Inactivity Can Be Depressing

Have you heard the expression, an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop? There is a lot of truth to this. Our minds are powerful and the things you think about can make or break your attitude towards life. A good example of this is the person who looks forward to retirement, but get depressed months afterwards and returns to work. One would think this would be the best time of your life having the ultimate flexible schedule. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out this way. Another example is the college student who looks forward to having the summer off, but then spends most of the time at home having trouble getting out of bed or being chronically irritable. Not everyone has trouble with downtime, but some people need more stimulation than others. In fact, we are increasingly becoming accustomed to continuous mental stimulation with the availability of portable entertainment devices such as ipods, etc. But even these devices aren’t enough, they’re only fillers. We still need a major purpose to keep us occupied. For many people this purpose is their job, school, child care, etc. If you are in a position where you have lost your major purpose – that is the thing that takes up the bulk of your mental space – you need to replace it with something else. This would be the time to embrace a hobby or do volunteer work. Develop projects that give you a purpose for the day. When you create an agenda, don’t get too focused on whether or not what you are doing is making a difference in the world. This can only serve to distract you from doing things that give you pleasure. Just as we nurture our physical health, we also need to nurture our mental health. Filling up your mental space with purposeful activities can help distract you from the negative thoughts of the bored, idle mind.