What's so great about being busy?

When did being busy begin to equate being important or successful?  For so many of us, our automatic response to “How are you?” is “Busy.”  But why? Turns out, there’s actually some pretty solid science behind it (check out this and this for starters), and it’s actually quite fascinating.  But it’s nonetheless worrisome.

A Drop in the Ocean - What's so Great About Being Busy

Being busy is a status symbol.  If you have time to relax, you’re judged as not being successful.  We’ve even built into our laws here in America that once you reach a salaried position, you don’t need to be paid overtime anymore - it’s literally your job to work extra hours and not get paid for it (again, check this article out).

We also treat being busy as if it’s something completely out of our control.  But the truth is, we are the only ones in control of our own life. We are choosing to be busy.  And it’s stressing us out. I love this article, outlining six reasons we would be happier even if we just stopped using the word “busy.”  Mainly, by saying we are “busy,” we are prohibiting ourselves from being present. Just saying the word so many times in this post I’m getting stressed out.  The word “busy” elicits a stress response - to do lists, long work hours, and packed-to-the-brim schedules are all inherent in the word.

A Drop in the Ocean - What's so Great About Being Busy

Last year I led a one-month plastic free challenge at work.  True to the scientist in me, I conducted pre-, post- and six-month-post-surveys to gauge how participants used and felt about plastics.  In all three surveys, several participants responded that they were too busy to focus on plastic. Now, I know that we all have those times in our lives when things get hectic.  But we all need a break. Are we really too busy to care for our minds, our bodies, and our earth? I was listening to a wonderful podcast the other day, and one of the comments that really struck me was that we don’t need to deserve a break.  We can - and should - just take a break.

Remember the saying “stop and smell the roses”?  How much more enjoyable, peaceful, and healthful would our lives be if we truly lived by that saying?  What if we all take just fifteen seconds to look up from our smartphone, appreciate the landscape in front of us, and take a few deep breaths?  I’m not saying it’ll always be easy, and like everything else in life, it’ll take practice. And maybe, just maybe, along the way we’ll find the time for passion, peace, and protecting our earth.

Photo 1 | Katie Dell on Facebook
Photo 2 | Austin Neill on Unsplash
Photo 3 | Ian Schneider on Unsplash



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