Martha Beck discusses ways to restore your energy for life.
A lot of people come to me and ask, “How do I restore my excitement, my passion, my energy for life? I am feeling so uninspired and listless.”
My answer more often than not is that in our culture we sort of really focus on achievement and excitement and being up and getting things done.
We don’t focus much on the compliment of that, which is rest. Very, very often if you don’t know what way you are supposed to go in your life, what you are really supposed to do is rest for a while. It’s that simple, every animal knows it.
I was just recently in Africa and I watched some lions come back from hunting and they sort of threw themselves on the ground and they rolled over on their backs and they started purring so loudly that it was like tractor engines.
And my friend who was with me looked to me and he said, “You know what, lions rest like they mean it.”
And I thought, you know what, we don’t rest like we mean it. We don’t just let ourselves totally relaxed and let go of all need to achieve. During the period of relaxation we never turn off the lights.
So what I found with myself and my clients is if I asked them, how old do you feel? And they say they feel older than their actual chronological age, they almost always just need a period of physical rest and also psychological rest.
So if you are feeling uninspired stop trying to do anything. Do nothing for a while. Roll over on your back and purr until you feel like getting up again.
Don’t worry, rest restores and as you rest, as you come to the end of the resting period you will feel a surge of energy.
So I like to say that life is a balanced sort of interplay between rest and play.
Play is when we reach outward for power through activity and rest is when we reach inward for power through peace.
Both are powerful actions and they are both necessary but we ignore peace and rest to our detriment.
About Martha Beck:
Martha Beck, Ph.D., is a writer and life coach who specializes in helping people design satisfying and meaningful life experiences. She holds a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies and master's and Ph.D. degrees in sociology, all from Harvard University. She has published academic books and articles on a variety of social science and business topics.
Her non-academic books include the New York Times bestsellers “Expecting Adam” and “Leaving the Saints,” as well as “Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live” and her newest book, “Steering by Starlight.” Dr. Beck has also been a contributing editor for many popular magazines, including Real Simple and Redbook, and is currently a columnist for O, the Oprah Magazine.