How good are you in dealing with stillness? What is the first thing you do when you arrive at work? I know what I do often. I just jump right into it. Am I active? Yes. But am I productive? That is up to chance. That is a good sign that I am suffering from action addiction. Do you too?
What are the reasons for it? I think there might be a few. Firstly, I think that one reason is impatience. I don’t want to wait but sometimes I just have to. What do I do? I don’t enjoy the opportunity of taking a break but I often rather do something else. Nothing specific but just to make the time go by faster. However, I am rarely in the present moment. Life is just passing by and I think about when I can finally move on. So, I am still impatient, but do something just to be busy and I am not present. Kind of a lose-lose. What helps is to have more mindfulness breaks throughout the day. And, with more mindfulness practice I can actually enjoy those times when I am “forced” to wait.
There is also this experiment where a few people are placed in a room and then one is lead to another room to wait there. This room has nothing in it to stimulate the brain, except a small toy which when pressed will give you an electric shock. The participant knew this toy from before and tried it out already. He didn’t want to ever use it again, because it was so painful. The researcher observed what the person was doing when being alone in the room. After a very short time the person stood up and walked around the room. After a few minutes he took the toy and pressed the button again. That is mind-blowing. We rather endure pain than boredom. I am still not sure if that does have something to do with the first point of being impatient. Being aware of our drive to move and to act might also help us to counter this need.
A third reason might be expectations. The expectations we have towards ourselves and also the expectations we think others have for us. Imagine you are at work, but you don’t know what to do or you don’t have something to do. There are those times and it is not a problem It is a wonderful opportunity to recharge and refocus. But what are we doing? We try to look as if we are busy. Always doing something. Because we want to see as being productive and hard-working. But we aren’t productive. Merely active. We run into a direction but we have no idea if we really want to go there. That is why having clear priorities are helpful. But that is a topic for another article.
The next time you get to work. Just sit still for a minute. Do you feel restless? Do you feel the urge to do something? Then you might suffer from action addiction. Acknowledging the fact is a step in the right direction. What helps me is to practice mindfulness. Maybe you try it out, too =).