The New York Times ran an interesting article recently, entitled “No Time to Think.” The author, Kate Murphy, describes a phenomenon that we’ve become all too used to in our modern, high tech society, without questioning whether it’s beneficial for us. “It” is the way we’re running around all the time, over scheduled and exhausted – never having a moment for ourselves.
Everyone complains about that and wishes they had free time. Right? But is that really the truth? Murphy’s article seems to indicate otherwise.
Murphy cites a report that was published in the July 2014 issue of the journal Science. Researchers conducted eleven studies involving over 700 people – putting them in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think. The majority of the participants reported that they found it unpleasant to be left alone with their thoughts for a period of just 6 to 15 minutes. And, even more surprising, the results of one study showed that some people (64% of the men and 15% of the women) even preferred self-administered electric shocks to being left alone with their thoughts.
So…. what’s going on here? Is this just a quirky, somewhat amusing reflection of our hectic, multi-tasking lives? Or, are there more serious implications to be read into it? It’s certainly the latter. As Murphy indicates in the article, you can’t effectively solve or let go of problems if you don’t allow yourself time to think and reflect about them. And that means slowing things down enough so that your mind is open to discovering and exploring possibilities.
The article also points out the connection between self-reflection and the ability to empathize. As I’ve discussed in a prior blog, empathy is essential for us to understand our own needs and the needs of others. If we are empathic, we are better able to resolve conflict within ourselves and with others.
Although it may seem counterintuitive to our accomplishing as many of our “to-do” items as quickly as possible, there are clear benefits for all of us in slowing down and taking more time to reflect.
So what are you waiting for – stop “doing” and start reflecting!
Do you make time in your day for reflection and thought? If yes, how do you create a space for “me” time in your busy schedule?
Comments from Social Media
Valid title! Too many people resort to and use,[as a coping mechanism, which is learned, the….”keep feverishly busy” tactic, so as not to have time for “thinking” about their problems! Problem with this is; when there are moments of down times, the coping-mechanism proves its INability to be successful; even for those on medications that incorporate the busy tactic. We have a great capacity to deal with and face challenges, obstacles, and problems, and yet we lack the necessary tools for learning how to Cope! Instead, numbing oneself with medications and alcohol etc…along with diversion and avoidance strategies become the options most used. these are all learned behaviors, often modeled by our parents.