“All he really knew was that if he stayed here he would soon be the property of things that buzzed and snorted and hissed, that gave off fumes or stenches. In six months, he would be the owner of a large pink, trained ulcer, a blood pressure of algebraic dimensions, a myopia this side of blindness, and nightmares as deep as oceans and infested with improbable lengths of dream intestines through which he must violently force his way each night.” – The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
Be wary of a busy life. In today’s fast-track age, business and technological innovation and growth is constantly making and meeting demands. In terms of making demands, economic progress sits on the fulcrum of quid pro quo or this for that. For instance, for industries to continue growing they make demands on their labor force such as their time, which is not limited to only their workplace. As we are accustomed to hearing jobs today are rarely from X time to X time, so either workforce members take work home or they spend more time at work then at home. In either case industries and individuals alike have trouble with finding and securing balance. As the adage states when people are at work they are thinking about not working and when people are not working they think about work. In the end the result is loss of time living in the present and giving our focused attention to those around us, in addition to accumulated stress.
On the other hand, in terms of meeting demands, capitalism also serves society benevolently on the surface by resolving societal problems. For example, advocates of social media claim credit for improving communication between people by lessening distance. While there is some truth behind the claim as demonstrated by military families communicating via Facebook or citizens living under an oppressive regime communicating with the outside world states via Twitter, social media has also harmed communication by contributing to loss of meaningful face-to-face communication and connection. So, progress requires examination in order to decipher whether it is real, fixed (created the problem and solution), or an uneven exchange (who gains the benefits and who pays the costs). Thus, unexamined progress comes with an opportunity-cost: either seizes external over internal progress or vice versa.
One common stressor among the general public is work oriented. A rising concern is the lack of play, whether creative, contemplative, active, or others. Lack of time is a usual culprit. Again, human time and energy is finite; therefore, balance is required for productivity and societal contribution on the macro-scale as well as work and home life balance and play for the individual on the micro-scale. Both are needed for survival and wellness. Studies show how stress contributes to illness and premature death. Individuals today are hard-pressed to set aside time for play or to decompress due to work; they are literally dying as a result as well as metaphorically dying by not living. Because of technological innovation and division of labor, we have more time today then we had years ago, because we can rely on each other for needs. We do not have to farm our own food for instance. Farmers remove the burden from the rest of society to grow their own food, which frees more time for them.
Consciously make an effort to eliminate stress; combat it with play. Master your time and find balance in order to do justice to both work and personal spheres.
Exercise: Find an outlet by which you are able to engage in play.
Bonus: Identify a strategy by which to control, reduce, and eliminate stress.
~ One of my outlets by which I engage in play is practice playing acoustic guitar. One of my strategies to reduce stress is meditation practice.
*A moment of silence for 9/11/2001 remembrance and reflection please