Can we talk about the fact that you can’t rest?

April 20, 2022

I’m not going out on a limb here. Most of us – me included – are regularly too worked up to get ahold of ourselves and settle down. We are unable to be at rest. And by at rest, I don’t just mean the ability to sleep, although THAT certainly is a problem.

“40% of Americans are chronically sleep deprived, getting less than the necessary minimum of seven hours a night. Since 1942, the average amount of time a person sleeps has been slashed by an hour a night. The amount of sleep we get has dropped by 20% in just 100 years.”

Being at rest also includes our ability to pay attention, be present and give the right amount of consideration to the things that matter.

Professor Joel Nigg, Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Behavioral Neuroscience at the Oregon Health and Science University believes “we are now developing an attentional pathogenic culture – an environment in which sustained and deep focus is extremely hard for all of us.”

We are both distracted and exhausted. That is a dreadful psycho/social combo to have to deal with in a world such as we inhabit today. I am thankful for the work of Johann Hari and his new book Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention And How To Think Deeply Again . The above quotes are from Hari’s work. I intend to take the next few weeks and process, out loud, my musings based on the book combined with my four decades of working with fellow weary, preoccupied people.

I will explore the toll our restlessness and distractedness is taking on us. I also will delve into the sources of our agitation. Finally, I hope to suggest some solutions without resorting to “cruel optimism” (more on that phrase later).

Stay tuned…but before you go…take a minute and do a little self-assessment.

How many uninterrupted minutes do you get in a day?

How much time can you focus on any one thing?

How many times do you touch your smartphone in 24 hours?

How many books have you read in the past 12 months?

How many hours per day do you face a screen?

How much sleep DO you get, on average?

Is it quality sleep?

Can you give undivided attention to the people who are important to you?

How much time do you have to dream and imagine possibilities?

Are you at rest, at peace and attentive?

Do you want to be?



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