Being a Busy Bee is a way to go!
Heat Waves in Chicago! I am not kidding, just a couple of days back, it was horrible weather in Chicago. I was in the office and hardly I could see people around. It seemed many people decided to work from home that day. Around 1 pm, I decided to leave early from office and take my remaining calls from home. I checked the Apple maps; it was showing 55 minutes to home. It was perfect as I had a meeting from 2.00 pm onwards. It was quite a scorching sunny day, and I was sure the roads and highways will be empty. I finished my last call at 12.45 pm and pushed off. It was a peaceful and uneventful drive for the next 40 minutes. I was just 15 minutes away from home. I merged on I-88, and I had to take an exit 123. I was quite optimistic to reach home before time and was debating in my head if I could make a trip to Starbucks before my call starts. I was engrossed in my thoughts and then here came the surprise. Traffic wasn’t moving near the exit 130. I thought maybe because of an accident, and it was a matter of 5–10 minutes. Well, I was so wrong. That 5 minutes delay became 30 minutes, and I could barely drive a mile’s distance. I missed my call and there was no sigh of relief. The traffic was creeping at a snail’s pace and after remaining stuck in this jam for 45 minutes, eventually, I could take the exit 127. It was far from home, but I wanted to get down the highway to avoid this mad rush. By the time I took the exit and reach home, it was 3:30 pm. It took me about 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach home from my office. Typically, it takes me an hour but due to the Traffic and accident, it took me 3 times more. I was frustrated and exhausted. I was mad that Apple or Google Maps didn’t calculate this before else I could have avoided that route. Not only that, my husband told, he saw the message about I88 before, but he forgot to tell me. Geez! I was getting irritated and going nuts, not sure if on my luck or my husband, or because of tiredness. On top of this, I missed my meeting too. The tsunami of negative emotions was crashing through my head. After such a long hectic drive and traffic jam — what would you do? I am sure, most people will just relax and lie down. You would try to get out of exhaustion and stress. But what I did do? The moment I reached home, I immediately started cleaning up my office and kitchen. In between, I took a few other calls as well. I immersed myself in work and more work. I just wanted to remain busy and didn’t want to think about traffic Jams or the time I had lost. Getting involved in activities helped me to recover and forget about the unpleasant event. Being busy helped me to control my emotions well. Is it normal?
I am the kind of person, who like to remain busy most of the time anyway. I hate to sit idle and doing nothing is not in my dictionary. Especially after any such depressing incident, I would prefer to get busy with work. This helps me to calm down and I would say it’s my coping mechanism with the negative emotions. I am sure, some of you could be like me and have experienced the same at some point in your life. When you encounter unexpected sad news, what do you do? When you break up with your lover, what helps you to get going? When you lost your job or the trust of your friend or lost your precious things, how do you manage to get going? Do you believe in sulking, or do you try to come out from it? For some people sobbing or just thinking about the event endlessly helps. But it is a complete waste of time. For me, diverting my mind toward other activities helps me to simmer down. In college, my best friend ditched me, and I felt quite low. It was quite shocking for me. After receiving low marks in all subjects, I realized, that crying or thinking about this matter wouldn’t do any good to me. I diverted my mind toward studies and other activities. That helped me to improve my grades and overall confidence after a while. Since then, being busy has become my coping mechanism. Moreover, it helps in your growth both personally and professionally. Well, I am not supportive to turn your emotions on and off. We are humans and blessed with the power of thinking. No matter what we do, we always think about the past. But my point is, that the best way to deal with negative emotions or feelings is to become a busy bee. This helps you to face the situation bravely and gives you enough confidence to battle depressing thoughts in your mind. Trust me! And if you have never tried this, please do that next time.
However, there is always another side of the coin. Remaining busy is good for the brain but is it true for your body? What happens when we drown ourselves in work? We pack our schedules and many of us pile on commitment after commitment. We keep ourselves busy to avoid painful and unpleasant feelings. Suddenly, all unimportant event becomes important, and we add them to our to-do list. All this is good to fight back emotions and keep your brain healthy. However, this may not be true for your body. Let me share some scientific facts based on research.
In the study, recently published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, Festini and Park did an initial test on participants, then waited four years to test them again. Researchers found that the busiest people scored highest on cognition tests, showing better processing speed, working memory, episodic long-term memory, reasoning, and crystallized knowledge. This is similar advice to what Tara Swart, a neuroscientist and senior lecturer at MIT suggest for keeping your brain agile, you must continuously home in on parts of it that you use less frequently. All this sounds great. Isn’t it? The fact that you are busy helps you to deal with emotions and is good for your brain. But, what about the body? The same is not true for your body. It is because the busyness could contribute to an elevated level of stress that could impact one’s health. It can impact your sleep. Since an overly busy life is often linked to stress, the result of not having enough downtime could release the hormonal chemical cortisol that temporarily shuts down our digestive and immune systems. This could stop us from performing at maximum potential, keeping our bodies in constant “fight-or-flight” mode. Therefore, it is imperative to understand our threshold and workload accordingly.
If I relate all this research to the day, I was stuck in traffic and how did I try to divert my mind by doing extra work. It worked as after cleaning my office I felt accomplished and fulfilled. Despite losing 3 hours in traffic, I could clean my office and kitchen. It was like a fresh wave of positivity after that upsetting event. But, by the evening I was dead tired and more irritated. I could not focus on my night reading and in fact, I had trouble sleeping as well. I strained and stretched myself beyond my threshold. I tried to suppress my negative emotions and I was successful too. However, at the cost of my sleep. I am not saying it is a bad idea to be busy to come out of a traumatic event or any bad incidents. Being a busy bee is a way to go. But we need to learn to pace this out by listening to the needs of our bodies too. Rather than looking for immediate solutions and instant remedies to control emotions, let’s be intelligent enough to manage both mind and body by remaining busy though.