Self-improvement has been a hot topic for a long time. But could all this focus on becoming better actually harm our chances of happiness and success?
Everyone seems to be working hard to achieve goals, produce things and make their lives better. But doesn’t this constant drive for self-improvement leave you feeling exhausted? And could all this busyness actually be counterproductive?
The good news is that sometimes doing nothing can be the best possible choice for your health, happiness and success. Stepping off the merry-go-round of self-improvement for a while could have amazing benefits for your life.
Here’s why taking a break from self-improvement can benefit your health, relationships, creativity, success and happiness.
Taking a break from self-improvement can kickstart our creativity
Many scientific studies have shown the importance of rest on creativity. When our minds are constantly focused on productivity there is little room for new creative ideas. That’s why we often have our most creative breakthroughs in the shower or when driving – our mind is finally getting a break.
So, if you want to be more creative, indulge in long walks, hot baths and relaxing naps as often as you can.
Restful activities are vital for our health
Sleep is essential for our health as it allows our bodies to repair. But we need other forms of rest, too. Relaxation can reduce the effects of stress on our bodies and minds. Without taking time for rest we risk succumbing to stress-related illnesses, anxiety and low mood.
When we take a break, we replenish ourselves so we are more healthy, resilient and optimistic about the future.
Rest can transform relationships for the better
Lack of rest can make us irritable, resentful, anxious and miserable. None of these are good prescriptions for healthy relationships. When we are tired we’re more likely to get upset by little things, such as our partner leaving their dirty pants on the floor. These minor irritations just don’t bother us so much when we are happy and well-rested.
In addition, when we are always focused on achieving goals or improving ourselves it can be hard to give those we love our full attention. All our relationships will benefit from more undivided attention and quality time, so, if you can’t make time to rest for yourself then you should do it for those you love.
You will be a happier, calmer and more inspiring person to be around if you take good care of yourself.
Taking a break from self-improvement can increase our happiness
A life that is constantly focused on improving ourselves can leave us exhausted, anxious and depressed. We see opportunities for self-improvement wherever we look and this can make us feel like we are not good enough as we are. It fine to have goals and ambitions, but these need to come from a place of self-acceptance.
Accepting that we are enough, just as we are, offers a way to achieve good mental health and lasting happiness.
Rest is an essential ingredient for success
We are actually more likely to achieve our goals when we are healthy, creative and enjoying life than when we are exhausted, anxious and miserable. Working hard to achieve success is counterproductive. The more tired we become, the less productive we are and the more mistakes we make.
So, if you want to be successful, add a good mix of rest to your life plan.
What activities count as rest?
What a person finds restful depends on their personality and interests. Rest doesn’t necessarily need to be napping or doing relaxation exercises. Some people find bungee jumping the perfect activity for replenishing.
I think of restful activities as those done just for pure joy rather than any desire for accomplishment, productivity or self-improvement.
It’s a good idea to have a few restful activities scheduled into your week – some that are active and some more traditionally restful. If there is a sport or exercise you love, that counts as rest. But mix it up with slower-paced activities such as curling up with a good book.
Ultimately, rest is whatever makes you feel restored and replenished.