Posts Tagged With: Music

Idleness > Busyness

Have you ever caught yourself lying in bed looking at the fan lazily turning over, or gazing at the waves lapping the shore, or just dreaming – in fact, doing nothing? If not yet, then just reading the first line made you long for it. Ignorantly, we call this wasting time. But and in this age of ‘busyness’, idleness could be the way to be. The stress, the chaos, the ‘no time for yourself’ life – doing nothing – could be the only way to give your mind that craved for peace and refresh your energies.

La dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing) – is a way of life perfected by the Italians, especially those in the South. (Spaniards and Greeks do it too, but the poetic Italian words take my vote everytime!) I learned about this concept while watching Elizabeth Gilbert’s masterpiece – ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. The scene is set in a barbershop in Rome, where Julia and her friend get educated on the ways of the Italians. One of the male characters rubbishes the American idea of ‘relaxing’ – working themselves to the bone all week just so they can lay around in their pyjamas on weekends, down six packs and watch other people live their lives on TV. And then he presents the concept of la dolce far niente.

Based on the premise that doing nothing is actually an activity in itself, this idea can develop your problem-solving ability. It can make you creative. It could make you a solution seeker. Research says all these qualities are borne out of letting your thoughts wander randomly. Giving your brain time for self-reflection, improves the quality of your life.

Bill Watterson, the creator of that famous comic strip ‘Calvin & Hobbes’ said, “There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” ‘Time-wasting’ might actually become the movement for people who find themselves running on a treadmill of activity, that has sapped their strength to the extent that they don’t function like normal human beings anymore.

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Says author Manjiri Prabhu, “Doing nothing is actually far more productive than people think. For me, it also includes not thinking of doing anything, taking long walks, connecting with nature, watching movies, listening to music, chatting with friends, family or playing with dogs. These things nourish my soul.”

Research shows that indulging in hours, even days, of nothingness is a smarter way to live and work. Realising the need to give people’s brains the much-needed vacuum, companies such as 3M, Pixar, Google, Twitter and Facebook, have made ‘disconnected time’ a key aspect of their workplace. To be disconnected, is possibly, the first step to an idle mind. This January, France passed a law that gives citizens the “right to disconnect” after office hours. They cannot be forced or asked to check official emails or respond to them after work hours.

We have all been told that people who whiled away time were not doing anything useful with their life. But in this age of 24×7 ‘connectedness’, we crave – even lust for – seconds of serenity. Even as we think, we yearn to give our mind a rest. Our fingers are furiously working our smartphones or tablets while other people’s lives and comments occupy our headspace. Fashionably saying “I’m busy” to everyone, we take pleasure in the self-serving indulgence of ‘busyness’. We have enough warning about the ill effects of the ‘connect crave’ and recent studies have shown that our brains get a dopamine hit each time we experience something new. As we scroll through our social media, we get a ‘high’. Given this, Idleness, as a feeling, will not come easy.

A different perspective is brought in by life coach Jasmin Waldmann, who tells us that people are scared to be caught from doing nothing. She explains, “You are confronted with your inner self, and not all of it is ‘sunshine’.” We tend to be happy with mindless activities – phone, social media, TV, etc – that lets us live in the happy bubble we have created around ourselves, instead of letting our thoughts wander off to nothing-land. Author Sanil Sachar’s reasons for the unease is a little different. He says, “Everyone is running to outdo others in this made up rat race. There’s a fear of doing nothing because people think someone else is doing something you should be indulging in.”

How does one go about being idle? Waiting at that traffic signal – still your mind instead of muttering under your breath. In your seat before the film begins or awaiting company at your appointment – don’t play with your phone, just let your mind rest. Take work breaks and let your mind wander to far-off places, or just let it be blank. A blank slate is the best place to start over.

Relaxation, which we seek and yearn for – does not exist in the exotic, in the unknown or in the rare. Relaxation exists within each of us and is ours for the taking if we’re willing to put in the effort towards La dolce far niente – the sweetness of doing nothing!

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Sadness – The Key To Happiness !

Believe it or not, Sadness – the opposite of Happiness – itself is the key to happiness. It sparks a new meaning and purpose in our life. Though it seems like the end of the road, but the truth is that it generally proves to be the beginning of another road. Therefore, even if you feel caught up in a situation when nothing strikes your mind, and you find yourself standing in the middle of nowhere, you must not lose hope. Let’s see how we can go there ….

Start Each Day With A New Hope
“Negativity is the enemy of creativity.” – David Lynch.

Begin each day with a feeling of gratitude and don’t let negative thoughts make your day begin on a sad note. Convince yourself that today is going to be a beautiful day. Creativity prospers under happy conditions and diminishes under sad ones. Negativity perpetuates itself, breeds dissatisfaction and clutters the mind.  And when the mind is already cluttered with negativity there will be no space for creativity.
Do What You Are Passionate About
“Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life’’ – Marc Antony.

People are not happy with their life because their jobs do not satisfy them. So do a job that gives a feeling of fulfilment. Improve the quality of your life. Make a list of the top things you like to do in your spare time. Don’t include necessary household duties like grocery shopping. List all your favorite things – like reading, walking in the park or painting. Having an understanding of the types of activities that you enjoy will help you incorporate them and find a job you’re passionate about.

Work on Yourself
“Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.” – Kim Collins.

No one is perfect and there is always scope for improvement. Work towards your goals and dreams by introducing changes in yourself. This can and should include imparting knowledge and sharing your craft with others. A culture of continuous improvement is one in which individuals are growing, learning and contributing to the overall goal. Identify your weaknesses, strengthen these with training. Ask and answer questions. Give yourself room for experimentation and allow yourself to make mistakes. Making, recognizing and rectifying mistakes is the true training ground for continuous improvement.

Revitalize your body
“Yoga is a way to freedom. By its constant practice, we can free ourselves from fear, anguish and loneliness.” – Indra Devi
Amidst the hustle and bustle of trying to have a perfect life, we often tend to lose focus on our body. So, every morning, spend at least 10 minutes indulging in some form of exercise – simple yoga can help stretch your body and prepare your mind for the day ahead. Exercising in the morning is a great way to start your day. It gets you pumped and lets your body release “happy chemicals” – endorphins. Exposure to the morning light triggers your biological clock. Exercise floods your body systems – which have been sleeping – with energy and brings the feeling of ‘freshness’. Concentration on the exercise regimen can de-clutter the mind allowing space for new thoughts and creative ideas.

Listen to Music
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” – Bono

Music has a magical effect on our body when it comes to relieving stress. It has been proven to change our moods.  This is why shoppers use it, and why therapists also recommend it. The smooth melody and soothing harmony just washes all one’s worries away. Music not only helps you to relax, it focuses the mind and improves concentration. According to some theories, studying with music, makes you smarter! And it inspires those lacking in hope. So, plug in your earphones and tune into a soothing song, letting yourself loose. The simple activity will energize your senses and make you feel on top of the world.

Give Someone A Hug
“I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.” – Ann Hood

Everybody likes to get a hug once in a while. It’ll make both of you feel good. Know that what you are going through is very common. The simplest human touch when one is not expecting it, or even when one is expecting it, can deliver such joy and contentment. A hug is a step up, and so many of us don’t meet our daily hug quota. Hugging builds stronger bonds with the people you see everyday. It lowers stress – releasing cortisol in the body. It will turn a bad mood upside down.  Hugging reconnects the mind with the body. When chaos builds – which it does rapidly in the workplace, behind the wheel, while on the computer – a good hug can reconnect us to that idea of conscious existence. A good hug has the power to prompt us towards better posture, deeper breathing, and a more relaxed state of being.

Talk To Someone
“I enjoy being around people. I also love talking to people – which is why I think I did so well.” – Kevin Hart

Talk to someone you trust about what you are feeling – they can help you sort through your emotions. Sharing your feelings helps, especially when your feelings are not so good. It can be really hard not to tell anyone that you’re feeling sad, worried, or upset. Then, it’s just you and these bad feelings. If you keep feelings locked inside, it will make you sick. But when you talk with someone who cares for you – like your mom or dad – you will almost always start to feel better. Now you’re not all alone with your problems or worries. It doesn’t mean your problems and worries magically disappear, but at least someone else knows what’s bothering you and can help you find solutions. Sometimes you need help. And if you do, talking about your feelings can be the first step toward getting it.

Keep Working Towards your Goal
“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” – Tom Landry

People who sit back and wait for something to happen are usually the ones who do not achieve anything in life. Once you have it all figured out in life, start working towards it. Don’t wait for someone to do it for you. Get down to the basics. Be specific about what you want to achieve. The, draw up a plan of action, listing the steps. Read and listen to advice. Re-assess your goals and your achievement status. When you feel that you are lagging, research alternative plans. Visualize and focus on your goal. And above all, take action. Don’t just ‘be in motion’, Motion is when you’re busy doing something, but that task will never produce an outcome by itself. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will get you a result.
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