I long suspected that doing nothing was under-rated. I could do ‘doing nothing’ for hours, given a chance. Psychologists now believe that ‘doing nothing’ is in fact a positively restful activity. Day-dreaming is good for us and letting one’s mind wander is healthy.
Rest and doing nothing –same thing?
Rest and relaxation – same thing?
Rest and laziness – same thing?
Rest and ‘not at work’ – same thing?
Rest and lying in bed –same thing?
The Rest Test is a survey taken by the ‘old people’s ‘ radio – BBC Radio 4 to look into various aspects of rest. In the fast paced lives of today where each one of our free moments can potentially be invaded and claimed by phone calls, e-mails, face-book, texts and tweets, this survey is well timed.
It is the largest of its kind with 18,000 people from 134 countries participating in it.
What did it find?
More than 70% believe they need more rest than they get.
The most restful activities are: reading, being with nature, being on your own, listening to music, doing nothing, having a bath or shower, walking or exercising, day-dreaming, watching TV and meditating or practicing mindfulness.
All of the above are true for me but breathing consciously tops the list. Being with my breath keeps me connected to ‘right here right now’, to my ‘self’ and my sanity. The breath is a free resource. About 10 years ago I learnt to use it as a source of energy and calm at the same time. (http://www.artofliving.org/us-en/research-sudarshan-kriya) I experience deep rest through breathing exercises and meditation.
Rest is often the unwritten part of a doctor’s prescription for various stress-related disorders. It is vital for our well-being.
Here’s a poem from the programme:
I expect you might at some point tonight
Beneath the sheets before sleep
Still reeling from the flaming lights
Want or more likely seek
There’s no manifesto in this
No snake like lists of things to do
There’s no tomorrow either
There’s poetry as ever and YOU.