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ls Busyness Different from Happiness?

Guided by our technology, our responsibilities seem to be endless. We rarely get the chance to put down our devices when we are on call every moment of the day. As college students, many of us take on multiple roles of student, athlete, family member and employee, while still being expected to give each role our entire effort and focus.

Copyright-free image edited by Sarah Broyles

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Teens are constantly told they will regret missed opportunities, but when did peace and relaxation get benched in order be a perfectly well-rounded person?

In a Washington Post interview, Jessica Huey, a graduate of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, referred to her “nervous breakdowns” and “mountains of homework” that constantly occupied her thoughts.

Success has always been defined by achievements, but some achievements are simply not enough anymore.

Frantic schedules are filled until there is no time left in the day to relax, with the exception of the drive time between each responsibility.

Our drive is one of the solitary opportunities to take time to think and reflect.

Huey commented that all of her classmates experience stress that comes with the weight of their responsibilities.

It has become a normal occurrence to us all, and there is no longer a chance to act your age as students are becoming forced to grow up faster because they dream of success.

Articles featuring CEOs in their 20s set a precedent for all of those following behind them, and perfection is required to live up to those standards.

Vanderbilt University released a statement concerning their applicant standards and merit awards: “We have students with perfect test scores and the No. 1 rank in their graduating class who do not receive merit [scholarship] money.”

Though this is excellent for Vanderbilt, what does that mean for students looking for opportunities.

Part of the problem revolves around perfection. No longer is it OK to attain perfect grades and test scores, but students must also be athletes and members of activities in addition.

The consequences of this mindset have resulted in teens with poor sleep schedules, headaches, mood swings, anxiety, irritability and social withdrawal.

Psychologists have determined that to cope with stress, teens turn to television, music, media and other secluded activities rather than turning to family or friends for support.

Adults have fallen prey to busy schedules as well. Overbooking and underperforming are a constant tendency in today’s culture.

By setting that example, and failing to open up conversations about failure or the ability to say no to some opportunities, we have effectively shielded teens from coming to grips with their own busy schedules.

Kids, remember that.

The Huffington Post revealed this through an article titled, “The Reality of Being Too Busy,” which focuses on an adults’ frequent use of the phrase, “I’m too busy.” In reality, much of the time when we are too busy it is due to a miles-long list circling our thoughts with little action.

Many are truly unable to make time to do things, others are simply overloading their schedule with the hopes of productivity.

Not only are children being affected by busy schedules, the efforts we put forth are often futile. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has conducted surveys concluding that stress and anxiety faced at the workplace are constantly roaming through the heads of employees.

They have also revealed that deadlines, relationships, self management and crisis that arise are the reasons for the stress many people face at work.

Finding relief from overwhelming stress and anxiety caused by looming busy schedules is what dreams are made of for most, yet each of us turns to different vices to attempt to help cover our anxieties.

According to the ADAA, women will most likely turn to food when faced with stress, as opposed to men, who commonly turn to physical release as well as drugs and alcohol.

Though men and women know how futile these efforts are, they continue down these paths for fear of confrontation with their employer or significant others.

Commonly these habits result in other self-destructive habits, including isolation or indulging in over-consumption of alcohol.

So why do people make busy schedules and accept more when there is simply no time left in the day?

People are trying to achieve the high standards set by culture. Young adults hold themselves up to those standards, straining themselves to have a family, a career, and a life outside of each of those consuming jobs.

There is little enjoyment in busyness. People have forgotten what peace and relaxation feel like, only getting a taste when their eyes shut and their heads rest on their pillows at the end of the night.

Blame can be easily placed on accessibility. We are always accessible due to our technology. Through email, texting and direct messaging, there is rarely a time when we cannot be reached.

Instead of blaming our technology, we need to take responsibility; manage schedules, shut off our technology for the weekend and simply start saying no.

This doesn’t mean automatic failure. It is an opportunity to unplug, recharge and prepare to take charge and be present.

Achieving this will be the path to ultimate peace and relaxation, changing the way people view their jobs, their families and their time spent with friends.

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Sarah Broyles

Sarah Broyles

Sarah Broyles is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. Sarah is a junior public relations major. The St. Louis native currently works for her family business, Etiquette Saint Louis, and is a staff instructor for the National Cheerleaders Association. After graduating she plans to work in corporate public relations and continue to use words to make an impact in society.

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