Are Your Habits Making You Stressed?

Addicted to Doing

Multitasking might not be the badge of honor we think it is. So says Nicole Bayes-Fleming in her recent article in Mindful magazine. Citing the work of Dan Pontefract and his call for more reflection time in our lives, the author explains that many of us are making ourselves constantly busy with tasks and activities that lead to more tasks and activities, creating a vicious cycle. Continuing this process with no time for pause and reflection can lead to mental and emotional burnout or even heart disease.

“We think that being constantly busy without having the pause, the meandering of thought, the marination in the moment; we think that we’ve just got to be constantly on and that’s a good thing,” Pontefract says. “But it’s not.”

Effect on Our Bodies

  1. Being “on” at all times raises our cortisol levels, putting us in a near-constant state of stress
  2. Chronic stress can put our body at an increased risk of burnout or even heart disease

Returning to Well Being

Pontefract recommends three simple ways to practice mindful reflection

  1. Take time to connect with people. This could mean listening mindfully in a conversation, or smiling at the barista who hands you your morning coffee.
  2. Go for a walk without your phone. Try to engage all of your senses. How do your feet feel on the ground? What do you smell? What do you hear?
  3. Consider your purpose. Question whether you’re doing something that feels meaningful to you. What are your values? What are your goals? 

Balancing Action and Reflection

Balance is key. We don’t have to stop doing everything. Putting our tasks and activities into perspective happens when we leave a bit of space between them. Then, we can be confident that we’re doing what’s necessary for our well being, respecting our values, and reaching our goals.

Mindfully yours,

Dr. Pamm