In the the Bill Murray interview we excerpted recently we held back an essential chunk, perfect for right NOW:
I realized the more fun I had, the more relaxed I was working, the better I worked.
Q. That seems to be a philosophy you apply not only to your work but to your entire life.
A. Well, I’ve made some mistakes in that area too. The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything: the better you are with your loved ones, the better you are with your enemies, the better you are at your job, the better you are with yourself.
We were wondering how old wiseman Bill manages to stay so relaxed when we found a post on ZenHabits about exactly how to relax and let go of tightness no matter where you are. Leo Barbauta boils relaxation down to a few simple steps:
1. Notice the tightness. Pay attention to your body and mindset as you do any activity: work, meetings, driving, walking, reading, cleaning, talking with a loved one. If you notice tightness, that’s your cue.
2. Visualize it dissipating. Just imagine the tightness floating out of you and into the air, dissolving into little bits and then being blown away by the breeze. The simple act of this visualization can often work.
3. Go from tight to loose. You can practice this right now. Pause for a second and clench your fists. Now relax them. It’s that easy. Do it with your jaw. Now your abs. Now your shoulders. You can let go of tightness just by softening, letting go of the tightening that you’re creating yourself. It works for the mind too.
4. Breathe. Take in a deep, slow breath. Let your attention stay on this breath. Hold the breath in for 5 seconds, then slowly exhale and pause for another 5 seconds at the end of the exhale. Repeat a few times if you like. This can help loosen you up if you need it. If you don’t need it after Step 2 or 3, you can skip it.
5. Smile. This transforms everything. You can now approach any activity, any moment, with an attitude of relaxed enjoyment.
‘Smile’ is the practice that Patti Smith said she uses. Simple and do-able, always.
Related posts: bill murray’s life lessons
how to slow down, via leo widrich and bill murray
a mantra from bill murray
patti smith’s lesson in improvising, via sam shephard
patti smith’s (+ ancient chinese) smile therapy