’re going to be OK.[2]

Get this: Aaron Rodgers that year was starting out on pace for his lowest completion percentage of his career. The Green Bay Packers were ranked 28th in total yards for offense (out of 32, mind you); they got drubbed in their opening game by the Seattle Seahawks 36-16. The stress was high, the pressure was on, and for Packers fans at the time it felt like the football world was caving in on them.

And yet, here their starting quarterback, a Super Bowl champion in 2011, was telling them all to relax. He was even going so far as to spell it out for them, in case there were any doubts about the word. The team would end up going to the conference championship, finishing with a 12-4 record overall. They lost to the eventual Super Bowl runners up, and their season turned out to be the opposite of what many people were prognosticating earlier as a “possible failure” of a season.

I’ve always liked that quote from Aaron Rodgers, because not only is he a proven champion saying it, but he had the confidence and the mind to step back and evaluate things. He knew that those five letters provided more than just a simple, “calm down” statement. Deep in those letters were life lessons—mantras to live by inside the larger theme, to keep not only himself off the ledge of irrational thinking, but just as well, his whole organization and fans, too.

Relax. R-E-L-A-X. What I have come up with when it comes to the word are these:

Resist the noise and Rest in confidence

Elevate your mentality

Live in the present

Alleviate the pressure

Live as your prime eXample

Resist the noise and Rest in confidence

Let’s start with the first letter ‘R’, which we can expand into the mantra, “Resist the noise and rest in confidence”. I think this is something we all know we need to do, but because we get so swept up in the momentum of the world around us, we simply forget to do it. Just as things around you seem to be spiraling out of control, or are too much to bear, feel free to take a second and tune out all the noise. Don’t listen to the opinions of others around you. Don’t log on to your social media to start comparing your life to others. Sometimes the greatest asset in dealing with the rigors of our lives is simply silence.

When we are in silence, we can focus inwardly on our goals and ambitions. In silence, we can center our spirits on God and level our hearts and our thoughts more effectively. Yes, sometimes it is good to hear and be heard, but often times in this day and age we let the noise take away our balance. In one moment we are walking peacefully; in the next there is a siren making us jump and stumble, surprising us and putting us in a daze as to which way to go next.

We can also, in this time of silence, rest in our confidence. While we reflect internally and drown out the raucous outside, we can find peace in knowing that we are valuable as individuals and that we have so much to offer to the world around us. Be confident knowing that you have dealt with tumultuous situations and stress before, and overcome them. Take some rest in that fact. You have overcome and you will overcome; the time that you’re in is nothing new. So ease up a bit knowing the circumstances.

Elevate your mentality

Just as much as we can rest in our confidence while we relax, we can just as easily—and should—elevate our mentality. When you take the time to get away from the noise, and realize your situation is not impossible, or that the stress is bearable, start lifting your mood! No situation, in my opinion, is wholly all negative. There are always positives and blessings to be gleaned from any scenario. We just have to shift our intents to finding them.

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Original image by: Michael Roach

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” –Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)

Plus, just as this verse suggests, elevating our thinking, and effectively our moods, is the perfect medicine to keep us from drying up both mentally and spiritually. The more we start focusing on the joys and positives in all the clutter, the more we give ourselves a chance to truly live a step closer to being happy; fulfilling our goals and destinies; and all of what God has for us. The first battle in the war on your mind isn’t whether those thoughts are worth thinking; it’s if those thoughts can get you to being content in your overall life.

Live in the present

The one vein that runs through all these mantras though, is the simple idea of living in the present. Once we are able to grasp that, things get a lot easier. The past isn’t going to change your present because it already happened and took effect. You can learn from it, sure, but what’s done is done. The future hasn’t even approached yet. It’s important to realize that the decisions that shape the future you might be over-thinking about are directly linked to your present. You can’t know those outcomes yet, because—that’s right—you are here, right now, in the present moment.

So stay there and live there. Focus your positivity on what you can do, not on uncertainties that might occur or what already happened prior. Really, if you think about it, life is just a bunch of present moments occurring one after the other. So take advantage of each one as it comes, and embrace them. Once we commit to this time, this moment in our lives, we finally realize that those doors—that we thought were locked the whole time—were actually just unlocked and closed for us to approach when we were ready.

Alleviate the pressure

Here comes the fun part. Find a way to alleviate the pressures that you feel! There are more than a dozen or so ways to do this, because really it is all up to what you like. Read a book and get wrapped up in a fantastic alternative reality, or listen to some music and float along with the melodies in your ears. You can even go exercise if you feel so inclined; get those muscles working to unwind the tension and get loose.

The need to untangle ourselves from the web of craziness we often get caught in can’t be ignored. You can’t just be uptight all the time and expect to find any sort of peace of mind. Heck, you probably are affecting those around you if you’re that uptight! So while you’re practicing the other letters, take some serious time to focus on the ‘A’ and have some fun.

Live your life as your prime eXample

So you say in your time of depressurizing you don’t know what to do next. Well, have you finished spelling the word? You can’t just R-E-L-A…that just makes no sense. Last, but I think most importantly, is living your life as your prime example. That’s right, I didn’t say live your life for someone else’s example. Consider who you would want to see if you were observing your life from the outside.

What kind of life do you really want to live? How do you want to walk your journey, or write your own story? You are the one who’s starring in the story, so take that knowledge and apply it. When you make decisions every day going forward, imagine the best situation to come from that—the best way you would like to handle it—and then take the steps to making it a reality. You’ll inevitably gain confidence in your decisions; your life, and yourself, and not only feel proud but also feel self-worth. You came, you saw, you conquered. You, no one else—so just envision success and positivity, and then become it, so that in the future you can reference yourself as a prime example of what went right.

Take a page from Aaron Rodgers and R-E-L-A-X. Don’t allow yourself to bow to the pressures of the world for too long, or too much.

When we relax, we rest and refresh—heal ourselves in our mind, body and spirit—and give ourselves ample time to ask the important question,

“What’s next?”

Written by: Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach


[1] http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christmas/

[2] http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/11576354/aaron-rodgers-tells-panicking-green-bay-packers-fans-relax

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Author: f3foranswers

A Christ-first B-boy, writer, and fitness-nut. Owner of the blog "F3 For Answers".

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