The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond

The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond

How to Find Respite in the Modern Age

The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond

Buy book - The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond

What is the subject of the book The Art of Rest?

The Art of Rest (2019) is a documentary that takes an in-depth look at the realm of rest. The findings of The Rest Test, an online poll of more than 18,000 individuals from 135 countries regarding rest, are used as a starting point to investigate which activities people find most peaceful, and why two-thirds of respondents felt they didn't get enough sleep in their lives. It examines the 10 most common methods to rest, as well as the challenges and proven advantages associated with each of these relaxing activities, all based on scientific study.

Who is it that reads the book The Art of Rest?

  • Anyone who is interested in health and wellbeing
  • Those that value their own well-being
  • Individuals that take pleasure in spending time alone themselves

What is the identity of Claudia Hammond?

The novelist and psychology professor Claudia Hammond is the recipient of many awards. She also serves as a host for podcasts and radio programs, including BBC Radio 4's All in the Mind and the BBC World Service's Health Check. Among her other works are Mind Over Money, Time Warped, and Emotional Rollercoaster, among others.

What exactly is in it for me? You'll learn how to integrate more restfulness into your life by reading this article.

 You are not alone if you find life to be difficult at times. Life is a constant source of stress. Every little thing adds up, from pressure at work to stress at home, unopened emails to dishes left unwashed - and the continuous existential anguish doesn't get any easier. The good news is that there is a simple remedy for stress: sleep. It was for this reason that the Rest Test, the biggest study on rest ever undertaken, attempted to identify exactly those activities individuals regard to be the most restful. The quiz took 40 minutes to complete and received responses from over 18,000 individuals from 135 countries in 2016. The top ten restful activities were also included in the book The Art of Rest. These notes provide insight into five of the ten actions described above. Their explanations of both why these activities are restorative and how obtaining the proper type of rest may enhance your life are interwoven throughout the book.

Learn how doing nothing may enhance your memory, which types of music are the most soothing, and how to strike the right balance between solitude and social life in these notes.

Stress has negative consequences for one's health and well-being. Rest may be beneficial.

 You may locate it at your place of employment. You'll be able to locate it at home. This substance can be found pretty much everywhere throughout the world. Current anxieties, as well as regrets about the past and fears about the future, may be a cause of it in certain people. If all of this riddling is stressing you out, that's only natural - after all, stress is exactly what's being discussed here! We are living in a period of great stress. The constant clamor of the hustling world necessitates a mindset of chronic activity that is constantly on. It may seem as though there isn't enough time to take it easy. Or, if there is, there is still the nagging, guilty sense that you are not deserving of any rest. However, the ramifications of failing to rest may be much more serious than a brief twinge of guilty conscience. The most important lesson to take away from this is that stress is harmful to one's health and well-being. Rest may be beneficial.

The consequences of being under too much stress have long been known. According to a survey conducted by the Mental Health Foundation in 2018, half a million individuals in the United Kingdom suffer from work-related stress. According to the same study, almost three-quarters of Britons had stress levels so high that they were unable to function normally at some time throughout the year. People who are stressed out tend to sleep less than those who are not stressed out. And this has the potential to have catastrophic effects. According to one research conducted in the United States, tiredness was responsible for 13 percent of occupational accidents. Sixteen percent of those who answered the survey confessed to falling asleep behind the wheel lately.

Adding insult to injury, inadequate sleep is associated with an array of possible health issues, ranging from hypertension and stroke to mood disorders, obesity and colorectal cancer to name just a few. As a result, obtaining enough sleep is critical. Overtiredness, whether caused by a lack of sleep or a lack of rest, has a negative impact on your cognitive skills. Exhaustion may result in memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, and poor decision-making. Moreover, activities that would usually be simple may become very difficult to do. Adults aren't the only ones who suffer from a lack of quality sleep. Break periods have been abolished in UK schools during the past 20 years in order to provide more time for additional classes. In the United Kingdom, just 1% of secondary schools have an afternoon break, despite research showing that breaks enhance student attention. We might all benefit from getting more sleep, whether we are baby boomers, millennials, or members of Generation Z.

But here's the thing: there's really just one method to get enough sleep - and that's to sleep. The opposite of restlessness is seen in a wide variety of activities that we may engage in when we are awake.

Even while doing nothing in particular is a common form of relaxation, many individuals find it difficult to do so.

 When you hear the term "rest," what comes to mind first? Perhaps you see yourself engaging in mindfulness exercises, vegging out in front of the television, or taking a leisurely stroll. Relaxing activities such as daydreaming or taking a hot bath are recommended. Among the more than 18,000 answers to the Rest Test, many individuals mentioned these as their favorite hobbies for unwinding after a long day at work. However, despite the fact that they all fall inside the top ten, none of them are among the top five, which is surprising. Because of this, it may come as a surprise to learn that the first restful activity on our list, which comes in at number five, isn't really much of an activity at all. It is doing absolutely nothing. The most important lesson here is that doing nothing in particular is a popular kind of relaxing activity, yet many individuals find it difficult to do so.

Despite the fact that doing nothing may seem like the ultimate form of relaxation, nonactivity is not often seen favorably in modern culture. Sitting for long periods of time or spending days in bed may also contribute to a variety of health issues, including decreased calcium absorption and muscle mass. Fortunately, there are some promising advantages for those who want to do absolutely nothing. For starters, boredom may have a beneficial impact on one's ability to be creative. In one research, two sets of participants were instructed to come up with as many different applications for a plastic cup as they could come up with. The first group was given some time to transcribe numbers from a phone book by hand before being challenged to come up with creative ideas. The second group just jumped right in and started to work. Guess who came up with even more creative ways to utilize plastic cups? The same squad that had been assigned to the tedious phonebook job, you guessed it!

It is also possible to enhance your memory by doing absolutely nothing. A 2004 research looked at individuals who had suffered from amnesia after having a stroke. 15 words were assigned for them to remember. One group engaged in mental activities for ten minutes, while the other sat in a darkened room for the same time period. Then they were put to the test in terms of their recollections. On average, the first group remembered 14 percent of the words, while the second group – which we'll refer to as the do-nothing group – remembered 49 percent of the words on average.

As a result, doing nothing at all may be beneficial in certain situations. But what if you find it difficult to justify participating in a relaxing period of doing nothing at all? One approach is to do virtually nothing — for example, crocheting, coloring books, or jigsaw puzzles – for a few hours each day. After enough repetition, you will be able to do the task without having to think about it, allowing your mind to roam guilt-free.

Listening to slow music may be quite soothing, as long as you like the song and it is not too complicated to understand.

 Consider the following scenario: you are a participant in a psychological experiment at your institution. You've just been tasked with the job of deciphering some very challenging anagrams. The issue is that your brain simply can't seem to figure out how to decipher the codes. What do you think these words are? Think! The situation is made worse by the fact that the other player is making fast progress. He is able to quickly answer the anagrams and takes advantage of the additional time to harass you. He has doubts about your intellect. He wonders aloud how you were able to get into college in the first place. You'll be terribly irritated before you know it. And you're still angry after discovering that this pompous knucklehead wasn't even a participant in the first place. He was working with the researchers as an accomplice.

In this section, the researchers offer you a question: What kind of music would you listen to to help you relax and unwind? Which is better: a basic melody or a complicated melody? The main point to take away from this is that listening to slow music is soothing as long as you like the song and it is not too complicated. The findings of this experiment, conducted in 1976 by Serbian-American psychologist Vladimir Koneni, were unequivocally positive. In the end, the vast majority of participants (79 percent) preferred simpler and quieter music. Listening to music ranked fourth on the list of the most popular restful activities in the Rest Test. However, this does not imply that all music is relaxing.

Varied types of music have different effects on our emotions. Music in a major key that is fast and discordant is more likely to elicit feelings of exhilaration, while slow and dissonant music in a minor key is more likely to elicit feelings of sorrow. So, what kind of music has the power to lull you into a state of deep relaxation? This may be accomplished by playing a slow tune with smooth, flowing rhythms in a major key. This seems to be something we instinctively understand. According to the findings of another research, one set of volunteers laid down on a blanket and rested for seven minutes, while another group cycled hard on exercise bikes. When asked what kind of music they would want to listen to later, those on the quilt had a mixed response — they either wanted something upbeat to get them going or something calm to keep them in a relaxed mindset. The slower music was chosen by a large majority of the riders.

However, this does not rule out other types of music as being soothing, such as basic, slow music. For example, according to a recent study, 96 percent of the 600 participants stated that music helped them relax and fall asleep faster. Their pre-sleep music choices, on the other hand, were very diverse. In fact, classical music was chosen by 32 percent of respondents, while Ed Sheeran was chosen by many others, and a handful chose house music. To put it another way, relaxing music isn't restricted to generic relaxation playlists on YouTube or other such sites. The requirements are, in reality, far more straightforward: the music should not be too fast or too complicated – and, most importantly, it should be something you like.

Small amounts of alone time may be rejuvenating if you pick the right location and the right time of day.

 Perhaps you've observed that several of the most popular sources of restfulness on the Rest Test are activities that require one to be alone. As a result, it may come as no surprise that being alone scores highly on the list, at number three, to be precise (see below). We can all understand the desire to be alone from time to time. Some respondents, particularly women under the age of 30 who answered the survey, said that spending quality time alone is their preferred method to unwind. Activities that are more social, such as spending time with friends and family, did not even make the list of top ten. In the meanwhile, where do we draw the line between pleasant isolation and depressing loneliness? The most important lesson to take away from this is: Small amounts of alone time may be rejuvenating if you pick the right location and the right time of day.

In the same way that doing nothing is soothing in certain circumstances, being alone is only relaxing in others. It's generally the reverse of relaxing when you're forced to be alone, as is the case with solitary confinement in jails. Extreme isolation, according to psychological research, may have a negative impact on a prisoner's cognitive skills. It is possible that the absence of stimulation may eventually lead individuals to forget who they are, resulting in the loss of their sense of identity. Similarly, other, less severe forms of forced alone time, such as prolonged periods of unemployment, are not very relaxing.

The quality of your social relationships has an impact on whether or not you feel calm or lonely. If you have fewer friends than you would want to have, you may experience feelings of loneliness when you are by yourself. Surprisingly, having a large number of friends has the same effect. According to the findings of an Iowa State University research, it is less important to have a certain quantity of friendships than it is to have deep connections with those friends. If you have close friends to whom you can return, you will find that your time alone is rejuvenating. You must first realize that you are alone in order for it to be restorative time. After all, individuals spend about 29 percent of their waking hours engaged in lonely activities such as traveling to work, grocery shopping, and gazing at their cellphones. These pursuits, on the other hand, are not often considered to be healthy alone time.

The key to obtaining peaceful isolation is to set your own parameters for doing so. It isn't simply about getting away from people, job, or bothersome responsibilities. Taking some time for yourself also allows you to be more in tune with your emotions and focus on your own identity, free from the demands and judgements of others. But keep in mind that you shouldn't put any more strain on yourself during this period.

Spending time in nature may be both relaxing and beneficial to your mood.

 Where do you spend the most of your alone time? If you're like the majority of Americans, you'll be spending it at home. Now, where would you want to spend the most of your alone time? If you're still like the majority of people, the solution may be found in nature. Although we may be devoted city dwellers who have spent our whole lives avoiding mosquito bites, many of us connect nature with some kind of relaxation. Spending time in nature is remains high on the list of restful activities, ranking second on the Rest Test despite the fact that we don't do it as frequently as we'd like. The most important lesson to take away from this is: Spending time in nature may be both relaxing and beneficial to your mood.

Nature, according to many who advocate for spending more time with the birds and the trees, has the ability to ease our worries and brighten our moods. Nevertheless, is a dose of nature really restorative, or do we just believe it to be so? To discover out, let's have a look at a few research. The subgenual prefrontal cortex (the brain area associated with emotions of sorrow and negative thoughts) was measured in one study by researchers at Stanford University, using brain scanners to assess activity. A 90-minute walk followed, with half of the participants walking along a six-lane highway and the other half walking along a nature path. After they returned, their brains were examined for a second time. Only individuals who went for a stroll in the woods had lower levels of activity in the same region of the brain. This means they had less negative thinking than individuals who were walking along the city roadway.

A little dosage of nature may also have the potential to enhance one's mood and ability to concentrate, even if the dose is just in virtual form. Participants were given a challenging computer job and then given a 40-second micro-break to gaze at either a gray roof or the identical roof that had been altered to be covered in a lush green meadow. The results of the experiment were published in 2015. Those who gazed up at the green roof were able to maintain their concentration for a longer period of time after the micro-break.

Consequently, spending time in nature, or even simply being exposed to it, has many health and wellness benefits. However, whether or not you find nature to be peaceful is dependent on your personality and the significance you place on certain landscapes. Especially if you've been going to the same forest since you were a kid, it may have particular emotional significance for you. In contrast, an unpleasant jellyfish encounter may result in you no longer considering the tropical seashore to be one of your favorite places.

Reading is the most popular pastime for those who want to unwind.

 So it's possible that your lifetime phobia of mosquitoes prevents you from engaging in nature therapy as a relaxing pastime. Perhaps you'd like to remain inside, curled up with a good book. Not to be concerned. In the Rest Test, 58 percent of participants said that reading was their preferred method of obtaining rest. Reading outperformed other hobbies like as mindfulness and watching television. And, unlike late-night screen use, reading before bed does not seem to be associated with worse overall sleep quality. Those who chose reading showed greater levels of self-esteem and optimism than those who did not. The most important thing to take away from this is that reading is the most popular relaxing activity.

Reading is often characterized as a passive pastime, but this isn't entirely true. Read on to find out why. For starters, it is cognitively taxing - you observe the forms of letters and link them together to form words, which is difficult to do at times. Then you make a comparison between what you've read and what you already know. Reading has also been shown to be physically stimulating. As an example, consider the following 1988 experiment conducted by Zimbabwean clinical psychologist Victor Nell. Nell invited self-described bookworms to participate in his study in South Africa, where he tested the physiological consequences of reading on their bodies.

In the first stage, he placed participants into a state of ennui by putting them in transparent goggles and playing white noise for 10 minutes straight. His next task required participants to do one of the following: read for 30 minutes, shut their eyes and rest for five minutes; gaze at photographs; or do mental arithmetic problems or logic difficulties During each assignment, Nell took measurements of their respiration, pulse rates, and muscle activity. Reading, with the potential exception of math, was shown to be the activity that provided the most physiological stimulation to participants when compared to the other activities. In other words, reading is a relaxing activity that does not completely shut down the brain. It also has no effect on the physical body.

Because reading is seen as a sedentary activity, previous studies have underestimated its potential. A 2009 American research attempting to demonstrate the superiority of yoga made the mistake of comparing it to the activity of reading. Stress levels and blood pressure decreased significantly after 30 minutes of yoga. However, the same thing occurred after half an hour of reading Newsweek stories, which is a far less physically demanding exercise than reading. We are still perplexed as to why reading is so relaxing. One hint may be found in your ability to direct the experience: you have the ability to read at your own speed and in your own manner. Reading – whether fiction or nonfiction – may also take you to other people's lives and help you escape your own. The sensation of reading may linger in your mind for hours, days, or even years after you finish it. And, rather of clearing your thoughts, it fills them with new ones.

Make time for the appropriate sort of restfulness in your schedule.

 As we've seen, rest is critical to our overall health and well-being. We must consume enough amounts of it in order to live healthy lives. And taking rest seriously is the first step in accomplishing this goal. We don't consider sleep to be a luxury, but good sleep is regularly seen as a nice-to-have in today's society. Most likely, you are aware of how many hours of sleep you had last night, as well as whether or not you slept well. But, how many hours of sleep did you get the night before? What sort of sleep did you get? Was it sufficient? Everyone sleeps in a different way, so it's essential to discover the kind of sleep that works best for you. Jogging ten miles every morning may be a good way for your best buddy to unwind, but if you don't find running to be relaxing, don't do it - at least not in the name of rest. The most important lesson to take away from this is to prioritize the appropriate type of restfulness. Here are a few pointers.

Maybe there isn't a single restfulness remedy that works for everyone. Nonetheless, according to the findings of the Rest Test, the individuals who scored the highest in overall well-being rested an average of five hours each day. It may seem to be a lot, but you are likely to be resting without even noticing it over the course of your day. Recognizing when you are resting is an important part of concentrating on rest - whether it is during your commute or while you prepare supper for yourself. It's also a question of proportion: individuals who reported getting no rest on a daily basis saw their well-being ratings drop, as did those who reported getting more than six hours of sleep. Everyone is unique in their own way. If you discover that three hours of relaxation is plenty for you, don't push yourself any more.

One of the most challenging aspects of taking time to relax is dealing with the guilt that comes with it. This is especially true in today's world, when people are obsessed with being busy and don't give themselves the freedom to rest. In order to live a more peaceful life, you should practice allowing yourself to take breaks and participate in activities that are relaxing. It may also be beneficial to plan time for relaxation in your calendar amid your other commitments and obligations. When you're strapped for time, think about integrating shorter periods of restfulness – or even micro-breaks – into your daily routine instead. For a few minutes, daydream, look out the window, draw, or otherwise occupy your time.

One last word of caution: it is easy to lose sight of the ultimate objective of rest while you are engrossed in the process of seeking it. Restfulness has its advantages when practiced in moderation. However, if you become so concerned with obtaining adequate sleep that it begins to cause you worry, it may be time to reassess your situation.

The last chapter of the book The Art of Rest.

The most important lesson in these notes is that in order to cope with the stresses of life, you must strike a balance between restfulness and activity. Some hobbies, such as reading, listening to music, spending time in nature, or just doing nothing, are well-known as sources of relaxation. However, since everyone's sleeping patterns are different, you should choose one or more relaxing hobbies that will help you unwind and recharge. Advice that can be put into action: Face stress head-on with 15 minutes of your favorite stress-relieving activity. Take out your prescription pad whenever you're feeling anxious - everyone is their own doctor in this place – and give yourself 15 minutes of rest. Ideally, this relaxing pastime should be one that instantly relaxes your frazzled thoughts. Everyone has a distinct experience. You may choose to listen to music, practice mindfulness, or read a chapter from your book while you're doing this exercise. In addition, it may be something that did not reach the top ten in the Rest Test, such as gardening or cooking. Whatever you pick, it will only take 15 minutes, so there is no need to feel bad about yourself.

Buy book - The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond

Written by BrookPad Team based on The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond

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