We live in a full world. We rush, we run, we shuffle papers, we attempt to multitask and we are all over-committed. We have a lot on our plates and it can sometimes feel overwhelming to keep them all spinning simultaneously. I get it, I truly do.

The other day I was on my way home and I called into my local shops to pick up something for dinner. When I had decided what to buy, I walked to the checkout. There a young man, probably in his late teens, served me. I asked him how his day had been and before I had finished my sentence he responded ‘busy, really busy, you have no idea how busy.’ I was taken aback - it was only a few weeks into 2023 and that dreadful word "busy" has already made an appearance. Nevertheless, I wished him well and proceeded to walk to the car and head home for dinner.

As I was driving I couldn’t get his response out of my head ‘busy, really busy….’ I don’t mean to sound archaic or insensitive, but what would a young working casually know about being busy? I began to get defensive and thoughts like ‘…what would he know about being BUSY? After I dismounted from my moral high horse I realised that I, what seemed like a short while ago, would have responded in the same way. I remember being a university undergraduate and doing "full-time" study which entailed three mandatory tutorials and three (optional?) lectures. I also held down a job working a grand total of 12 hours per week. On reflection, I always had time to see my girlfriend (my now wife) and I always had time to ponder the meaning of life at my local cafe.

Anyway...I digress, back to my interaction at the checkout.

"I’ll give him one day…one day…in a classroom and see how he copes with being really busy!"

After I had returned home and settled down, I began to be a little more sympathetic about what had happened at the checkout. I realised that when you ask people how their day is going quite often the first response is ‘busy’ or that they are ‘tied.’ It is a response that we can’t help giving, it is automatic and it is a response that is ingrained into our twenty-first-century lives.

Now busyness and tiredness are far greater topics than we have time for in this short post, but it did get me thinking. I decided that for thirty days that I would try an experiment.

For thirty days, when someone asked, despite how tired, overwhelmed and stressed out I felt, I would search for other adjectives that ‘busy’ or ‘tired’ to describe my mood and my day. As a result, some interesting things happened:

1. I had to pause and think about how I was actually feeling.

2. I had to expand my vocabulary further.

3. I felt less tired or stressed the less that I used those words.

4. I learnt that the words I used had a powerful influence on my mood.

The words that you use have a powerful influence on your mood, emotions and mental state. I encourage you all to take the Thirty-Day Challenge and please let me know how you go.

The words we use.

Busyness and tiredness in the twenty-first century is a far greater topic than we have time for in this short post, but it did get me thinking. I decided that for thirty days that I would try an experiment.