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Here are healthy ways to go about relaxing. Relaxation is the experience of LP, low arousal with a positive valence. It's when you feel peaceful, safe, and content. Your heart rate, breathing, and thinking all slow down. Allowing yourself time to relax might feel like a guilty pleasure and is often the first set of behaviors to go in a busy lifestyle. Modern life certainly reinforces the value of being on the go, go, go. In reality, relaxation helps to combat the physiological and psychological consequences of stress. A few of the many benefits include reducing muscle tension and chronic pain, reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and improving concentration. So when can you find the time? And how can you relax? Here are some suggestions. I know it may seem counterintuitive, but commuting can provide a great cue to relax. Perhaps as you get in your car, the subway, or set out on your walk, you turn on enjoyable music, sing your heart out, download an intellectually stimulating podcast, or make phone calls to people you actually want to talk to. Brainstorm for a creative dinner you'll cook, reflect on a spiritually meaningful passage, or contemplate fellow commuters. Basically, rather than letting your mind run rampant with thoughts that rehash earlier events or plan for challenges ahead, give yourself permission to tune into the present moment or even have playful fantasies about the future. A sample cue: you swipe your transit card, tap play on your phone, and away to Fresh Air with Terry Gross you go. Another routine opportunity for relaxation might be to play double duty with your exercise habit. Cues for relaxation could include entering the yoga studio, hitting the pavement in your sneaks, putting on your helmet for a bike ride, diving into warm and refreshing water. Initiate these activities and away you go to the land of self-efficacy and calm, present-focused attention. Now let's focus on what happens when you walk in the door from a long day at work and, perhaps, you might have been habitually triggered to pour yourself that glass of wine or pull out the pot.

Dress Code - What you wear can be a little tough. The easiest way to figure out what you're supposed to wear is to simply ask someone. There are dozens of codes and everyone interprets them differently, so like anything else, don't overthink it - just ask someone what they would do. How to Eat Your Meal - Most dinner parties are not this formal, but if it happens, follow the lead of someone nearby. You'll see other people using the proper forks or spoons and you should simply follow along. Mirroring in this situation is a fantastic way to get it right. Giving Toasts - If you have to give a toast, make sure you have a clear idea of what you'll say. If it's a formal toast, such as at a wedding, write it ahead of time and put it on cards. Avoid too much alcohol and make sure you're ready for whatever happens. What to Bring - Always ask before bringing anything to a party. A bottle of wine is often traditional, while food is usually not expected. However, if the party is less formal than expected, you may want to have something on hand just in case. In short, don't let the formality of a dinner party or even the social tensions of a casual party stress you out. There are a plenty of other people there who also have no idea what they are doing. You're in good company. There will be casualties and injuries. You will lose some battles. Your ego, pride, and confidence will get bruised and banged up. You will have days where your head is up your ass and you make horrible decisions. But it's ok.

It doesn't mean you lost the war. It just means you're learning. The war with yourself will always be at your doorstep, staring you in the face, taunting you, and daring you to become weak and scared. You have a rendezvous with death - the death of your former self. Starting right now, make changing your life and having your act together your highest-priority. Make it your biggest goal. Make it more important than what everyone around you is focused on. Getting your act together helps you get ahead and create the life most people want but are unwilling to work for. As an Aircraft Mechanic, making $100,000+ a year, I daydreamed about working for myself, actually getting paid for my efforts, making what I felt I was worth, not having to answer to anyone, and living life on my terms - even if it meant being broke for a while. I'd tell myself, "I'll get there one day" - but I'd never do anything about it! Then, when I decided I was no longer content with mediocrity and realized I could be spending my valuable time doing something much better, important, and productive, that's when my life changed. Right now, as you read this, I am where I used to only imagine being. I am now the person I used to dream of being. I am now living the life I used to dream of living. I have my act together more than ever before - and it only took a decision. A decision to move in my own direction and NEVER look back, never stop, and never give up. A decision to be tough, focused, and stubborn. A decision to, as Grant Cardone says, pay the price today so I can pay any price tomorrow. Right now, it's time to toughen up and make that same decision. Promise yourself you're going to knock off the bullshit, get your act together, stop wasting time, and live the life you know you're capable of living.

For me, it all started with a promise to myself, and you're no different. The very idea of getting in there and actively "working the room" might make your heart skip a beat or two, but remember our game plan. You'll aim for just one or two new people at a time. It might be weeks before you attend enough parties that you'll need to talk to multiple people at the same time. That makes things a little easier, at least to get yourself started. But, when it comes time to get in there and talk to dozens of people in succession without breaking stride, how do you do it? How do you maintain the likable new personality we've crafted over the course of this book and wow everyone you meet? First, take a deep breath and relax. The single biggest thing you can do right now is step back and calm down - let yourself relax and feel the comfort that you've developed in talking to any one person. Now, what exactly is different about interacting with a guy you meet at a party versus one you meet at your office or the grocery store? Traditional Relaxation Exercises: Diaphragmatic breathing, guided imagery, or progressive muscle relaxation can directly induce states of relaxation. Meditation and mindfulness exercises are psychologically beneficial and can, at times, also trigger relaxation. There is a plethora of free resources that can guide you through relaxation exercises--all designed to help refocus your attention so that you decrease physiological and psychological stress. Everyone benefits from having regular cues in place to drop their shoulders, let go of general body tension, and breathe a sigh of relief. As you set yourself up for success to follow through on your goals, I encourage you to let go of alcohol and recreational drugs as ways to relax. Instead, relax in ways that will both nourish yourself in the short run and curb temptations to procrastinate the next day. I encourage you to devote a time at night to filling out the form, taking stock of your day, and thinking about your day to come. Completing the form should take less than five minutes. Then, you'll be set up to complete a what, when, and consequences for each of the five habit areas. You'll fill it out for every day of the week.

Here is a description of how Craig filled the form out: You can put this principle into action by creating and maintaining healthy routines related to sleep, exercise, eating, watching your substances, and relaxation. A structured weekly routine that incorporates all five domains not only reduces the likelihood of illness, low energy, and procrastination, it also fosters momentary experiences of HP and LP. I encourage you to start with developing habits for one of the five domains, and then pay attention to the domino effect of positive consequences: perhaps adjusting your sleep naturally makes exercising easier, or perhaps focusing on exercise naturally makes your sleep more regular. As you focused on making self-care behaviors part of your daily routine, I expect you had some successes. I also suspect, because you're human, that you ran into some difficulty. Were there times you hit the snooze button instead of getting out of bed and didn't have time to make your lunch? Were there times you binge-watched Netflix instead of going to exercise class or getting to bed on time? Now you are more aware of your patterns and are ready to identify, isolate, and break down that choice-point moment when you are tempted to turn further away from, rather than closer toward, your goal. A choice-point moment is that microsecond or that hour-long deliberation when you contemplate avoiding or approaching an activity. To understand your choice-point moments, it is useful to identify their emotional contexts. Emotions elicit behavior, and intense emotional responses make you act quickly. Emotions that are painful or uncomfortable give you an intense urge to escape the situation triggering you to feel that way and to avoid getting into another situation that might be similar. Clearly such urges function well for actual, in-the-woods survival. But the problem is that you may find yourself attempting to Ctrl+Alt+Del your way out of uncomfortable moments constantly and getting caught in a habit of escape, escape, escape! The same goes for my work and teaching schedule. I learned this the hard way and now balance my calendar with great care. I won't watch movies with themes of abuse or merciless violence--they're just too much for me. The last serious movie I saw with these themes was "Sophie's Choice." It sidelined me for weeks. But I can read books that delve into these issues without it triggering me. I can't tolerate loudness or overly stimulating environments, so if you find me at a concert, sporting event, or nightclub, chances are I'll have earplugs and tinted glasses on.