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Contact Me:
Tripti Gyan MCSP HCPC Reg
Chartered and State Registered Physiotherapist
Nottingham YMCA Health and Fitness
4 Shakespeare Street
Nottingham
NG1 4FG (map)

Tel: 07866 464 385 (Within the UK)
Tel: +44 (0) 7866 464 385(Outside the UK)

Email: tripti@triptigyan.com

Managing Stress: Il bel far niente (The Beauty of Doing Nothing)

Accomplishing goals is most often a matter of finding a workable balance between outwardly-directed drive and our inescapable need to regularly recharge ourselves.

Drive and determination are valuable assets in life. But perseverance at the expense of health is neither sensible nor productive in the longer term if it means reaching unmanageable stress levels or leads to an individual becoming physically rundown.

household items to aid recovery

Whether it's financial strain, searching for a new career, handling relationships, managing weight, or simply juggling the demands of day-to-day life, we all yearn to experience a sense of inner freedom and peace.

The problem: it's all in our heads

After a full day out in the world, stories, words, images, and even songs from any number of sources continue to play in our heads hours after we encounter them. Even as we lie in the quiet dark, our minds are hardwired to process all the input from our day. This can leave us feeling unsettled and harassed.

Often, the very same activities we choose to help us relax, simply add to the clutter. Watching television, seeing a movie, reading a book, or talking to a friend all involve taking in more information. In order to really clear our minds, we need a break from mental stimulation. Once mentally relaxed, we can begin the process of clearing our minds. The more we practice settling our minds, the easier it will become over time.

The solution

Setting aside time to clear our minds can be an effective therapy. By putting aside as little as five minutes once a day, we can adopt a ritual that becomes second nature over time.

While quietening the mind and blocking out the wider world is typically hard for those new to such a practice, one can quickly find the mind settles with less effort week after week.

Ultimately, the practice of clearing our minds allows us to be increasingly more open so that we can perceive the world as the fresh offering it is, free of yesterday's mental clutter.

So how can we achieve this? The answer lies in creating 'unschedules': planned and integrated moments of time for 'doing nothing' other than being 'mindful'. Mindfulness is the art of 'simply being', and by incorporating free time into our daily routine there are significant benefits to be gained.

Quite often, the problem lies in our unhealthy perspective of how valuable taking an occasional break (and making time to play) can be. Workaholism stems from a deep psychological belief that if we are not working, we should be. Any time spent not attending back-to-back meetings, or sifting through an endless barrage of emails, or repeatedly re-prioritizing a to-do list, feels like wasted time.

If we do not work constantly, we mentally beat ourselves up. And when we push ourselves too hard, we usually wind up being less effective in getting things done. By creating an 'unschedule', time can be blocked out and the problem of overworking is flipped on its head. This can help an individual to establish a healthy foundation from which to work.

When we take time out from our busy schedules to honour il bel far niente, we emerge from each period of refreshment renewed and ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead. If we allow ourselves plenty of time to relax and unwind, we may never have to give in to feelings of fatigue.

The irony of modern life is that we, as a society, work hard to achieve things and enjoy successes without allowing the time to fully enjoy those accomplishments in the moment. But by reprioritising and making the ultimate goal about wellbeing rather than "getting things done", we can lead a more satisfying existence.

Understanding the role of awareness

Awareness can be the first step to change. We do not have to procrastinate.

Finding a new perspective on stress and choosing to engage differently with stress can in fact, alter the body's response to stress. This is a gift that we can freely give ourselves in any moment.

Make the beauty of doing nothing the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. Because that is what life is really about after all, isn't it? Living in the moment and living the best life you can, in business, in your personal dreams and whilst achieving your goals.

"We may not be able to wholly control what causes or contributes to triggering our stress response, but we can strengthen our whole system to operate in a more resilient way by how we face everyday stress and transform our co-dependent relationship with it"