We’re plagued by the disease of busyness. Stress can take a toll. But it doesn’t have to.
Americans are plagued by the disease of busyness. We live in a culture dominated by the never-ending burdens of work, school, social life, family, and countless other daily responsibilities like paying bills and keeping up with our health. We feel pressured into buying a new car, getting our kids into more activities, taking fewer vacation days, taking a vacation from our vacation, and ultimately being the embodiment of the American dream. Some experts even think that being too busy is a form of status signaling.
We spend our days working hard so we can play hard. But even playing can be stressful. We spend untold hours competing with each other on social media for more likes and shares and comparing our “perfect” lives.
There just aren’t enough hours in the day, and all of this stress can take a toll. But it doesn’t have to …
Know the Difference Between Normal and Chronic Stress
This constant state of being busy does considerable damage to our physical and mental health. What can we do about this disease of busyness?
First of all, understanding stress is key to properly managing it. Routine stress affects everyone. It’s natural, and we’re built to handle regular daily stresses. Stress can even be a good thing or even a life saver in the right context. However, chronic or prolonged stress can have serious negative effects on our physical and mental health.
Always being at attention creates a cycle of stress response in your body. This disease of busyness can seriously impact your immune, digestive, sleep, and reproductive systems, which may cause them to stop working normally if not addressed.
Recognizing the disease of busyness in your own life is the first step. Once you’ve identified the problem, it’s time to take action. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Make time to examine your life. Add some poetry to the monotony.
Focus on the beauty, the intensity, and the emotion in your life. Make time for healing and regeneration. Understand that perfection is a myth and take some practical steps to cure your disease of busyness.
Here are some practical tips for building in time and space for regeneration:
- Intentionally build space in your schedule to arrive early rather than packing meetings back to back with little or no transition or travel time.
- Notice your breath and body sensations.
- Start business meetings with a check-in, one-minute meditation, or moment of silence.
- Create time to connect meaningfully with colleagues. Actually get to know them.
- Slow down your conversations to focus attention and make room for thoughtful inquiry, listening, and deliberation.
- Take breaks in your day to stand up, stretch, walk around, and get outside.
- Carry a journal or small notebook with you and regularly write down your thoughts, feelings, and creative ideas – or use it to explore solutions.
- Create “no email” zones in your day where you can have time to think or concentrate on planning or creative projects.
- Learn to say “no” sometimes, even when you always feel compelled to say “yes.”
Is There Really a Cure for the Disease of Busyness?
There’s no wonder drug for curing busyness, but you can take practical steps to maintain your own health and do your best to have meaningful interactions with others.
You can try Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi, Holy Basil) as an adaptogen supplement to help you regain balance and reduce stress. Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) may also help with mental clarity, mental rejuvenation, and focus.
It really comes down to choices. If you choose to live a thoughtful, conscious life by taking even a small moment each day to observe and reflect, you will be well on your way to combatting the disease of busyness and improving your overall health.