By: Sam Elliott
Staff Writer & Reporter
People are busy. Just look around. Our constant activity is noted and brought to light in a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 commercial starring Christoph Waltz. The commercial says that we are constantly working, get more things done before eight in the morning than the rest of the world, and even bring work on vacation. Life is hard. Life is temporary. Therefore, life gets divided into years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds to help in our planning process. Everything is scheduled before it even happens! With all this on one’s plate, in creeps stress.
The stress of not completing everything planned for the day is all consuming and unhealthy. There is a solution, and that solution is nothing. People should schedule time out of their day to do nothing in order to diminish their stress levels and to live happier/healthier lives.
First off, stress has been linked to affecting a person’s body, mood, and behavior. For the body, “stress makes [a person’s] heart work too hard for too long, raising [their] risk of hypertension and problems with [their] blood vessels and heart” (Pietrangelo).
Further effects on the body include: headache, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, change in sex drive, stomach upset, and sleep troubles. With everything being linked, a domino effect occurs. This then triggers impacts on mood, such as increased anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation/focus, irritability, and depression. Behavior is then altered, which typically results in over/under eating, outbursts, substance abuse, and social withdrawal. These results lead to negative consequences that can end up harming a person in the future.
Now there is more than one type of stress. In total, there are four types: acute, episodic, chronic, and eustress. Acute stress is the most common type. It is short term and normally is brought about by the difficulties/pressures of the past and future. Examples include a person’s day plan: first shower, walk pet, throw clothes in washer, make breakfast, throw clothes in dryer, get dressed, leave for doctor’s appointment, grocery shop, put items away, make dinner, take pet out, and go to bed. Each example varies by person.
Episodic stress is slightly more serious, since it causes a person to feel constantly stressed out without relief. People with this type of stress generally bite off more than they can chew on either their workloads, or self-created demands.
Chronic stress is enduring, unless handled with the proper actions. People who suffer from this type feel as if they are being engulfed by a situation, with no way out. Therefore their only solution is to live with it and the consequences that follow. These would include heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, and depression.
Human bodies weren’t created to endure long periods of stress, and the consequences noted prove why that it is the case. Planning time for doing nothing would disrupt the constant feeling of stress and allow for people to lessen their chances of suffering from these consequences. Eustress, on the other hand, is a good thing. It is positive and causes people to push themselves to reach a goal. It is self motivation at its finest and allows everyone to reach their true potential. Laura Portolese Dias wrote that “when dealing with stress, finding the ideal stress level—the one that creates eustress and gets you ready for challenges—is the goal” (80-83).
So with the various negative effects ensuing from stress, how can people try to lower their stress levels? The answer is to take time to do nothing. Nothing, in general, is relaxation. This allows people to recharge both their minds and bodies, in a way that allows them to conquer the remaining portion of the day in an upbeat/less stressful manner.
Even the private Ivy League Dartmouth University understands the importance of scheduling time for nothing. Its Student Wellness Center says that, “taking time to yourself for rejuvenation and relaxation is just as important as giving time to other activities. At minimum, take short breaks during your busy day. You might purposely schedule time in your day planner just for yourself so that you can recharge for all the other things you need to do” (Relaxation).
Other examples of how to lower a person’s stress level include: breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, visualization, and whatever else helps take a person’s mind off of the tasks for the day. Just like people get into showers to cleanse their bodies of the dirt/grime that has gathered upon them throughout their day, people should also cleanse the stress of their day away.
In conclusion, people should schedule time out of their day to do nothing in order to diminish their stress levels and to live happier/healthier lives. “Nothing” is the relaxation people need in order to stay on top of their already busy lives. It allows for their immune system to remain in tip-top shape so illness doesn’t take hold. It allows for people to function properly, so they won’t end up making a decision that they’ll later regret in the future. If people do schedule time to do nothing, life will be better. Life will be happier. People will be able to wake up looking forward to each new day, instead of dreading the workload that comes with it.
As actress Audrey Hepburn once said, “The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters” (Life Quotes). She is right, and a little nothing thrown into a person’s day is the way to do it.