Are You Working Too Hard? On Your Body, Your Health, Your Self?

I’m sitting here taking a deep breath.

Why? Because, other than the fact that it feels good to just stop fortwoseconds, it might actually help me get more done. (See, I’ve been workin’ pretty hard lately-not just at Glamour and, but also on my own emotional and eating issue stuff.) Then someone I was on a business call with this morning pointed me to 37Days where I saw this, and had an epiphany! [cue angels singing…]

Hard work is overrated. It could even be detrimental. “We agreed that a lot of what we then considered ‘working hard’ was actually ‘freaking out.'”—Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr


Cute Panda Playtime! Neuroscientists say being more like this guy could help you solve problems.

Wow. How much of this “work” I’m doing on myself is just more or less useless headless-chickening? The awesome article Patti Digh linked to goes on to talk about a piece in the Wall Street Journal that sang real truth to me:

“People assumed that when your mind wandered it was empty,” says cognitive neuroscientist Kalina Christoff. As measured by brain activity, however, “mind wandering is a much more active state than we ever imagined, much more active than during reasoning with a complex problem.”

She suspects that the flypaper of an unfocused mind may trap new ideas and unexpected associations more effectively than methodical reasoning. That may create the mental framework for new ideas. “You can see regions of these networks becoming active just prior to people arriving at an insight,” she says.

So, instead of sitting at my desk or computer or journal, chewing and chewing and chewing over a problem I want to solve, I might do better to step back and give my poor brain some space. Says Fast Company’s Cliff Kuang:

But if the daydreaming hypothesis is right-and it seems hard to deny-more hours at your desk are actually counterproductive. You’d do better by setting aside lots of playtime, to let your mind wander. Only then will you stumble your way onto what’s important.

Innnhale….exxxxhale. I feel more open-minded and balanced already. I’m gonna play this weekend (in Austin! Maybe see the bats). What are you gonna do?


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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.