Have you ever wondered why indulging yourself and relaxing feels so good? That blissful sensation in the wake of a hectic day of sitting down at home, a glass of something intoxicating in hand, safe in the knowledge that you have nothing to do? Well, if the Times is to be believed, it may be your body’s way of telling you you’re doing the right thing.

A 24-hour culture of work is creating so much stress that it could be killing us; certainly, research suggests it’s more pernicious for our health than any of the usual culprits, such as smoking or drinking. Under constant pressure to perform and progress, more and more people take home work to do in the evening or early morning out of office hours, depriving the body and the mind of rest and calm. Without it, and combined with the usual stresses of home (bills, mess, children, latest clean eating fad) stress levels, according to research published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, are spiking for many people in the home.

It’s ironic that the research was conducted using wrist monitors to tap into the subject’s heart rate and blood pressure, as a fervent need to monitor one’s health, and subsequent addiction to fitness monitors and health apps, is increasingly one of the things that stresses people the most.

Really, we already knew that being permanently wired is no good for one’s wellbeing. This is merely confirmation. There is no question that a drive to achieve an unobtainable standard of perfection, from work to health to family life, is driving those who choose to pursue it into the ground. If it weren’t so tragic, the news today that regular gym-bunnies are too tired for sex would be a hilarious illustration. (Woudn’t it be so much better the other way round?)

There’s no point in doing the work at home, as it doesn’t really make work go away; it merely accelerates the rate at which more work arrives. There’s no point in monitoring your health and keeping to a miserable regime; no one lives forever, and if one lives this in this manner, will one really be happy, aged 90-odd, when the body just slowly fails and withers over time?

Your body is not a temple, it is just that: your body. It will always be imperfect, so there’s no point trying to perfect it. Likewise, your home is exactly that, your home, not the office. Stop trying to turn yourself into a robot. They’re building robots for that.

by Edward Baer