What happens when you do nothing? | Sunday Observer

What happens when you do nothing?

24 October, 2021

The pace of life today threatens to spin out of control. Mothers are busy looking after their children, schooling and household chores. Fathers are equally busy travelling to and from work and working extra hours to earn a few rupees more into the kitty to cover the spiralling cost of food.

Even children have a fair share of responsibilities with homework and tuition classes. It looks like all of us are running a rat race to realize different objectives. The ultimate result of such a rat race is that we become stressed. When you have to follow tight deadlines, the situation becomes worse. Are you going to suffer from stress or manage it?

Human beings are not wired to suffer in silence. They always try out new ways to cope with their mounting problems. The situation is the same when it comes to managing stress. You may have seen busy executives after returning from a stormy board meeting sit in their seats, close their eyes and take a few good, long deep breaths. They say a minute or two is often all it takes to calm down. You really begin to appreciate the power of stress relief after a nasty accident or hospitalisation.

In developed countries there are Stress Management Centres for people struggling with emotional trauma. In developing countries such centres are hard to find but there are people who are ready to do psychological counselling. Many people who had followed simple techniques recommended by counsellors turn around in their health and moods.

If you are stressed out, you have to find a quiet oasis in order to preserve your sanity. Constant stressful situations can harm the heart and even promote clogged arteries. A sudden surge of stress hormones in the bloodstream will weaken the body’s immune system. When your immunity breaks down, you are opening the floodgates for various infections such as colds and flu. Some people will even suffer from asthma and cancer due to high levels of stress.

Advances in medicine

With modern advances in medicine and psychology, there is no need to panic. Doctors and psychologists have tried out various methods to quell stress levels. Scientists at West Virginia University taught a group of adults a meditative approach to stress management. It produced good results with volunteers feeling less anxious and fewer stress symptoms.

Students at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia were taught easy ways to defuse stress. What is more, those who practise stress reducing methods will strengthen their immune cells circulating in their bloodstream.

You do not have to launch a life and death struggle to tame stress. The only problem is that some people say they have no time to stop and destress. They do not understand that they do not have to spend hours to deal with stress. Some psychological exercises can be done in a few minutes. For this you have to learn the art of calming down in stressful situations.

You may be surprised to hear that one method of dealing with stress is to do nothing. You should be able to spare a few minutes at your workplace or home to sit in a corner and do nothing. Do not even try to read a newspaper at this time. Instead listen to the sound of moving vehicles or birds chirping in the trees. When you really focus on the outside world most of your tensions will vanish. Whenever I feel any tension in my neck or shoulders, I open the window and look at the flowing waters of the Bolgoda river. It gives me tremendous relief.

A daunting task

When ancient Greeks promoted the idea that you should fill every minute with meaningful action, they did not mean that you should keep yourself busy all the time. On the other hand, most people find it a daunting task to remain doing nothing. They want to do something all the time. You have to get out of that mental frame.

According to Robin Guerth, founder of the Stress Management Centre of Marin, we are so used to thinking of our worth in terms of what we get done. To stay doing nothing can be a real struggle.

What happens when you do nothing? It reduces your blood pressure and slows down the heart rate. As you are aware, these are two obvious effects of stress. If you can stay doing nothing, it can change your perspective of life and increase your sense of control over events. The simple truth is that you cannot change the past or predict the future. Be wary of people who predict your future. However, you have some control over the present moment. When you stay doing nothing, think of the present moment.

Most people do not laugh loudly, they only smile. In order to get rid of stress, you have to laugh out loud whenever possible. There are people who do not laugh even if they see a Charlie Chaplin film. They think laughing loud is infra dig. I have met a couple of people who never laugh loud. They only smile even if you crack the best joke in the world.

If you do not get an opportunity to laugh loud, go and see a rib-tickling comedy or read a book full of jokes. When I feel stressed I read Khushwant Singh’s ‘Joke Books.’ His jokes will make you laugh out loud. Researcher Lee Berk says a good belly laugh will reduce levels of the stress hormones and boost immunity. The effect of such a laugh will last 24 hours.

Soothing music

If you feel stressed, play soothing music. It can be classical, country or jazz. A lot of people find classical music most relaxing. Psychologist Elise Labbe who has done many experiments on the calming effects of music at the University of South Alabama says, “Whatever music that feels most calming to you is the one that is most likely to help ease stress.” Unfortunately, there are people who never listen to music. They are missing one of the lasting joys of life.

With all the wars, acts of terrorism, intrigue, and fraud, the world is still a beautiful place to live in. If you can entertain such feelings all the time, you will never be under stress. A lot of stress comes from negative emotions such as anger, hatred, grudges, and jealousy. If you can stay away from them, the chances are that you will be stress free.

Start the day in a relaxed mood. Never take your troubles to bed with you because they are likely to disrupt your sleep. Begin and end each day by taking a minute or two to relax your body and mind.

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