Recently I wondering how we got so sucked into technology in our idle time. I then had a quote shouted to me by my subconscious by one of my favorite men.
"It is the working man who is happy. It is the idle man who is the miserable man."
Technology gives the illusion of productivity and action
Sitting around mindlessly on technology pleases the brain, but the idle-ness otherwise caused by these actions can create the recipe for misery.
Take time away from technology and use it as a tool, not a companion.
I've mentioned on the show several times that I sold my HDTV 5 years ago. It was the best decision of my life. I'm not saying you have to do this to be happy, but it sure helps.
What else is there to do in life?
It seems that since smartphones, twitter and the general noise of the internet world has picked up speed that we've long forgotten about the quiet and peaceful world that is the "outside world". Nature is quiet, peaceful and provides a huge amount of wisdom that is waiting to be absorbed.
Go for a walk
We've all experienced being on the verge of a breakdown.
The bills are adding up, work is stressful, feeding a hungry family is taking its toll along with the stressors of everyday life in the city. Grabbing your thermos and filling it with spring water is the first step. Head out to a local trail by searching your city's website or on Yelp and leave everything else behind. It doesn't take long to realize the peace and beauty that nature provides. Simply walking 5 minutes on a trail into the woods will remind you that buildings and concrete isn't so beautiful after all.
You don't have to be an expert musician to create music.
You don't have to be an expert artist to create art.
And you don't have to be an engineer to build something (well maybe if you want it to stay standing!). The point is that we all have to start somewhere. Starting out with a basic art kit is sure to provide plenty of fun. You could also pick up an acoustic guitar that is cheap enough that if you don't play it often, you won't feel bad about it. The point is that when you immerse yourself in the act of creating something, whether it's art or music, we tend to engage in the flow state. This state is responsible for allowing us to relax, slow down the mental chatter and enjoy ourselves.
Find some great tunes
An interesting study found that 1-2 hours of music therapy for 8 weeks showed a great improvement in seasonal depression (SAD). I've experienced the many benefits of music myself as I use different genres such as jazz, electronic, reggae, funk and classical music to help inspire thoughts, write articles and blog posts.
Here is a particularly groovy song (and entertaining video) that is helping me write this article. Certain bass lines and instruments can literally turn on certain centers in the brain linked to emotion! This is why cultures across the world have such a vested interest in music. Another study looking at neurotransmitter function and production from music is pretty interesting too.
Here's an fMRI video showing the HUGE changes in the brain during music playing.
Hopefully you've spent some time looking around the podcast and blog archives on the site. It turns out that learning things, especially how to play an instrument, creates an increase in white matter in the brain. This is the material that allows higher cognitive abilities and makes you a genius. Here is a much more scientific explanation on the whole process. Long story short, learning is a good thing, helps the brain adapt to situations and allows you to have more overall brain power.
Learn, read, listen, keep absorbing information and applying it! Don't ever think that "life is boring" or "everything has been discussed or thought of".. no it hasn't!
In an article all about action, doing nothing seems a bit strange. However, it's in the times that I've stopped doing everything and just sat down that some of the greatest thoughts have surfaced. You can discover new ways to tackle old problems when you sit there and think about it. When we are constantly bombarded with social media updates, emails, texts and the like, it's no surprise that we feel like time is passing without us getting much done.
You will find that stopping everything and just taking in your surroundings and sitting there smelling the air around you can stimulate new thoughts and thought patterns. Try it out! I won't keep you any longer!
Sometimes, and that only means SOME times, sitting and doing nothing is good for your health.
After you sit for a minute and think, what came to mind? Comment Below