I suspect in the days of Plato time seemed to move more slowly than today. When seven year olds tell you that the year has gone quickly you know that time is speeding up. Most of us are probably wondering how it can be Christmas in three weeks when last Christmas seems like it was yesterday.
The main reason time seems to fly is that we are all so busy. This is with our work, our families, our interests and of course technology, which has us “plugged in” 24/7. This raises the next question, which is can we, slow things down? And in doing so will that help stress levels.
The key driver of stress is feeling out of control. The feeling that events are happening around you and to you and that you are powerless to influence them. And the more that seems to be happening, the more stressed we can feel.
Stress is a major factor affecting our health. Often health is promoted as meaning eating a “healthy” diet or doing exercise. But as I have written many times, there are eight pillars of health. The fuels we put on our body and movement are but two.
Sleep and relaxation are also pillars of health. Many of us do not get enough sleep and find ourselves tired during the day. Relaxation which is “chilling out” while we are awake also matters. This can be listening to music, reading, playing, meditation or in fact anything that you enjoy which relaxes you.
We also need to have fun. In these crazy PC days it can be hard to find things to laugh at but despite the current rule of the humorless, it is still possible to laugh.
Modern technology can be a help or a hindrance. If we get caught up in every event from around the globe it will be overwhelming. And to be blunt we can’t solve everyone else’s problems from afar. But we can be more connected to friends and family than ever before.
But with connections to everyone, many can find themselves alone. A chat in person is still a very worthwhile thing. Good relationships are another pillar of health
Whenever there is unexpected loss of life we are reminded that life can change in an instant. And that our hold on life may be more tenuous that we like to think.
This means that we need to enjoy each day. It means that we need to give hugs to those we care about and make sure they know we do care about them. It means that we need to spend our time doing what makes us happy and that have purpose. It means we may need to reassess commitments and reduce those that cause stress and angst.
Time is the only finite resource we have. Not one of us knows how much we have left. As the New Year rapidly approaches invest some time thinking about how you use your time and could it be better spent.
Dr Joe Kosterich MBBS is an author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, who wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life. Dr Joe also gives practical, motivational health talks for the general public and organisations where he is known as “An independent doctor who talks about health”. His latest book “60 minutes to Better Health” is available on Amazon.