The Perils of Busy Life and What to do About it

“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?”

Henry David Thoreau

Have you ever felt that you have the compulsion to fill your time with something to do? This is as though life is an endless stream of activity in order to keep one fully occupied.  It does not matter the activities that you are engaging in, be it listening to music, playing games on the internet or checking updates on Facebook…as long as you are occupied and busy.

That’s what I had been feeling and experiencing in the past until I realized what was I doing.  It is in the nature of the mind to be restless  and abhor “vacuum”.  The commonly heard phrase “monkey mind” aptly describes it. 

My stress and anxiety level shot up dramatically when I was still leading a busy way of life.  I felt like life was tiring as I was propelled to go through the motion. There was always something that I “need” to do such as by enrolling in a night course while taking a full-time job.  Do not get me wrong here.  I am not against taking a night course to upgrade oneself.  But for myself, I did not see the point in taking the course other than simply to fill up my time and to “feel good” by being busy.  I was really exhausted by the end of the day and almost always had the constant feeling of out of breath.  Not to mention the sleep problems that I had quite frequently in the past.

I was not the master of my mind.  I am a slave to my own monkey mind. 

This went on until I suffered from anxiety breakdown and had to see a doctor.  My life was falling apart and suffered bouts of anxiety attacks.  This was also occurred in the face of demanding workload during the day.  I remembered the doctor advising me that I have to change my busy lifestyle and to be more relaxed.  Fortunately, my situation was not serious and, as such, I did not need to take any medication.

Then I realized that the root cause for my leading this busy life is the feeling of emptiness and discontentment that I held for quite a number of years now. 

At this point of time, I decided that I needed to make a drastic change to the way I lead my life.  I told myself that my primary goal in life is not to chase after materialistic things in life.  I told myself that I could lead a happy and simple life, while still enjoying financial abundance.  I am turning inwards and slowly uncover the spiritual side of me.  In the process, I learn to be my authentic self and to choose stuffs that I like to do.

Practising mindfulness meditation has helped me tremendouslyLife becomes less busy now.

Specifically, I started to practice mindfulness meditation regularly.  The technique that I am using is breathing meditation.  Through being aware of my in breath and out breath, I gradually am able to be more mindful of my busy mind.  Gradually, I learn to pause more often during the day and to take a few deep breaths.  This also helps to strengthen my intuitive ability. In the process,  I could more easily detach myself from my thinking or monkey mind.  I am now more like a spectator to my busy mind; instead of following every single thought or impulse, I allow some breathing space before deciding either to let go of the thoughts or to follow them. This is one of the key methods that I use.

 Having a mind filled with gratitude solves many life’s problems.  Always try to find the positive side of things, no matter how negative it might appear. 

Practicing gratitude is not as easy as it sounds.  How can I be grateful for something negative occurrence? Then I realize that, always try to find something positive in the painful process.  Thought, I might not like certain things that happen in my life,  I will feel worse if I condemn it further. When I make a commitment to fill happy and contented with the things that I have accomplished during the day, I discover that the level of busyness in my life dies down as well.  My mind stops telling me that “Hey, that’s all you’ve got. Do more!”.  I am able to be more relaxed and feel more at home.

Finally, leading a simple way of life also helps.  By having less needs, I find that I am more at ease, more tolerant and having less needs to prove myself; the level of mental noise subsequently reduced. 

Contrary to conventional practice of having to accumulate massive wealth and to enjoy life of luxury, I discover that leading a simple way of life is the way to go.  I have no one to prove myself to.  As I find out later that this simple way of life lessens the frequency of stress and anxiety in my life but the level of the busyness as well.  There is no doubt that financial abundance which ultimately leads to financial freedom is one of the most importants goals I would like to achieve.  However, I realize that one can still lead a simple life.  There is no conflict between the two.

Bio:

Hi! My name is Mulyadi Kurnia.  Originally from Jakarta, Indonesia, I am currently residing in Singapore. To date, I have stayed across several countries, including Indonesia, Singapore, USA (Evanston, Illinois and Ithaca, New York) and Australia (Melbourne).  I enjoy exposing and immersing myself in different cultures.

I enjoy nature and do not indulge in materialistic world.  As I grow older, I find greater interest in the spiritual aspect of life as well

I have started blogging since June 2011. Starting out as stress and anxiety management blog, the content of this blog has expanded to include other topics in the health and wellness sector; I have also created a free e-book “5 Key Tips to be a Happier You”, downloadable now at the blog Stop Stress and Anxiety