Key to happiness

The term toxic is defined as the “suffering from exposure to poisonous substances”. We sometimes refer to ourselves as toxic when we need to get so many things done. Productivity, if not controlled, or if forced to increase, can be harmful and therefore, toxic. While it is the blood that runs through the vines of workers and employees, it could become the poison that would kill the system if it goes out of hand. The workers do not notice that in the long run they will lose all their energy and productivity would decline along with their will to work.

Everybody seems to have a task to accomplish even during weekends. When it rains, it pours. This is not only applicable to problems in life, but to the tasks in school or in the workplace as well. We are compelled to accomplish so much in so little time that we neglect out health and our relationships in life. Sometimes, we think accomplishing more work in shorter time period would make us more productive, but in reality, it just makes us tired with no energy left for the coming tasks. The whole American society has become a walking and talking group of people who live and breathe work and productivity because as others think, working more brings in more money which spells happiness.

On the contrary, though, this addiction to work could be attributed to the fact that this society promotes achievement and perfection. In an environment where people thrive on stress, it is but normal to see employees who still work even on vacation. Their jobs have become their lives and they cannot seem to have the ability to detach themselves from it even just for a while. Many professionals today think that they have to achieve superhuman productivity in order to be worthy in the workplace.

They are often tormented by guilt and anxiety to deliver their best in their jobs.  It seems that their happiness lie in the work that they bury their heads into. The relation that exists between the mind and the body is very intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathizes. The condition of the mind affects the health to a far greater degree than many realize. Many of the diseases from which men suffer are the result of mental depression. Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life forces, and to invite decay and death.

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Disease is sometimes produced, and is often greatly aggravated, by the imagination. Many are lifelong invalids who might be well if they only thought so. Many imagine that very slight exposure will cause illness, and the evil disease, the cause of which is wholly imaginary. Courage, hope, faith, sympathy, love, promote health and prolong life. A contended mind, a cheerful spirit, is health to the body and strength to the soul. “A merry [rejoicing] heart doeth good like a medicine.” In the treatment of the sick, the effect of mental influence should not be overlooked. Rightly used, this influence affords one of the most effective agencies for combating disease. I tend to disagree that people need to lessen their desires just so they can achieve happiness.

In Joe Robinson’s Blackberry’s Don’t Fit in Bikinis, he discussed how the American society is fast becoming a society struck with Obsessive-Compulsive Productivity or OCP. The article talked about how vacation or other leisure activities could actually increase productivity. The article gave emphasis on the fact that people need to rest and recharge in order to increase productivity. It is necessary for the human mind to rest to be able to have the ability to think and work again. There is the continuous wanting for more. Perhaps it is this kind of obsession that I am against.

Robinson put it best when he used the term Obsessive-Compulsive Productivity to describe what is wrong with most American workers in the present time. This is the fixation to put out results althroughout the workday. It can also be considered an addiction as the people with this are usually workaholics. They are obsessed with accomplishing their tasks and work endlessly to deliver what is expected from them. They usually aim high and expect a lot from themselves and from others.

“Nearly 40% of Americans work more than 50 hours a week (Robinson Undated).” This is not surprising since it is a known fact that the nation has an insistent work ethic. What is alarming is that they work even on vacation and cannot really give themselves the break that they need and deserve. They rarely disconnect from work and they even bring their tasks in the comfort of their own homes. Naturally, they do not get much sleep and lack the rest and recreation that they badly need. Happiness must not be equated with just the work that they do but with people and relationships.

In a way, this could be attributed to the high-maintenance lifestyle of the Americans. They need to earn more in order to maintain the lifestyle that they have. Thus, they feel like they have to earn much to provide for their families. They tend to prioritize their careers over their families, which destroys the very essence of keeping a family. Some are just plain overachievers. They set high expectations and goals for themselves and they work very hard to make sure that their outputs meet the objectives that they set. The problem with this kind of employees is that they get frustrated easily when they do not reach their goals or when their co-employees fail to meet their expectations.

The American society should be alarmed because if this behavior continues until the following years, most of the employees will be victims of burnouts, they will not be able to perform well, thus productivity will eventually decrease and will result into low turnout of outputs in the workplace. The values that are being instilled in the minds of the young ones will be the same as the values kept by their predecessors. Americans place a high value on their competence and ability to do the tasks given to them. Their self-worth largely depends on what they are capable to do more than what they are made of. This will be passed on to the next generation and a new generation of workaholics in the society will be created.

Americans do not realize that the quality of life is sacrificed because of these misconceptions about work and productivity. When one’s life revolves around his career, his relationships suffer. He does not have much time even for himself, how much more for other people? This is dangerous because in time the nation will become a nation obsessed with accomplishments and work productivity, not valuing what truly matters in this life like family and friends. In fact, the personal well-being is at stake because not only do these employees tend to sacrifice their families, they disregard their health as well.

“A study last year by the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that chronic 12-hour workdays increase your risk of illness or injury by 37%. Work without time to think, analyze or recharge feeds knee-jerk performance and the hurry-worry of stress. Everything appears urgent when there isn’t time to judge what is truly urgent and what isn’t (Robinson undated).”

Robinson emphasizes the importance of taking a vacation and really enjoying it. Every faithful employee must have the chance to detach themselves from their offices at least at a regular given time period. They should be able to stop and smell the flowers and then get back to work. They will not necessarily slack off but just a slow down a little. Some cannot detach themselves from their work that even on vacation, they always put their work first. A vacation would provide the mind to rest for a while and prepare it for the challenges ahead. It will slow down the processing and give the mind and the body the opportunity to re-energize and prepare for the coming tasks.

Studies also showed that the performance in the workplace drastically improves after a vacation. The H Group, an investment services company in Salem, Oregon, doubled the income after the owner, Ron Kelemen increases the time off of the employees to three and a half weeks (Robinson 2006).  Another example is Jancoa, a Cincinnati cleaning company. When they changed to a three-week vacation policy, the productivity of their workers flew high enough to cut overtime and the profits increased to fifteen percent (Robinson 2006). This just proves and shows that continuous productivity is not the answer to job competence and efficiency. It is wise to sit back for a while and do no work than to continuously work, produce mediocre outputs and get tired in the process.

If not properly monitored, this might go on and on and will be passed to the next generation of employees who will also be obsessed with productivity. It looks like the trend is most likely to continue in the future because at the rate we are going, we will not just going to be a society, but a nation of workaholics. We should really learn to stop and smell the flowers, we should learn to rest for a while and enjoy a vacation.

Obsessive-compulsive productivity is likely to continue in the future because there are no indications that the society is going to change soon. The technological innovations aggravate the situation. The more gadgets are produced to make work easier for humans, the more they will be addicted to productivity. These technological gadgets have a deep effect on the values of American employees. We firmly believe that because these equipment exists, we need to get more work done in the least possible time. What we do not know that these innovations were developed for us to finish our work faster and have more time for rest and recreation.

All work and no play make John a doll boy. This is especially true for the students in the university and the corporate people in the business district. We need to let ourselves rest for a while, then wake up to get back to work. Because if we just go through, we might not have enough energy left after a couple of years. Contrary to what other people think that they should work and work and work to get there, it is better if they should work and rest to go back again, or work and rest in the weekend, and then go back to work.

Dr. Steven E. Hyman is Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the National Institutes of Health charged with generating the knowledge needed to understand, treat and prevent mental illness. He continues to direct an active research program in molecular neurobiology focused on how neurotransmitters, especially dopamine and glutamate, alter the expression of genes in the striatum producing long-term changes in neural function that can influence behavior. Hillary Clinton was a former First Lady who was elected to the United States Senate and the first woman elected stateswide in New York.

Given this background, we can say that all these authors are experts in their own fields of expertise. They are biased about their topics because they had been exposed to that all their lives. They have conducted the results of studies similar to these for many years. That accounts for their respective biases. One need not lessen one’s wants because this will also create uneasiness. |One just have to be happy with what he has and then strive and plan for the best.

Sometimes, this inclination for more is a mental disease. I am inclined to support the theory that mental illness is indeed a disease and is treatable. This could be called the “organic” theory which supports the biochemical causation of mental disease. This holds that what we call the mind is the interplay of the nerve cells of the body. Therefore, the mind, at the very least, is indirectly subject to the ordinary physical and chemical laws that govern those cells. I believe that even if a mental disorder arises from an outside stress, it is the neurons that respond to the stress either well or poorly, and the varying ability to respond to the stress healthfully must have its basis in a biochemical difference. Favoring the organic theory is the fact that some forms of mental disease have indeed been found to have a biochemical basis.

Sad and dissatisfied for now, but we need not be in the future. People just need to me more aware and appreciative of the little things. Simple acts of love, safe arrivals, peaceful exchanges between neighboring countries and people helping each other are noteworthy events. We feed our minds either bleak or beautiful and happy imagery. Why not inspire ourselves and choose to be happy no matter what happens. Wanting to be happy and more loving on a sustained basis directs us to seek peaceful roads less traveled.

REFERENCES

Bobgan, M and Bobgan, D. 1987. Mental Illness is Not a Disease. Mental Illness. Greenhaven Press.

Key to Happiness. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/?nk=43975a015ad5196135913d0f574b7afc-1488388529

Robinson, John. Blueberry’s Don’t Fit In Bikinis. Los Angeles Times. 2006.

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