It’s that time of year when things begin to go dormant for a season. I see this as a time to recharge, re-purpose our energy and rejuvenate our minds and our bodies. But, if there’s one thing you’re not supposed to do in our culture - it’s nothing. Idleness is socially unaccepted, frowned upon, seen as careless and self-indulgent. However, plenty of research has shown that it’s essential to our health, happiness, and productivity.
If a leisurely lifestyle is a new concept to you, try out the following suggestions as the world quiets down around you this season:
Zip, Zero, Zilch
· When you don’t give your brain time to do what is considered background sorting and filing, your mental “inbox” starts to overflow. You might experience this as stress, fatigue, irritability or a noticeable decline in memory, focus or mental capacity.
· The moment you pull your attention away from productive, focused tasks and allow your attention to drift, your brain’s “network” kicks into high gear. This is the neurological state when “A-HA” moments happen.
· Even Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison made time for frequent walks, naps and the opportunity to daydream, recognizing that the act of doing nothing produced better results than being mentally active.
· Not only does busyness rob you of daily pleasure, it also releases a cascade of pro-inflammatory, stress related hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
· When you put the brakes on, you give your body a chance to detox and re-balance. When in a resting state, your body begins releasing biochemicals that encourage digestion, restoration and repair.
· Staying plugged into our electronics, particularly with every free moment we have, keeps our body and mind from important repairing opportunities.
Reclaiming the Quiet Moments
· Make a conscious decision to be a human being instead of a human doing. Reject the idea that you always must be busy. Be willing to challenge your own perceptions and stories about what you “have to do”.
· Find time in your day to deliberately pause in order to recharge your mind and body. This can make for some dramatic results in the times you do need to be productive.
· Don’t limit your time off to weekends and vacations. Reclaim some moments daily. As you build more idle time into your days, it’s likely you’ll find you’re enjoying your life more and accomplishing more of what makes your life meaningful.
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