The Science Behind Why Balancing Doing with Being Is A Key Way To Manage Stress And Burnout
In our fast-paced, achievement-oriented society, it’s easy to get caught up in the never-ending cycle of doing. We never intend to but still we often prioritise productivity, work, and achieving, while forgetting how to simply be. We do know though that science tells us that finding a balance between doing and being is crucial for our overall wellbeing. In my current work with clients we have been exploring the scientific reasons behind why striking a balance is essential and how it contributes to a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Rest and Recovery: Constant busyness and overdoing can lead to chronic stress, mental exhaustion, and burnout. When we don’t give ourselves enough time to rest and recover, our bodies and minds suffer. Research has shown that rest and relaxation play a crucial role in replenishing our cognitive resources, improving focus, and reducing stress hormones. Balancing doing with being allows us to recharge, rejuvenate, and maintain optimal physical and mental health.
Emotional Wellbeing: Being in a constant state of doing can hinder our ability to experience and process our emotions effectively. Taking time for self-reflection, introspection, and being present allows us to connect with our emotions and cultivate emotional intelligence. Studies have found that individuals who practice mindfulness and engage in activities that promote being, such as meditation or spending time in nature, have increased emotional well-being, reduced anxiety, and improved overall mood.
Creativity and Problem-Solving: When we are constantly focused on doing, our minds become fixated on accomplishing tasks and meeting goals. However, research suggests that engaging in activities that promote being, such as daydreaming, mind-wandering, and embracing boredom, can actually enhance our creativity and problem-solving abilities. Allowing our minds to wander and be in a state of relaxed alertness facilitates the emergence of new ideas and innovative solutions.
Relationships and Connection: Balancing doing with being is crucial for nurturing meaningful relationships and fostering a sense of connection with others. When we are overly focused on doing, we may neglect spending quality time with loved ones, cultivating empathy, and fostering social bonds. Research indicates that strong social connections are vital for our overall wellbeing, leading to increased happiness, reduced stress levels, and improved physical health. Taking time to be present in our interactions and investing in our relationships is essential for creating a sense of belonging and fulfillment.
Self-Identity and Personal Growth: Engaging in activities that promote being allows us to connect with our authentic selves, explore our values, and nurture personal growth. It provides an opportunity for self-reflection, introspection, and aligning our actions with our true aspirations. When we strike a balance between doing and being, we develop a deeper understanding of ourselves, our purpose, and what truly matters to us. This self-awareness paves the way for personal growth, fulfillment, and living a more meaningful life.
So finding a balance between doing and being is not only important for our wellbeing; it is supported by scientific evidence. Prioritising rest, engaging in activities that promote being, and nurturing our relationships all contribute to our physical, mental, and emotional health. By incorporating this balance into our lives, we can experience reduced stress levels, improved creativity and problem-solving abilities, enhanced relationships, and personal growth. So, let us embrace the science behind it and strive to create a life that encompasses both doing and being, leading to a happier and more fulfilling existence.
As individuals though when we are carrying too much stress and caught up in habit energy busyness it can be really difficult to take practical steps even when we know they will help us to prevent or recover from burnout. We can though learn to balance by taking some small simple steps. Here are five areas you might look at. Choose one and then focus on one small step in this area.
Prioritise self-care and rest: Make sure to allocate time for self-care activities that promote relaxation, rejuvenation, and overall well-being. This may include activities such as meditation, journaling, taking leisurely walks, reading for pleasure, or engaging in hobbies. Prioritizing rest allows you to recharge and reconnect with your inner self.
Practice mindfulness and presence: Incorporate mindfulness into your daily life by cultivating present-moment awareness. Instead of constantly focusing on future tasks or dwelling on past events, strive to be fully engaged in the current moment. This practice can help you appreciate and savor the experiences as they happen, allowing you to find joy and contentment in simply being.
Set boundaries and learn to say no: It’s crucial to establish boundaries and learn to say no to excessive commitments or demands that can lead to overdoing. Prioritize activities and responsibilities that align with your values and goals, and be willing to decline requests or delegate tasks when necessary. By setting boundaries, you create space for yourself and maintain a healthier balance between doing and being.
Engage in activities that bring you joy: Identify activities that bring you genuine joy and make time for them regularly. Engaging in hobbies, creative pursuits, or activities you are passionate about can provide a sense of fulfilment and help you reconnect with your authentic self. These activities remind you of the importance of being present and enjoying the process rather than solely focusing on outcomes.
Cultivate self-reflection and introspection: Dedicate time for self-reflection and introspection to gain clarity about your priorities, values, and overall life direction. Regularly assess whether your current activities and commitments align with your desired state of balance. Consider journaling, mindfulness practices, or seeking guidance from a mentor or therapist to facilitate self-reflection and promote personal growth.
Remember, finding the right balance between doing and being is an ongoing process that requires self-awareness and conscious effort. Be patient with yourself and make adjustments as needed to ensure a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.Which of the five areas will you start with and then what particular small action will you focus on?
Mary Oliver, Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean the one who has flung
herself out of the grass, the
one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
As always I invite feedback – I always love to know what is helpful and what isn’t and to hear how you are doing!
If you would like a consult with me to get a little more help as you do this important work for future you you can book some time with me here: https://mindfulwithdee.kartra.com/calendar/consult
You might like to read this other recent blog about how to Manage Stress as an Over Busy 21st Century Human Being: https://mindfulfacilitation.com/how-to-manage-stress-as-an-over-busy-21st-century-human-being/