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The Importance of Structure (REWARD part 7)
An article for the online magazine "Just Breathe" -
Today, one of my patients told me that a few weeks ago she was so disappointed in herself and feeling completely down. The reason for it was that she had had two weeks off, alone without her daughter, and she was actually looking forward to it! Not having to follow the usual schedule each day, not having to rush, enjoying lots of time for herself.

But when the holiday actually came, she wasn’t able to enjoy her free time without sticking to a timetable. She felt weak, useless and couldn’t motivate herself to do something.

Why am I telling you this story?
Well, first of all, I would like to uncover the myth that relaxation has always to do with NOT doing anything.
Whereas for some people being motionless, taking a nap, meditating or similar might feel like the perfect stress release, for many others it only rises their inner stress level. They tend to fall into a deep dark hole where they feel bad. A well-planned, individual daily structure is a very helpful tool in your REWARD stress release toolkit.

The REWARD stress release toolkit:

  1. The first thing you should understand is that a well-planned day eases your brain’s work. Our brain loves routines and structures it already knows; you might say it’s naturally lazy. While a certain variety and change of our activities has a very healthy effect, it is still important to work within well-known daily activity patterns. You have to find out for yourself how much structure or how many of these patterns you need to feel supported without feeling like being caught in a cage or in a dull daily routine. This last fact is very important and vital to watch. Last but not least please don’t forget about including breaks and free time spaces. Taking care of a personal daily structure is an energy and motivation booster, which again helps you to increase your stress immunity and makes it easier for you to feel relaxed.

  2. Daily structure has a strong effect on your activity and energy level. It helps us getting up in the morning and going through the day. Human motivation level is highly depending on if there are any reachable goals to pursue. If you structure your day in an adequate way your brain always knows what to do next and gets several rushes of happiness hormones during the day: each time when you’ve reached another (sub-)goal.
A certain daily structure helps your brain to relax and have a bigger capacity for other things, such as creativity.
[last updated 05/12/16]
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