As each year passes, a new antidote to our stressed-out and self-indulgent lifestyles emerges. Often it is little more than a hair shirt for us to pull on for a week or two, while we do battle with the guilt of pigging out over Christmas.
No cost will be spared in investing in the latest tricks. This will be the only time of year when most of us choose to invest the cost of a small car into our health – gym membership, fitness videos, rubber balls and oversized elastic bands that promise to do something for your cellulite. And this year there's a new kid on the block – Pzizz, a personal life-coaching system that promises to be the perfect solution to "life overload". Using the American concept of "power napping", Pzizz supposedly trains your brain to relax and unwind quickly and easily, wherever you are. Using what is called neuro-linguistic programming, Pzizz revitalises you with "positive suggestion" – not so much "hey, looking good today" as "you deserve this time out from the day, you've worked hard for it".
Neuro-linguistic programming is the organising principle behind thought patterns – that is, the effect of language on the subconscious. Using structured language patterns to form a voice and neuro-technology to create binaural beats, Pzizz sends suggestions of relaxation to the brain and encourages it to sink into a deeply relaxed state. Or, in layman's terms, after listening to pleasant yet eerily anonymous sounds, punctuated by soundbites of optimism and nuggets of self-belief that are whispered by an American who sounds uncannily like Baz Lurhmann, you are left feeling relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated.
You decide how long you want to listen to Pzizz (anywhere from 10-60 minutes), put on the earphones, close your eyes and let the power of positive suggestion penetrate your over-worked and under-paid subconscious. And the more you use Pzizz, the quicker you will relax, as your subconscious learns how to respond to language patterns and sounds.
It sounds like an ideal remedy for that afternoon slump that hits most of us: that hour of limbo between 3pm and 4pm, when home-time seems far away, eyelids are heavy and a quick 40 winks in the office toilets seems called for. But this has never been practical, let alone comfortable. So perhaps Pzizz offers a remedy for such "office lethargy" – 15 minutes' time out at the computer to have the equivalent of a power nap, before returning to your work with renewed enthusiasm and energy.
However, it is not so easy to switch off from whatever species of "life overload" may be testing our ability to relax, and from which Pzizz is supposed to offer us a respite. Phones will always need answering, faxes sending and bosses pleasing. To take 10 minutes out from work with no distractions is a tall order.
Perhaps I wasn't open to positive suggestion during my first trial of Pzizz, but I couldn't allow myself to relax while at work. There were too many things waiting to be done and I spent my allocated 15 minutes of Pzizz time writing a "to do" list. Relaxing is a thing I do best in front of EastEnders, not at work – the worries of Albert Square in front of me, rather than my own.
However, my second attempt at Pzizz on the commute home was more successful. Despite my hostile surroundings – 50 or so irate City types crammed into a train delayed by more than an hour – I wanted to give Pzizz another try. And after 40 minutes, eyes closed and head down, I felt calm, de-stressed and detached from the chaos around me. I hadn't fallen asleep, simply switched off, and for a brief time I became impervious to the bedlam of commuter hell.
But Pzizz doesn't come cheap. At £247, I think I'll have to forgo the peace that I found on my journey home. And my few spare moments at work are probably best used grabbing a Mars and a cuppa from the canteen, rather than trying the boss's patience by closing my eyes, ignoring the phone and putting on a pair of headphones. For all he knows, it could be Kylie I'm listening to.
Pzizz is available exclusively online at www.pzizz.com or via freephone 0800 781 2507. Price is £247, including delivery. Pzizz is produced by BrainwaveReuse content