DANA'S MINDFUL MINUTE: THE POWER OF DOING NOTHING
posted: May 19, 2023.
INSPIRATION THIS WEEK: BUSY BUSY BUSY!
Welcome to the American dream! You can have anything you want and be anything you want to be...as long as you're willing to pour blood sweat and tears into working non-stop. We have grown accustomed to this high-productivity society. We have become "yes" people where we keep piling on the work and lengthening the hours we work. It is now a sense of pride to say how we have not used any PTO time or that we worked those extra hours on a project.
And to top it off, when we stop and relax a moment, that voice jumps in and says "you're being lazy." So we feel guilty and then just turn over to mind-numbing activities instead. Or we just don't take a break.
But is all of this hustle and bustle actually helping us get ahead? Is it enhancing our lives? Can we actually multitask like we think we can?
THEME OF THE WEEK: THE POWER OF DOING NOTHING
The answer to the above questions is a simple no. Doing nothing is NOT something to feel guilty or feel like a failure for. It is actually essential to our cognitive functioning and actually makes us more productive in the long run.
We tend to think, and have been taught, that our minds are most focused when we are concentrating on work or a project. Yes, in part that is true, but our brain is spotlighting and narrowing its focus on one specific area.
When we practice doing nothing, our brains light up different areas, including the executive functioning section. Have you ever came up with a great idea or figured out a solution in the middle of the night or in the shower? Probably...72% of people report experiencing new ideas when taking a shower. That is because our brain has access to a wider part, and allows for those new thoughts and connections to be formed.
Let's think of our brain like a computer, because let's face it, it is! It's so incredibly complex and controls all of the other parts of our body. Can your laptop or phone run continuously without recharging? No! It needs to recharge...and so does our brain! When we give our brain a chance to recharge, we give it the chance to process information, organize it, and build up more energy reserves. Thus decreasing feelings of stress and overwhelm...and allowing us to be more effective when we return to work!
But here's the rub on taking a break...you actually have to do nothing. So no scrolling on social media, checking emails, texting, chores, binging Netflix. You need to truly stop all activity. Examples of doing nothing include sitting on your porch watching nature, meditation, coloring, or any kind of simple mundane task that does not require any thought.
CHALLENGE THIS WEEK: CARVE OUT TIME FOR DOING NOTHING
I want you to find small windows of time in your day to do nothing. Let's start small with 5 minutes for those of you who may find this hard to do, or say you "don't have time." While it may seem counter intuitive, I promise by allowing your brain to actually rest and recharge, you will find that you are going to buy back some time later. You will have more energy, you will actually be more effective which then banks you extra time, and you will feel less stressed out. Give it a try!
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