Spontaneous Relaxation

I’ve written before about the value of Deep Play, a restorative form of rest that makes us feel reenergized and reinvigorated. Examples include Einstein playing Mozart or Churchill painting in their leisure time.

Like Deep Work, Deep Play seems to be most effective in large blocks of time. But we have a few small breaks littered throughout the day such as between classes, meetings, and study sessions. How can we make the most out of this brief break?

In Josh Waitzkin’s book the Art of Learning, he calls this spontaneous relaxation. He writes:

The physiologists at LGE had discovered that in virtually every discipline, one of the most telling features of a dominant performer is the routine use of recovery periods. Players who are able to relax in brief moments of inactivity are almost always the ones who end up coming through when the game is on the line… Remember Michael Jordan sitting on the bench, a towel on his shoulders, letting it all go for a two-minute break before coming back in the game? Jordan was completely serene on the bench even though the Bulls desperately needed him on the court. He had the fastest recovery time of any athlete I’ve ever seen.

Im trying to incorporate more spontaneous relaxation in my life. So far, I find that walking outside is the most effective for me.

Read more about Spontaneous Relaxation here

January 28, 2022

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