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Well Becoming

a blog about being well, becoming well, staying well - and flourishing. Written by a professor and family doctor living between Liverpool, UK and Granada, Spain

Trying Easier
Friday, April 25, 2014


Most of the time, we think we really should be trying harder. If only we did a little bit more, things would work out OK. It’s all about achievement, success, doing more and doing it better. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. It’s drilled into us from an early age. Study more. Get a promotion. Run faster. Score more goals. Be a better parent.

But right now, for me, it’s different. After my cycling accident I’ve developed a mild traumatic brain injury. I’m easily tired, my mind often feels foggy. It’s difficult to concentrate for long.


So the advice I’m getting now is – don’t try harder, try easier.


I need to take things easy, give my brain a rest so it has the chance to recover.


This turns lots of things on their head.


It’s better for me to put things off until tomorrow, even though I could do them today. Procrastination is no longer the thief of time – it’s the essence of healing.


‘You snooze, you lose’. Not any more. Quite the opposite. My afternoon siesta is essential to keep me going throughout the day. So for me it’s now ‘You snooze, you win.’


Laziness, slacking, indolence, idleness, sloth: that is supposed to be one of the seven deadly sins, but not any more. Now it’s a cardinal virtue.


I don’t always find it easy to take it easy. Trying harder is so ingrained in me that trying easier doesn’t come naturally. I have to remind myself, stop myself doing stuff that I really don’t need to do, or not just yet. And it’s surprising –and liberating – how many things that I was convinced were absolutely essential turn out to be a bit less important after all. The world hasn’t quite ground to a halt because I’m not doing as much as I used to.


It’s about being, not doing.


I’m enjoying my weekly tai chi classes, and I’ve taken up meditation again, with the help of a website called Headspace. They help me to be aware of how things are, notice my experiences and feelings, without having to worry or do anything about them.


And I’m building up my physical fitness. I’m back on my bike– off road – and it feels great.


Trying easier is helping me heal. It is refreshing. I can feel the benefits – each week a bit more energy, a bit more headspace.


I gently recommend it!

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