First draft of this article started with “We live in busy times”. While that would make a valid observation of the world around us, it wouldn’t have been a correct one. It’s not that the times are busy.
It’s us making them busy.
We are under never ending barrage of dopamine inducing triggers. There are three sides to it. The good is that it allows us to achieve, well, anything. It rewards our pursuit of goals with little glimpses of happiness. All the minor shots we get along the way culminate with a touch of euphoria when we make it. There’s the bad side to dopamine too, one mercilessly exploited by advertising industry. Get this fancy thing. See yourself in that car. Your new face is just one surgery away. On top of that remember – sex sells. Combining basic instincts with the power of imagination and our thirst for dopamine makes us vulnerable and exposed to all that madness. We fail so that the others can succeed. Of course, there’s the ugly side of dopamine as well. It makes all addictions easy and effortless, whether it’s some substance or checking your phone in the morning even before you get up from bed. Basically, it makes us anxious and chase more of it – in an endless circle.
With that, it’s hard for us to rest and cool our minds enough to get out of 24/7 frenzy and reflect. And without reflection, living a good, fulfilling life is close to impossible. There aren’t many non-work activities that allow that. Movies? Nope. Sports? Not really. Books? Take a guess. If there was a UV-lamp tuned to highlight dopamine inducing things, the brightness would blind us.
But there’s something you can do.
Just sit comfortably or lie down. Put your phone on airplane mode and set a timer for fifteen minutes. Then, well, just do nothing until it rings. Don’t move, just sit and remain with yourself. Easy, right?
In reality, it’s a nightmare. You’ll keep chasing thought after thought. In a few minutes, you’ll find yourself looking for a good excuse to just get up and go. Few minutes later, any excuse will do, even the one you know to be fake. On top of that, it’ll seem as if the time slowed down.
And that’s only fifteen minutes without chasing dopamine shots. That’s how deep in trouble we are.
Though if you keep trying, you’ll notice it gets easier. You will get calmer in a tangible way – your resting heart rate will lower. Your educated guesses – all the decisions you make – will become better, as you will distance yourself a bit from primal urges.
All it takes is fifteen minutes of resting every day.
As long as you remember to rest when resting 😉