The Hollow Feeling, Simpler Times & The Secret To Being Happy
The answer was right in front of us all this time and we never thought about it because it seemed too simple! How complicated are we?
How are you guys holding up for the France v Morocco semi-final tonight? Anyway, another day, another story!
A Story For You
How many times have you thought about your childhood, sighed and murmured the words - simpler times?
Another great addition to those words would be happier. Simpler and happier times. We were carefree, innocent and unaware and if that were to equal something, it would be happy. But those aren’t the only reasons. There are several other reasons that pile up when you dig deeper. This isn’t just a story, it’s scientifically backed truth.
We’re focusing on one particular reason today and the best example to elaborate on that would be my own. Out of the numerous things I’ve taken for granted as a kid, playing in the sun would be one of them. You’d think that as a kid, going out in broad daylight would be fun but for me, it was taxing. My preference was staying at home, waiting for the sun to set and successfully avoiding the heat in order to be outdoors. A day of practicing this routine turned to a week, then a month and before I knew it, the habit had set in. I was indoors all the time!
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My days were lifeless and mundane. It was a truly weird sensation. It was a feeling that left you hollow, the kind when you receive terrible news, but every single day.
My mom has always come to my rescue during difficult times in my life. One day, I talked to her about the predicament I was in. It was a heartfelt discussion from my end and I desperately sought a solution. She laughed it off, “Go out and play in the sun.” That’s amazing advice. That’s like going up to a person who’s balling out and telling them to stop crying. Like they hadn’t thought of that before. I immediately neglected the advice and instead spiraled down the rabbit hole of whether she truly loved me. Don’t judge me, we’ve all been there!
A few more weeks of staying inside and I was taking longer showers, sleeping more and feeling ‘meh’ all day. And it’s funny how when you’re backed up against the wall, is when you decide to be open to try out new things.
I decided to go out and play in the scorching heat. And yet again, a day of practicing this routine turned to a week, then a month and before I knew it, the habit had set in. I was outdoors all the time! Playing with sunlight hitting your face actually helped. I didn’t know how, I couldn’t care less about the why but what I thought was one of the worst advices my mom had given me, turned out to be the advice that shaped my life.
10 years later, I landed an internship but it wasn’t just an internship for me. Following Gary Vee’s mantras, I put everything I had in that internship, working endlessly through several nights. Although I was upgrading my skillset, becoming social and learning things I otherwise wouldn’t have the means to, the hollow feeling had returned and it hit harder this time. I was back in the same ol’ loop.
The excitement of finally working turned into dreadful monotony. Getting through the day without sulking was an addition to the To-Do list I had. I motivated myself to get through it, casually labeling it as a phase which I had to get through. However, the facade I had put on slowly caught up with me. It started affecting my work; and I caught myself slacking, disinterested and tired. I was simply existing. Not growing, not improving, not excelling, just existing.
My boss noticed this and was kind enough to give me a 2-day leave to get my head straight. “Harsh, you’re an adult now. Clear your head and get back on track!” She said.
I thought hard about the issue I was facing and when I couldn't find a concrete answer, I contacted my messiah. I called my mom and ranted out to her. She listened patiently for an hour and repeated the same advice she had given me 10 years ago. “Go out and play in the sun,” she said.
It was like a lightbulb that went off. I caught on to the signal and changed my routine almost immediately. It took me two days to see the difference but I was back to being me. I rushed to the office and started afresh, this time, being wary of staying in the dark for too long. The excitement, joy, ambition returned and I was back with a bang.
This isn’t just some cute story. We have articles backing this up!
Well, it turns out, exercise is more beneficial to our health and well-being when done in the sunshine than the same exercise without sunlight exposure. Well-documented studies have shown that spending time outdoors results in us feeling happier, healthier, and even more alive.
Going out in the sun boosts our mental and physical health through Vitamin D and serotonin. In our modern office lives, we miss out on the essential chemicals that sunlight provides and end up feeling drained. Did you know that lack of Vitamin D can make our bones and muscles feel weak? And the only free solution to this is sunlight!
In fact, one study among many puts the winter blues down to our reduced serotonin production. It’s important to note that it’s not only those suffering from Season Affective Disorder (SAD) who need boosts of serotonin, we all do. It’s one of our natural defenses against depression.
Let’s fast forward to today. I’m a morning person. I wake up before the sun and 80% of the population rise and I’ve got people to support the claim I’m making (you can check with Aamer). I’m aware of how exhausting and stressful life can be, but the beautiful part about life is that the answers are in front of us (sometimes above us). We’re just too complicated to see that they can be that simple!
A Story From You
We’re all so stuck on finding complex solutions, we tend to forget about the most basic solutions.
Now that you’ve heard from me, I’d love to hear from you. I’m sure you’ve had moments of weakness in your professional lives. What do you do for a reset?
Simpler and happier,