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  #1  
Old 05-23-16, 03:54 AM
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I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

I made this realization this past week: I never relax.

Even when I'm "relaxing" I'm not really relaxed.

I don't think I've always been this way, but then again maybe I have been? Probably not in this way, I think it's more pronounced now.

Of course I'm a "why" type of person so I've tried to list some possible causes:
I think it's probably a mix of anxiety, a mind that never shuts off, the need to feel like I'm doing things, a body that is restless, PTSD-related causes, and body pain that makes me never feel comfy.

I feel big guilt if I'm not constantly doing things, pushing myself to achieve. As if I haven't "done enough" yet and that I'm unworthy of relaxation/taking down time. Combined with the fact that I am bored when doing "nothing" and need stimulation. (Often, I think I need brain stimulation when really that just makes me worse and more overloaded) Boredom can become so painful to me mentally.

But surely even with all that, there's got to be a way to learn how to relax, right?

I'm afraid this is taking a toll on me. I feel like my inability to relax even when I'm supposed to be relaxing is exhausting my body and mind, so that I never replenish my mental and physical resources.

This is a very huge realization for me because I thought that I do relax, but really I'm always going mentally and physically.

I'm probably gonna try to get into meditation, I recently listened to a very long meditation space video. Takes lots of focus though which gets me restless, but I kinda liked this one because it had long spaces of galactic sounding music which made me feel like I didn't have to focus on words so much. Still, wasn't as helpful as I'd like.

Why can't I just shut down and relax like normal people? Even my ADHD-PI fiancÚ can relax and (after I told him my realization) actually commented that he sees that I never relax.

How the heck do I relax??? I don't even know how, or what it feels like, or where to begin.
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Old 05-23-16, 04:01 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

I wish I had answers, but all I can say is that I completely identify with what you wrote.
I kind of assumed this was a common issue for people with ADHD (especially if they have a hefty dose of the H).
I find that I mentally relax when I'm moving my body - so exercise gives me the headspace I need to function and my brain settles while I'm walking/running. But I think I usually only physically relax when I'm asleep - which is probably not the best.

The closest I come is through yoga/deep breathing/meditation or massage - but then I usually end up falling asleep anyway! so don't get the benefit of the awake relaxation for long.

Good luck with the meditation. I hope it works for you.
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Old 05-23-16, 04:04 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

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I wish I had answers, but all I can say is that I completely identify with what you wrote.
I kind of assumed this was a common issue for people with ADHD (especially if they have a hefty dose of the H).
I find that I mentally relax when I'm moving my body - so exercise gives me the headspace I need to function and my brain settles while I'm walking/running. But I think I usually only physically relax when I'm asleep - which is probably not the best.

The closest I come is through yoga/deep breathing/meditation or massage - but then I usually end up falling asleep anyway! so don't get the benefit of the awake relaxation for long.

Good luck with the meditation. I hope it works for you.
Just hearing that someone else identifies with what I wrote helps me to feel better.

I'm sorry you too struggle with this same issue.

I'm not feeling too hopeful about the meditation because I've tried it several times in the past but I don't get that great of results.

It's so painfully boring to me, like actual mental PAIN, even though mentally the idea appeals to me.
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Old 05-23-16, 04:15 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

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It's so painfully boring to me, like actual mental PAIN, even though mentally the idea appeals to me.
yes! this exactly. When anyone suggests meditation to me my instant reaction is NOOOOOO! I tried an app a few times last year, and I either hated it because I was bored and restless, or I fell asleep. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground for me.

But I know people who have made it work, some of them with ADHD. I guess maybe you need to want to do it enough? Like, if you can prioritise it enough to make it part of your routine then maybe it gets easier.
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Old 05-23-16, 05:16 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

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yes! this exactly. When anyone suggests meditation to me my instant reaction is NOOOOOO! I tried an app a few times last year, and I either hated it because I was bored and restless, or I fell asleep. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground for me.

But I know people who have made it work, some of them with ADHD. I guess maybe you need to want to do it enough? Like, if you can prioritise it enough to make it part of your routine then maybe it gets easier.
Maybe. I've tried different versions of meditation for several years, at one point it really was a priority for me. But then I would stress over making sure I was practicing.

Yeah, I would like to find a way to make it work. When I see people do it they look so focused and calm and centered. I want to be like that.

I have remembered something....the times I've been the most "relaxed" in my life are spending all day hiking outside in nature, then coming back to a peaceful place out in nature and being in the darkness - away from city lights, away from busy people, away from unnatural noises.

I think it's important for me to spend lots of time in nature.

Maybe a camping trip would help me.
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Old 05-23-16, 05:47 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

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Originally Posted by BellaVita View Post

I have remembered something....the times I've been the most "relaxed" in my life are spending all day hiking outside in nature, then coming back to a peaceful place out in nature and being in the darkness - away from city lights, away from busy people, away from unnatural noises.

I think it's important for me to spend lots of time in nature.

Maybe a camping trip would help me.
Yes! being outdoors works for me, especially green places. Walking alone and letting my mind wander I find very relaxing. And camping is great for a total break from all the stresses of 'normal' life.
I think it's important to find what works for you.

I wonder about trying yoga again - whether the combination of gentle movement with breathing would be better for me than static meditation.

The challenge with any of these things is committing to doing them regularly enough to make a difference.
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Old 05-23-16, 05:49 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

Sadly I tend to take the short cut to relaxation in the evening through alcohol, which works in the short term. But in the long term I know it's not a healthy way for me to achieve it :/ I need to find better ways of switching off.
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Old 05-23-16, 05:58 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

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Yes! being outdoors works for me, especially green places. Walking alone and letting my mind wander I find very relaxing. And camping is great for a total break from all the stresses of 'normal' life.
I think it's important to find what works for you.

I wonder about trying yoga again - whether the combination of gentle movement with breathing would be better for me than static meditation.

The challenge with any of these things is committing to doing them regularly enough to make a difference.
I totally agree about green places! I also love the silence and total peacefulness of outdoors at nighttime.

You make a very good point. About maybe we need a different type of relaxation, perhaps one that involves some breathing and moving.

Although I would still like to be STILL and peaceful. Like how other people seem to look so relaxed just sitting. It's hard to be in one spot and doing nothing because of the previously mentioned mental pain that comes with boredom...it's like agony.
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Old 05-23-16, 06:16 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

I think such moments of clarity are really important, moment when you can see something that you were not aware before. It is frustrating to not be able to relax, I know because it's also a challenge for me. I realized this a few years ago and every now and then this issue comes back to my attention again, especially when I need it. Over the years I have learnt some effective ways to relax. One way is to just drink tea and read a book or article, so that I can escape from my head and dive into something new. To me the most effective way to relax is to exercise, especially running, but also cycling and walking. And there are some other things. Always looking for new things to try, so I find it interesting to read people's suggestions.

They say that knowing is half of the battle. I think it is less then that, but it is important . I don't think it's such a strange thing to find it hard to relax. I think a lot of people struggle with this. I am optimistic that people can become better at relaxing, but like almost everything it takes a lot of practice. So, I would focus more on trying (new) activities and building in rituals/habits that can help you relax and not focus to much on understanding why you struggle with this. Perhaps this advice is not what you need, in that case feel free to ignore it, but I say it because I often find myself in a state of "paralysis by analysis" while I already know what I need to do to (try to) solve a problem.
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Old 05-23-16, 06:37 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

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Originally Posted by Jacksper View Post
I think such moments of clarity are really important, moment when you can see something that you were not aware before. It is frustrating to not be able to relax, I know because it's also a challenge for me. I realized this a few years ago and every now and then this issue comes back to my attention again, especially when I need it. Over the years I have learnt some effective ways to relax. One way is to just drink tea and read a book or article, so that I can escape from my head and dive into something new. To me the most effective way to relax is to exercise, especially running, but also cycling and walking. And there are some other things. Always looking for new things to try, so I find it interesting to read people's suggestions.

They say that knowing is half of the battle. I think it is less then that, but it is important . I don't think it's such a strange thing to find it hard to relax. I think a lot of people struggle with this. I am optimistic that people can become better at relaxing, but like almost everything it takes a lot of practice. So, I would focus more on trying (new) activities and building in rituals/habits that can help you relax and not focus to much on understanding why you struggle with this. Perhaps this advice is not what you need, in that case feel free to ignore it, but I say it because I often find myself in a state of "paralysis by analysis" while I already know what I need to do to (try to) solve a problem.
Thank you for the post!

I agree that some new activity will probably help, something I've never tried before perhaps. Something that doesn't bore me instantly.

I already exercise every day, including pilates a few times a week.

I find that my issue is that even while doing relaxing things like reading/drinking tea, I never really relax. That's why I felt it was important to dive into the "whys" since I can do relaxing activities - I just don't relax while doing them.

Your posts are often helpful to me and I appreciate you taking the time to reply to my thread.
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Old 05-23-16, 09:01 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

Sorry Bells, no pearls of wisdom here. I think of myself as a puzzle solver. I seldom "need" to relax, but when I do it involves solving puzzles that I choose to solve. Sometimes it is stopping w/ people from work for a drink or 2, complaining about problems at work, and ways to avoid/address similar ones in the future. Other times, going home, maybe having a drink, talking about problems the wife (not an option anymore, now the Ex-wife) had during the day.

For me, unwinding the spring seems to center on analyzing/discussing problems that I "want" to discuss/analyze. If that doesn't help there is always my foolproof one from school/young adulthood that likely would work for you. Go out, get pretty drunk, have some fun, nurse a hangover the whole next day and when you wake on 3rd day you will be relaxed. (At some point the loss of a day and full-day hangover was just too much.) GL, -LN

Last edited by midnightstar; 05-23-16 at 03:33 PM.. Reason: edited out offensive language
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Old 05-23-16, 09:07 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

Meditation in motion is the only way I can bring myself to practice the quiet and still meditation. (hooping, hiking, crafting, helping another, and other various activities that I'm passionate about)

I had to make it comfortable and doable, and had to re-frame my words I'd use to describe it when thinking about it to remove the heavy energetic feelings it brought up that were unpleasant.

I have to release the pent up energy before my brain and body will allow sitting still and finding what feels like genuine relaxation.

But that also requires recognizing what the other energies are and the root causes of why they continue to be an obstacle. That's the hardest part, in my opinion and experience.

I remain on guard 24/7, also, and feel it comes from all the years I was made to feel inadequate in my be-ing by those who felt I never met their marks for whatever reasons. That stuff is embedded into our cellular memory and never goes away.

It took multiple attempts working with others who formally and regularly practice meditation and breath work, then I started sharing what I learned through offering it within the community, for me to be able to finally feel like I "get it" and reach a place of inner calmness that I can comfortably curl up in.

Learning more about the respiratory system, the digestive system, and the lymph system seemed to help motivate my momentum quite a bit in remembering why it was so critically important to keep reaching for the ability to do it. The painful memories of never being able to "get there" are enough to keep me practicing on at least a semi-regular basis.

Some days, it's my only chance for feeling at peace with who I am, where I am, and the state of the world that surrounds. It's absolutely priceless and I wish you well in finding your particular grooves within.
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Old 05-23-16, 09:35 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

Like you, can't relax either. Rarely. Despite being carefree in personality, always a backthought responsibility on the mind
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Old 05-23-16, 10:49 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

I am slowly becoming aware of just how much I tense up in daily life...Clenching my teeth is a big issue for me....as well as just being tense everywhere. My therapist has been trying to train me in meditation techniques, and like many, the hardest thing is to shut off my mind. Last session he got me to a place where I discovered my neck and shoulders were just aching to beat the band, and it was due to tension I didn't even know I had. (Actually I didn't feel any pain either at first but as I slowly got more and more relaxed it became evident.)

It seems like something I just have to do, to turn off my constant vigilance which feeds the fight or flight response. I have a smooth stone in my pocket I rub while relaxing and some days just touching it will get me to loosen up.

After my sessions with my therapist/coach/psw/friend, I have to mellow out and come back to reality before I can even drive. It is amazing what words and thoughts can do.

Best wishes for success in this department....it really improves one's quality of life!

And don't assume those folks who appear to be relaxing are really doing it.. We don't know what their thoughts are like at the time and I'm sure some nt's are as bad as we are with the worry and racing thoughts.
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Old 05-23-16, 11:21 AM
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Re: I can't relax - and really need it to be a part of my life

Like others here i do get a mental relaxation with movement. I sometimes wish I smoked pot or drank to relax just to relax.

Right now, my life does not support relaxation. Being in nature, being near water is the only passive form of relaxation I have ever found. I dream of retiring on the country probably because the strain I feel is strong.

Meditation, at least initially requires effort. There are days when even this effort is too much.

As I'm getting older, this lack of relaxation worries me more and more.

I wish I had good answers for you Bella.
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