Active Relaxation vs. Passive Relaxation and Why You Need Both

Day 18 of our 30 Day Stress Reduction and Relaxation Challenge

Let’s talk active vs. passive relaxation

There are all sorts of different ways to relax. In general, they fit into one of two categories – active or passive relaxation. Today we’ll take a closer look at each, go over some examples and then wrap it up with a short exploration about why we need a good mix of both forms of relaxation.

The quickest way to define active vs. passive relaxation is with an example. We’re sure you’ll get it as soon as you read this. Sleeping is a form of passive relaxation. Taking a zip line tour is a form of active relaxation. Most other forms fit somewhere between the two extremes. Meditation is a good example. It’s mostly passive but the mind is still somewhat active. The same goes for reading a book or watching a movie. They are more passive than for example going for a walk, hike, or run.

Ideas for Active Relaxation

Most forms of exercise fall into this category. Go out for a walk or hike and enjoy nature while you’re actively relaxing. Taking an exercise class or going for a run is another great option. Most of these are even more fun when you do them with others.

You can even get the whole family involved by going for bike rides together, taking them swimming, or spending a fun day playing and running around in the park or garden.

Yoga is also a form of active relaxation. Not only does it tone your body and help you get more flexible, there’s also a mental component that helps you relax and rejuvenate your mind as well.

Ideas for Passive Relaxation

Lay down for a nap in the afternoon to relax and recharge. Another great option is to sit or lay down for 30 minutes to practice meditation. Of course curling up with a good book is another great way to unwind and de-stress.

Meeting a friend for coffee, or even better inviting them over to your place is another great option. If that’s not possible, get comfortable and call them for a long, relaxing chat. Even something as simple as pouring yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea and enjoying it while you browse through a magazine is a good option. The guys may prefer a cold beer while they watch sports on the TV.

You get the idea. Come up with five to ten ways to relax passively that you enjoy. These can be things you’re already doing on occasion, or something you’ve always wanted to make time for. Do the same for ideas for active relaxation. Keep the list handy and in sight, so you can make it a point to do more from both lists on a regular basis.

It’s important to mix and match the two. We need to work in more physical activity and get out there, but also need time to relax our body. It’s all about balance.

Day 18’s Stress-busting Mantra is “There is no greater peace than waking up guilt-free in the morning”

Ready to include both active and passive relaxation into your everyday life?

In case you missed one of our posts, here is what we’ve shared so far:

Day 1 – The Dangers of Stress

Day 2 – The Importance Of Rest And Relaxation

Day 3 – Quick Stress Buster: Take A Nap

Day 4 – How To Know That You’re Too Stressed

Day 5 – Quick Stress Buster: Take a Breath

Day 6 – Taking Time to Relax Actually Helps You Get More Done

Day 7 – Quick Stress Buster: Go For A Walk

Day 8 – Yourself Before You Can Take Care Of Everyone Else

Day 9 – Quick Stress Buster: Try Meditation

Day 10 – Work Hard and Play Hard

Day 11 – Quick Stress Buster: Plant Something

Day 12 – The Value of Doing Nothing At All

Day 13 – Quick Stress Buster: Start Journaling

Day 14 – Your Stuff May Be Stressing You Out

Day 15 – Quick Stress Buster: Lose Yourself in a Book or Movie

Day 16 – Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Day 17 – Quick Stress Buster: Laugh Out Loud


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