Rhythm marks wellbeing – physical, emotional, and mental. Without rhythm, we become sick. Could rhythm be the key to mental fitness, health, happiness, and performance? Can you feel your rhythm today?
Our global data shows a world in pain. Some work so hard – without breaks – that their lives are a manic, mindless sprint through mountains of digits. Most have lost the rhythms of work, travel, family, social activity, and predictable rest. Anxiety, frustration, and despair result.
This is flatland. It is dangerous. At its core, mental illness is a loss of neural rhythm. The coherent cycle of the brain through task positive (focused engagement) and default mode (rest and refresh) is the foundation of human function. When this coherent rhythm is lost, we flail. In attention disorders, autism, anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia this coherent rhythm is lost.
Even the brain wants to dance quietly in the background.
Nature is full of rhythm. Seasons, weathers systems, circadian and ultradian cycles, attention and recovery, temperature, breath, heartbeat and many more. On-off, up-down, warm-cold, chase-digest and bright dark, rhythm is how living things function best.
Modern life is mechanised. Here, now, always on, fast, and exactly what you want how you like it. The foundation rhythms of human sleep, activity, and rest are systematically disrupted. We think of ourselves like a computer – always on at 100%. ‘Tis folly. Lockdowns make it immeasurably worse.
It is tempting to solve our distress with more information, more documentation, more safety, and more compliance. Or, we simply work harder and longer. The digital tsunami seeks to capture your attention 24 x 7.
Here is a top ten list to restore, rebuild and refine the rhythm of success:
- Plan, diarise and secure daily down-time – read, breathe, savour nature
- Discover and ritualise the optimal time to wake and get going
- Build three short activity blocks into every day – stretch, walk, and strain
- Develop a 90-minute cool down prior to sleep – cool, dark and quiet
- Work in short, 100% focused bursts of engagement with one task
- Take a good break to ‘walkabout’ at least once an hour
- Schedule 90-minutes of flow time every day at the best time for you
- Relax a little before eating and savour every meal – appreciate
- In the storm of negative emotions, press toward the positive – laugh
- Engage and enjoy those you care for at least three times a day
The basic rhythm of human success is quite standard. The fine details are yours to secure. This variance is both individuality and resilience for humanity.
Know if you are a lark or an owl. Work to your genetic rhythm. Work out if you flow comes in the morning or evening. Protect and cherish that time with grit. Find the activity form and sequence that works best for you. Break routines, trial new habits, and keep what works. Be curious. Be playful.
Enjoy the dance of fulfilment.