Some would argue that it is fashionable and desirable to be always busy. Our busyness is the backdrop of numerous conversations about work, kids, the commute and lack of time for friends and self. Few discussions are initiated by someone claiming to be having so much fun doing nothing. Imagine the conversation: “My life has been so purposeless, it’s crazy. I spend whole hours doing nothing. The other day, I watched a caterpillar eating a leaf.” At which point someone would interject, “Me too. I watched a fish swimming in the pond for a whole hour.” And so it would go for hours because this group of purposeless-driven people would share endless stories of leisure. Doesn’t happen.
But now researchers are thinking we ought to be rethinking our collective busyness and focus on purposeless behavior. Children do it naturally. They stop and collect frogs. They jump on trampolines. When not in organized sports, they play games just for fun. On the other hand, in the grown-up world, such non-goal oriented behavior is seen as the mark of slovenliness or something worse. But news from the world of psychological studies says purposeless behavior is good for us. Watching fish or clouds or trees are considered “visual feasts,” that feed our souls and change our brain chemistry so we achieve inner calm and a sense of well being. Additionally, laughter is considered to be a form of “inner jogging,” that gives numerous muscles a good workout. Everyone should workout.
The revitalizing effects of purposeless activities are thought to play a role in everything from creativity to personal and professional relationships and more. In leisurely activities, our sense of limitation disappears and our curiosity increases. All of this could lead to increased happiness and productivity at work. Everybody dance now! But be sure to get back to work real soon.
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