Children are always on the move. Adults don’t like to move at all. Children are not locomotory simply because they want to. They actually need to. Our muscles are made in such a way that they grow by activity. Children need to grow so they are active in order to do just that.
Don’t be in the habit of shouting at them when they can’t sit still for a few minutes. It’s not their fault. It’s just a stage in life. Movement also makes them explore the environment and learn how the world works.
Even for an adult movement is more necessary than we think. If you stopped using your legs for a month they would reduce in size and shrink. Our actions are one of the key determinants of their size. If you don’t use them they just start to get smaller.
The whys and hows are grievances best levied on medical students. But just for curiosity’s sake, this process is called atrophy.
The muscles are not alone in their need for activity to survive. They follow a pattern imitated by several other organs in the body. One such organ is the brain. Just like the legs, if the brain is not used it starts to get sick.
For far too long we have extolled perpetual rest and getting a big break. Paradise for us means we don’t get to work but we eat and just chill out. But even if you were given this life, you wouldn’t last a few months. Using our body is a given because of things like eating and exploring the beach.
But you can decide not to use your brain at all. Sure, the simple stuff will still be handled by the lower brain centers. But the part of the brain that separates us from animals needs more complex problems to solve.
Brains are meant to think just like legs are meant to walk. If we don’t give the brain something to think about it will shrink…allegorically speaking. And we need our brains intact so that we can live.
There is some good news though. Here it is. The brain is not incapacitated. It will find something to do. Unfortunately, it has a tendency to reflect on the sad memories only.
Sadness leads to stress. Stress kills. Even animals are killed by stress and they have small brains. Our bigger brains will not fare any better. In fact, we can create stress more vividly. The stories of people retiring and dying not long after because they had nothing to do is almost becoming a cliché. Hmm, looks like it was not good news after all.
So our brains need to be kept active. They need problems to solve. And our jobs give us just that. Problems to solve, no matter how trivial they may seem.
In a way, we are not just working to get the basics of life. We are working because it keeps us alive. Perhaps we need to change our attitude about work. Rest is important, but work is equally important.
Today when you sit at your workplace, be it in school, in an office, in the open sun, or in a vehicle… Be jubilant and grateful because that job is keeping you alive in more ways than you think.
Got an extended holiday? Pick up a hobby, something you will enjoy doing without the pressure of pleasing someone. It will be just as invigorating as lounging in the sun once resting gets boring.