I’ll admit, in the past, when someone had asked me how I was doing, my response was generally 'busy;' preceded by a dramatic sigh.
When did being stressed and busy become such a badge of honour?
‘Busy!’ ‘So busy.’ ‘Crazy busy,’ have become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing.
These responses, are pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. To which the stock response is, in effect, a congratulation, ‘That’s a good problem to have,’ or ‘There’s nothing wrong with being busy.’
Nowadays it’s almost as if it has become a competition as to who can be the busiest.
Almost everyone (actually, everyone) that I know is busy. Children are just as busy, scheduled down to the half-hour with extracurricular activities. Some are just as tired and stressed as adults.
Ah yes, but it’s 2017 and life is busy, you may say…
This hysteria is not necessarily a condition of the 21st century; it’s something we’ve chosen and accepted as a society.
Busyness is something we collectively (consciously or subconsciously) force one another to do.
Busyness serves as a kind of reassurance that we are “normal”.
I don’t know about you, but if I’m not busy I tend to feel anxious and guilty like I should be working or doing something productive. I worry about what others will think of me; I worry that others will think I’m lazy.
The issue with busyness and stress are that they increase cortisol.
A little biology:
Cortisol (stress hormone), crucially changes your brain chemistry.
Excessive cortisol creates excessive-glutamate that produces free radicals (electrons). These radicals ultimately attack your brain cells, punching holes in the brain cell walls causing them to rupture, and die.
Excessive cortisol can lead to:
⌲ Suppressed immunity
⌲ High blood sugar (hyperglycaemia)
⌲ Insulin resistance
⌲ Carbohydrate cravings
⌲ Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes
⌲ Fat deposits on the face, neck, and belly
⌲ Reduced libido
⌲ Bone loss
⌲ Chronic Fatigue
⌲ Premature Menopause
Yes, of course, we all still have shit to do. We can’t just laze around all day. We have responsibilities, family, bills, etc. etc.
How do we stop glorifying busyness?
I believe that we should start by identifying our priorities in life.
I’ve always told myself that having a successful career will make me feel worthy and fulfilled. I climbed the corporate ladder from a receptionist to manager, in only a few years, but it didn’t make me happy (quite the opposite actually).
Who said that metrics for success should be money and power? These metrics drive us to work longer hours, sleep with our phones, miss important moments with our families and ultimately impact our health.