If you feel you need to be busy then stop and think about why that might be. There are times in our lives when we need to be busy – we can be juggling many responsibilities at once and most of them revolve around work, family and social life. We want to have a good balance to make our lives as happy as possible but are we actually creating this? Or are we diminishing our happiness in the process of being too busy?
We are living in a society where we are very distracted with phones, TV and internet but even as we’re distracted we’re trying constantly to focus. Now, focus can be a positive thing but not when it stops us from being mindful of our surroundings and ourselves. Busy-ness in essence is robbing us of our present moment. We all know that relaxing is a way of recharging our batteries and we should all do it but for some of us it comes with a price and that price is not getting things done, letting people down, the constant feeling of needing to be out seeing friends or picking up kids from here and there.
When we sit quietly and don’t think about anything or do anything, this can start to feel uncomfortable – that itching feeling that we need to be doing something or that voice in your head saying You can’t sit here doing nothing, you have a million things to do! and so the busy-ness ensues until we’re exhausted and worn down – never giving ourselves the chance to stop and simply do nothing.
But next time your little voice starts piping up remember this: magical things happen when you sit quietly and do nothing. When we take a break and stare into space our brain isn’t doing nothing – the unconscious part of our brain is much faster and smarter and processes information on a much higher level than our conscious mind. So taking breaks actually allows us to access a much more powerful part of our brain and gives this part of our brain a chance to work.
In an earlier blog post Simple Kindness Promotes Big Happiness I wrote about how kindness is important to our overall happiness. Studies have also shown that busy-ness reduces our ability to be kind to others. A Samaritan study was conducted at Princeton University campus where students were asked to help someone who seemed to be having cardiovascular problems – for those that weren’t rushed to get to class, 60% stopped to help. For those that were a minute or two late for class, there was a 10% drop in the number of students that helped out – quite a decrease in kindness just by feeling a little bit busy.
Another important reason to stop and relax is to be aware of our feelings and emotions. Being busy tends to mask how we’re really feeling about something. We don’t even have time to process – as a result we can end up suppressing negative emotions that need tending to or just not appreciating and taking in any positive things that have happened in our day. Being aware of our emotions, positive and negative, are essential to our happiness and well-being.
It’s essential for our happiness to be mindful of what we do in our day. Is it really necessary to stay in bed for an extra 15 minutes and then create stress by rushing to get ready when we could have had a more relaxing morning routine? Is it necessary to always arrange plans after work so you have no down-time in the week? You could be missing out on a huge number of things because you’re busy rushing about – simple conversations, noticing what’s going on around you or just enjoying the present moment. Simple changes can bring a greater ease into your life. Try to find ways to alleviate the need to be busy – has it just become a way of life?
Approaching life in a more relaxed, mindful way is so important to our everyday happiness which in turn will benefit those around you. Cut out the unnecessary busy-ness and make sure that you take the time out to relax, recharge your brain and not worry about to-do lists – the world will keep on turning if you’re not doing something right this second and your happiness levels will thank you for it 🙂