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Out of joint
Modern life is filled with distractions that distort your perception of reality and make you feel strung out and tired.
Television, computers, junk food, noisy neighbours, work, videogames, mobile phones, driving and family problems can all make you feel unhappy and agitated.
It is important to find ways to earth yourself. To be centred once again and complete. To find stillness and quiet. To rest. To stop.
We weren't designed to sit. The
body is a perpetual motion machine.
(Dr. Joan Vernikos)
A lot of people sit too much: on the sofa, at a desk, in a car. The lower body becomes weak, the buttocks spread and the waistline grows. Circulation is impeded.
Sedentary lifestyle/work habits are now considered to be a major cause of illness in modern society.
You can find tranquillity and balance in your everyday life. You do not need to join some esoteric meditation group. Exotic practices are not required.
Don't be lazy
There are so many opportunities for exercise in everyday life:
Washing the dishes
Mopping the floor
Hanging out laundry on the line
Changing the bed linen
Rotating the mattress
Cooking food from scratch
Climbing the stairs
Each of these
activities is inexpensive and requires no special
Some activities contain multiple facets (such as cooking) and may involve,
lifting, squatting and
Metabolism slows down 90 percent after 30 minutes of sitting. The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles, where it can get burned off, slow down. The muscles in your lower body are turned off. And after two hours, good cholesterol drops 20 percent. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again. These things are so simple they’re almost stupid.
Apparent chores such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, gardening and ironing can be tremendously rewarding for the stressed individual. What is so satisfying about washing dishes?
A manageable task
Washing up is a simple, wholesome task. You begin with a mess. You deal with the immensity of the task one piece at a time. There is a tangible starting point, a process and a completion point.
When the task has been finished, you can step back and appreciate the work. A dishwasher machine fails to provide the equivalent amount of exercise or psychological reward.
Working with your hands
Washing dishes is a tactile endeavour. You use your body. You must feel for dirt, for encrusted food. And you remove the problem systematically.
To do the job well, you need to keep your mind on what you are doing. Yet, it is not mentally taxing in any way. The very simplicity of the activity is its appeal.
Walking is a natural everyday activity that many people fail to invest time in. A relaxed, easy pace soothes the nerves. The sound of the birds outside and the feel of the breeze calms the mind.
The tension sinks into the floor.
Do it right
Take water with you when you walk. A small, comfortable backpack is ideal; it can carry water, a rain coat, a pullover etc. Leave your hands free. Put your phone away.
If you are alone, let your thoughts subside. Breathe. If you have companionship, why not keep the conversation healthy and interesting rather than depressing or stressful?
Learn to stop
In contrast with everyday exercise, we can also make time to rest... We are constantly caught up in speculative activities that upset our sense of balance. Driving is one of the worst culprits.
It involves countless variables, very real danger and a limited margin for error. Careful driving requires your nervous system to be very alert.
You may be in a condition of 'fight or flight' without even realising it.
Try lying down for 15 minutes on a mat. For many people, this may the first real rest they've had all day.
People set time aside to watch television, but are not prepared to invest in rest. The 15 minutes spent resting on the floor may well be the most important 15 minutes of the entire day.
Being in the moment
Lying on the floor and doing chores will help you to collect your thoughts, calm down and stop.
Hanging out laundry and cleaning are considered 'beneath' many people. This is a foolish conceit. No one is any better or worse than anyone else.
What standard could you possibly be applying if you feel that you are 'above' other people?
Sitting is more dangerous than
smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than
parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death. The chair is out to kill us.
(Professor James Levine, The Mayo Clinic)
There is something truly wholesome about cooking a meal from scratch or planting your own vegetables. Hanging out the washing or organising the drying is relaxing.
Be slow. Be thorough. As if there were nothing else in the world to do.
These so-called mundane tasks are opportunities to take a break from the bustle of driving or the flickering of the internet and television. You can find peace in the very simplest of activities.
The inevitability of them, the predictability, the surety of the enterprise furnish you with calm.
27 June 2005
Last updated 30 June 2022