25 May The Glorification of Busy
There’s no glory in being busy. You end up tired, burned out and unfulfilled. The worst part is that the to-do list rarely shortens; there are always a multitude of tasks to complete. Why is this? In an age where technology supposedly makes everything more convenient, why are we busier than ever? It’s time to cease the glorification of busy.
Busy isn’t just the pace of your life; busy is a state of mind.
American society values productivity over happiness and scorns relaxation as laziness. This originates in an unhealthy value system, pushing us to work more and produce more, but in turn, it glorifies productivity to the point that we believe that busy is equivalent to important, and that those who are busiest must, by extension, be the most powerful and valuable.
Success is measured in monetary terms, signifying that a person’s salary means more than their experiences. What we earn never seems like enough and we find ourselves pushing the limits of our health and well-being to make more, to be more. When we abandon boundaries, we lose awareness regarding the needs of our body and mind. We become numb, and both our health and mental well-being suffers.
This isn’t to say we go crazy or are outright miserable. It’s more subtle. We feel tired all the time, struggle with anxiety or depression, and feel bored or unsatisfied with our daily life. Our health declines, too. We drink more coffee, take more prescription medications and get sick more often. And all the busyness that drives toward more productivity and wealth drives us farther away from health and happiness. In that system, we simply don’t have time to prepare healthy meals and eat well, to exercise and invest time into resting and relaxation, or to do things that make us happy.
But what if we redefined success, beyond standards of money or power? What if we based it on healthiness and happiness?
1. We’d get some sleep.
Sleep is seriously undervalued in our society. Expressions like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” show our distaste toward the idea of truly resting, implying its uselessness. The truth is that sleep is critical to proper brain function. It also decreases stress. Apart from sleeping at night, take naps if it feels natural to you. Naps have a profound effect, changing mood, increasing productivity and alertness. Note: if you nap, try to keep them short.
2. We’d do things that make us laugh.
Laughter is immensely powerful, helping us in the short run and over time. Immediate benefits of laughter are stress reduction from increased circulation and muscle relaxation, organ stimulation from additional oxygen, improved moods, and endorphins. But that’s not all. Over time, laughter can actually make you happier, allowing you to see things with a fresh perspective, a sense of humor, and helping you to cope with challenging situations. It also improves your immune system.
3. We’d eat well.
For much of human history, life revolved around eating. It required much more thought and work than it does today. Our society often treats eating as an annoyance to be dealt with quickly and easily, or as a guilty pleasure. Eating clean food from good sources goes a long way toward making us happy and healthy. It gives us more energy, affecting how we look, feel, think, and act.
4. We’d be more active.
Exercise isn’t just about the fashion of fit. It’s a major stress reducer, releasing endorphins and removing toxins through sweat. It helps clear the mind, too. Giving us time to think through ideas or just let the mind be quiet. Many of us spend so much time disassociated from our bodies, sitting in a desk. Connecting to our bodies means our bodies are active, but our mind can also have a chance to be still.
5. We’d get outdoors.
Being in nature has been proven to reduce stress and relax us. Even seeing greenery through a window improves productivity at work, increasing focus and drive. You don’t have to be an outdoor enthusiast to see how this could benefit you. A walk through the neighborhood or a moment on a park bench can refresh you.
6. We’d be kinder and more compassionate.
When we disconnect with ourselves, we disconnect with others. We may notice it in our interpersonal relationships with family and friends, difficulties in teambuilding with co-workers, or a lack of compassion toward strangers. When we feel like we’re constantly in a rush, we don’t have time to ponder other people and how to be patient or respect them.
7. We’d take time to be quiet.
Surrounded by noise, it’s hard to be reflective or think clearly. With constant distractions, how can we get to the bottom of what really inspires us and makes us happy? How can we build new projects or envision new ideas? Taking time to be quiet seems silly in our society. It’s viewed as lazy and fruitless, but that time can result in some of our greatest ideas.
8. We’d actually be more productive!
Not surprisingly, the healthier and happier we are, the more productive we are as well. Thinking clearly and quickly, we can get the job done better than ever. Productivity means setting boundaries, not overworking ourselves and allowing for happiness in our lives. Without those things, we get burned out and feel unfulfilled.
Everyone’s journey starts somewhere. What can you do to start living happier and healthier today? Please share your experiences in the comments below.