“Why am I so Frick’n Bored?”
Resilient Living through the Holidays
A researcher at the University of Virginia did a study to see if we adults could just be in a room by ourselves with nothing to distract ourselves with for 20 minutes. If you wanted to get out of the room sooner, you had the option to zap yourself with a bit of an electrical shock which hurt but didn’t harm you.
The number of people who opted out early was over 85%. The only people who stayed in the room for the whole time were women. The coordinator of the study concluded that we would rather harm ourselves than be alone with our own thoughts. That’s how bored we have become.
Answer these questions honestly: Do you multitask your way through life? Do you find yourself constantly making a to-do list or planning? Do you feel restless if you aren’t doing something? Do you think you don’t have time to meditate or engage in other self-care? Do you eat to keep yourself busy or from being bored? If so, then you may have become a “human doing”, rather than a “human being.”
The art of “being human” has been lost in the midst of our need for entertainment, distraction, and constant motion. And although everyone thinks they are too busy, if you ask them to sit and meditate or just take a breath, there is often a resistance to it. So, we have quite the conundrum. I can’t “be” because I’m too busy. Well, really, busy is just a good excuse to not do anything anymore.
On a personal note, and for those of you that know me well, know that I have carried extra weight for most of the past 25 years. The only way that I was able to drop 50 lbs these past few years is by mindfully taking time in my day to “Just Be”.
When we take time to be quiet with ourselves, meditate, in prayer, soak in your bathtub, or walk in nature and allow our thoughts to just percolate, our body relaxes and in this state, our cortisol levels (the stress hormone) drop.
That is simply the only way to drop excess weight as we age. But not only that, in these ‘just be’ spaces is where you find all the creative answers, questions, ideas and thoughts you are looking for.
Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book, Big Magic, “Only when we stop and just be can divinity finally get serious with us.”
This is a practice that simply takes practice. It won’t be easy at first because you will feel odd, slowing down your pace. If you really want to improve all aspects of your life, this essential is ESSENTIAL.
Here are seven tips to help you become human again. Try them on a regular basis and notice how you feel. You can start with just one and work your way up. Each attempt to come back to sanity will be a healing moment for your mind and body.
1. Do one thing at a time. In other words, don’t multitask. This doesn’t mean that you stop doing a lot of things but it does mean that you do them one at a time. Your brain can only focus on one thing anyway so you’re doing yourself a favor. You’ll be amazed at the time you save by not having to go back over things you missed by multitasking.
2. Check your email, Facebook, and other social media at specific times during the day. These technologies are fantastic but you need to put a frame around them. Don’t constantly check them or you will always be a human doing.
3. When you’re waiting in line, just “be” instead of being impatient. The idea is that every time you have to wait (at the doctor’s office, at a red light, on the phone, etc.), you have a gift of time to just “be.” You can sit and breathe and relax.
4. Take some time to meditate once a day. To have more time, you have to carve a bit of it for yourself every day. We really have more control than we give ourselves credit for. Taking time to meditate is one of the best things you could do for yourself. Don’t worry if you are not great at it right away. Just start with 5 minutes.
5. Make conscious transitions from one activity to another. We generally run from one thing to the other so fast, we don’t consciously make decisions about how to direct our lives. When you finish one activity, stop and take a breath. Consciously decide the next best thing to do. Or as I sometimes put it, stop living your life like a racquet ball game. Be conscious of the transitions between activities in your daily routine.
6. Take a break every 90 minutes and notice yourself taking 5 deep breaths. It is estimated that the average person experiences 50 “fight or flight” responses a day. In order to reverse the effects of stress (cortisol) and bring you back to balance as a human being (instead of a human fighting and fleeing), take a break and breathe.
7. Once a day, be grateful for being alive. This is a pause that refreshes and puts you in touch with the miracle of your life. Just once a day, acknowledge the blessings that you have. You can walk, breathe, eat, smell, laugh, cry, work, love, and just “be.”
I’d love to hear from you. How do you carve time in your day to “just be”?