We live in a busy world where people pride themselves on being constantly on the go and having to juggle many things in their lives just to survive, but I sometimes wonder what we are running from. I’m not commending laziness, but when things are crowding in on us we might do better to take time out and do nothing at all than to run around in circles achieving little whilst appearing to be busy.
In this age, even when we are resting we are checking mobile phones or flicking television channels. The art of silent reflection is gradually being lost.
When we have been exceptionally busy, or stressed, or angry, or full of some other emotion, doing nothing allows our body to return to its normal state. Anger and stress raise the blood pressure and pulse and therefore if they are not alleviated, the pressure builds in the body and puts us at risk.
Mentally and emotionally, we lose perspective when we allow our thoughts to get out of control. Being busy prevents us finding that perspective through quiet reflection. Alcohol might help us to forget the busyness for a while, but when we return to the real world nothing has changed.
Of course, if we are doing nothing and someone comes along who wants us to do something for them, then we have no ‘excuse’, but we don’t need an excuse to say ‘no’. Sometimes we need to show kindness to ourselves by allowing ourselves the rest and quiet that we need. Only then will we be able to calmly and patiently help others.
We somehow think that if we work longer and harder we will get more done. Of course it does depend a little on the task in hand. I know from experience that getting on top of a lot of admin and paperwork requires a hard slog and time.
As Manfred Kets De Vries says on the website forbes.com
By giving the brain ‘downtime’ we can improve mental health and allow ideas to incubate.