Monday, October 30, 2006

Common Health Pitfalls: Busyness

Did you realize that your busy-ness may be costing you your health?

It could be.

Other than causing fatigue, busy-ness can also negatively affect your health and ease (causing dis-ease) simply because your body (and mine) isn't designed to be busy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

One thing that is consistent in western society is the constant reinforcement of "multi-tasking", and the "work 'til you drop" celebration. However, I urge you to consider re-evaulating the celebration. Here are just a few reasons to rethink your busy lifestyle:

1) Have you ever carried on a conversation with someone only to realize a few minutes later that you have no idea what was discussed? You may be suffering from what your holistic health coach likes to call "brain-straction". This is not only affecting your ability to retain information, but, it also negatively impacts the people around you. Think about it this way:

If you were talking to someone and they didn't give you their full attention and time, how would you feel? Important? Irrelevant? During your next interaction with that person, how would YOU change due to the knowledge of the first interaction (usually, this will take multiple times - we are creatures of repetition, so, generally, this won't happen after 1 interaction, unless it's particularly pronounced). You may not realize it, but, when you are reading email, writing notes, cleaning, etc when someone is talking to you, you are giving them the impression that they are not important in your world - and, that, in turn will negatively impact their future interactions with you.

What could be a pleasant interaction will turn sour quickly when one of the parties interacting is anxious or less than engaged because of poor previous communications. This will affect your wellness as both the giver and receiver of the behavior. Even when you don't realize it, your brain will process the conversation in a different manner, and will (given enough poor interaction) induce stress and release cortisol (fight or flight) at the meer thought of another interaction.

When your body is in fight or flight, only the most important processes are continued, which results in a decrease in overall wellness.

2) Not enough downtime. When you work 80+ hours a week, 7 days a week, or insist on eating on the run, or can't imagine another way besides juggling 15-20 things at all times, you are causing physical and emotional stress on your body, which, in turn, leads to dis-ease.

Our bodies are designed to work, but, they are not designed to work all the time. If you are having trouble sleeping or find yourself forgetting things often, your body is already giving you warning signals that you aren't given it enough downtime.

When we rest mentally and physically, our body and mind are given the time they need to take care of processes that are important but are often put on hold during times of busyness. These include things like cell restoration and repair, memory work, etc. "Clean up" processes that are necessary for you to perform at your optimum, but, not crucial as far as your body is concerned.

Placing yourself in a position where you are not giving yourself downtime causes a great deal of stress mentally, physically, and emotionally, and, again, will put the body into a state of low level fight or flight - which interferes with proper bodily function.

Downtime is a must - and I don't mean downtime of reading the paper, listening to the TV and talking on the phone! I mean real quiet downtime. I've had people tell me they don't need it, but, one look at their state of wellness - mind, body, and spirit, has shown otherwise - without exception.

I have had clients who arranged downtime for each part of them separately to get them on the path to "downtime wellness", i.e. sitting down (physically downtime) and working on a crossword puzzle, walking or running without music or audio books roaring in their ears (mental downtime), or meditating while sprawled on their back (with all phones and noise turned off - which creates another form of physical downtime - this one, at first, usually produces sleep).

The above reasons are just 2 of many. I will continue this thread at some point in the future. For now, rather than completely overwhelm you, I would like to leave you with this:

Busyness is not a result of your personality and it's not mandatory! You can be very successful and not be caught up in busyness. Actually, some of the most successful people I've met give themselves time away from being busy regularly - and have since before they were successful.

I urge you to evaluate your life today, just look at the 2 points above, and see where you are on the busyness routine. If you find yourself nodding and giggling when you read those points, you may want to carve out some time for YOU and set about setting things right - not only for your own benefit, but, for the benefit of those around you who love and care about you. Don't wait, and don't ignore it - these things won't go away if you ignore them - they will only become worse.

Make every moment count,

Your Holistic Health Coach

(This natural holistic health and wellness blog is sponsored by Your Holistic Health Coach - helping you achieve whole wellness in every aspect of your world.)