Tag Archive for: activity

Relaxation is Overrated

The past few months I’ve been working through a great online course by Cal Newport and Scott Young titled, “A Life Of Focus.” It’s about getting to what truly matters in your life, pruning the unimportant, and learning to stay focused on what is essential – without distraction. A central theme of the course, which is well aligned with my work, is reducing the time we spend distracting ourselves with screens.

When we put our devices down and get present to life, one of the many fears that can surface is that, without Netflix or social media, our minds cannot relax after a hard day of mental activity. However, research tells us that our mental faculties are capable of continuous hard activity; they don’t tire like an arm or a leg. Other than sleep, our minds don’t need rest. What they need is variety.

You don’t need to binge Netflix to relax. You don’t need to surf social media or get lost in a vortex of YouTube to give your mind a break. In fact, quite the opposite.

Your mind wants activity and diversity. Continuous hard activity and lots of variety. High quality pursuits like creating something, training for a sport, writing, reading something challenging, getting involved in a project that requires mental effort, learning to play an instrument, going for a walk, working out, doing volunteer work, or engaging in good conversation. All these activities add energy to our lives instead of subtracting it.

If you replace idle “vegging out” with thoughtful, intentional activity you’ll end up more energized and more satisfied with life.