This cool rainy weather makes us lazy and indolent. Good for us!
I am reading this book, “The Joy of Laziness: Why life is better slower—and how to get there,” by Peter Axt and Michaela Axt-Gadermann, as I watch the rain falling on my happy plants—very relaxing. Let me share with you some eye-opening reality bites I’ve read to help you better appreciate Juan Tamad and why he is so happy all the time.
• The speed at which one ages is not inevitable. The tempo of the aging process can be influenced. You hold in your hands (in those anti-aging concoctions) the potential to let your biological clock run a little slower, helping you stay young longer.
• You must do “nothing” in order to stay healthy and fit. You may have been of the opinion that getting through a triathlon was the key to good health and resilience, and that a 10-hour workday was the only way to achieve professional success and societal recognition. Wrong!
Composure, contentedness, moderation and even occasional indolence lead to healthy, productive and successful life! Avoid extremes, mediocrity and unsatisfactory situations. Extreme sports, excessive eating and false ambition are factors that can steal your energy, cause you to age faster and shorten your life.
• Slow and inactive animals like turtles (they live for 150+ years) and the queen bee (lives for five years), which are not agitated by anything, live noticeably longer while the industrious worker bees, who wait on the slothful queen bee sitting in the beehive all the time, use up their life energy within three to six months. Animals in the zoo, whose range of movement is minimal—no unnecessary energy is used in searching for food and there are no natural enemies to cause them any stress—live much longer than their cousins in the wild.
• Our society recognizes and admires those who run around with packed schedules. A cell phone that is always on and ringing is seen as a status symbol. We are perpetually active but often only occasionally effective, and we are wasting valuable life energy on unimportant things.
I had a client meeting yesterday and her cell phone kept ringing and she would excuse herself to answer the text or call. Very distracting and disruptive such that our meeting, which should have run just for an hour, lasted for more than two hours and, with some coaxing, she eventually revealed the tensions in her life—too active life for their family business and her family life.
• We see her among the active people in our organization—they live according to the (car racing) Formula 1 principle: They always want to be the winner, at work and in their leisure activities. They place professional success ahead of family and friends. They always have to be right. They cannot delegate but must control everything. They must spend every minute of the day “constructively” and never have any free time. They always want to have everything and cannot be satisfied with some of it. They waste their energy. (And may I add: They run around in the office attending endless meetings that sap their energy.)
To the workaholics, here’s a poem by Wilhelm Busch:
Whenever action could be found,
He was there, he was around;
Nothing could be done without him,
Not one hour had he free.
Yesterday, when he was buried,
He was there too, naturally.
What can we do to conserve life energy, to add life to our years and to maintain our youthful looks and positive outlook?
• Maintain calm and even-temperedness in all areas of life. Mental stress leads to physical stress. Meditation is good for optimal health.
• Be moderate in eating. “Leave dinners to your enemies,” says an old Asian proverb. Eating five meals a day speeds up metabolism and accelerates the aging process. The goal of fasting is not to lose weight but to slow the metabolism. Eating easily digestible foods like carbohydrates is better for our health than hard-to-digest foods like fats and proteins.
• Be moderate in exercise. A 30-minute brisk walk and 10-15 minutes of muscle stretching three or four times a week are enough to maintain organ and muscle functioning. Walking the dog, climbing the stairs, puttering around your garden and walking around the mall are good forms of exercise. Avoid intensive fitness programs, competitive sports and radical diets because they take a toll on our health, accelerate the aging process, make us more susceptible to illness and shorten our lives.
• Sleep longer. Abundant sleep is good for our health, strengthens our immune system and keeps us younger longer. When we sleep, our body switches to low power—the digestive system rests, muscle loosens, body temperature drops, and breathing becomes slower and deeper than during the waking hours.
• Take in more warmth and sunlight. Regardless of the outside temperature, our body maintains a body temperature of about 37 degrees Celsius, allowing our body to conserve energy. Exposure to the sun makes the blood vessels expand and the blood pressure drop and gives us a feeling of well-being. In cold and freezing temperatures our metabolism shifts into high gear in order to avoid heat loss, making us sweat under the covers despite the cold. Cold showers lead to a massive release of the stress hormone cortisol and stimulate energy use. Shower using water with warmer temperature.
• Avoid stimulants (smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeine, taking illegal drugs) that increase energy use and damage our immune system.
Companies who want healthy, productive and good-looking employees need to give their employees time and space to relax, instead of working them to premature aging and even speedy death. Remove morning and afternoon snack times; instead, encourage them to relax, do nothing, take a nap and stay quiet. Serve more easily digestible foods in your canteen like fruits, veggies and rice and grains. Take out your gym and convert it to a meditation and relaxation room. Tell them to take the stairs instead of the elevators to go 2-3 floors up or down. Promote an eight-hour workday to allow them to spend more time at home or with their friends and sleep longer. Promote edible gardening. Encourage them to soak in sun rays and to walk short distances. Situate your parking lot farther from the main door to your office.
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