The Importance Of Taking A Break For Happiness


Feeling stressed? Cramming for a big project at work or school? Stop what you are doing right now and take a break. You may discover that doing so might vastly improve your happiness.

Alex Lickerman, MD, a Buudhist physician, writes that “resilience doesn’t develop by removing stress from our lives (an impossible feat in any event).” Instead, Dr. Lickerman writes at the Happiness in the World site, “It develops when we’re exposed to stress and then given adequate time to recover from it.

What stress management in your life has to do with getting pumped up

Think about when you start an exercise program. For example, lifting weights can build our muscles and strength. But it only happens when you schedule regular rest times.

As Jeff Behar of says, “It is rest that makes you stronger, because it is the rest that allows the muscles that you have broken down to heal and recover. It is the rest that allows you to recover so you can be strong, and thereby handle the increased weight, and increased number of sets and reps needed to gain further.” Behar also says that “without proper recovery time, not only will you reach a performance plateau, but you also will run the risk of injury, and may even experience reduced performance (less strength, less endurance, etc.).”

Sound familiar? We think that if we just push harder, work longer, stay at it as hard as we can, we will get everything done. Our culture rewards the idea of burning the midnight oil, and pushing as hard as we can. Think about how many people you know who talk about the long hours they put in as a badge of honor.

Yet like those weightlifters who over train, we experience reduced performance while working so hard. And paradoxically, as many life coach experts advise, the best thing we could do is to take a break, relax a little, and clear out heads, instead of grinding and doing the same thing over and over.

What you can do to get to your happy place

In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor has very different advice when it comes to a big project or presentation than you may normally hear. He suggests that instead of cramming and going over everything again and again, he advises that people take a break and do something fun to get themselves in a happy frame of mind.

Do you have a favorite comedy routine that always makes you laugh? Look it up on YouTube now. What other things give you pleasure? Does it make you happy to look at pictures of cats being cute? Or maybe you enjoy some sort of crafting skill, like needlepoint or cross stitch or drawing?

Give this life coach tip a try the next time you feel overwhelmed at work. Take some time to get to your happy place. It does not mean you have to take a week off and go meditate in an ashram. Just spend a little time doing things that make you happy, and see if you feel renewed by doing so.

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