The Art Of Rest Book Summary By Claudia Hammond

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The Art of Rest is a comprehensive exploration into the world of rest.

Drawing on over 18,000 survey responses from 135 countries and scientific research, this book dives into the most popular ways people find to rest and the benefits they experience.

Topics covered in The Art of Rest include: an analysis of the results from an online survey known as the 'Rest Test', understanding which activities are found most restful, why two-thirds felt they didn’t get enough rest, and deep dives into the ten most popular ways to rest.

All these topics come together to provide a unique look into how we can all get more out of taking time for ourselves and our bodies.

The Art Of Rest Book

Book Name: The Art of Rest (How to Find Respite in the Modern Age)

Author(s): Claudia Hammond

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 23 Minutes

Categories: Mindfulness & Happiness

Author Bio

Claudia Hammond is an accomplished author, lecturer, and media presenter who has made a name for herself in psychology circles.

Her books include Mind Over Money, Time Warped, Emotional Rollercoaster and her latest work, The Art of Rest.

Claudia’s vast knowledge of psychology has been tapped into by programmes such as BBC Radio 4's All in the Mind and BBC World Service's Health Check.

With years of experience gained from research and presentations on various topics related to psychology, there is no doubting that Claudia truly is an expert in her field.

The Art Of Rest: Learn How Doing Nothing, Music, And Socialization Can Reduce Stress And Improve Your Life

Improve Your Life

The Art of Rest seeks to help you incorporate more restfulness into your life.

Through the book, it explains why certain activities are more restful than others, and how finding the right kind of rest can improve your life.

One such activity featured in The Art of Rest is doing nothing.

It might sound counterintuitive at first, but allowing yourself to be still and silent for a time can actually have a positive impact on your memory.

Additionally, the book identifies which type of music is most calming, as well as the perfect balance between solitude and going out with friends that can result in a truly restful experience.

By studying this book and its ideas of what constitutes resting in an optimum way, you can learn to practice it in a way that will reduce stress levels and make life more enjoyable for you.

The Dangers Of Not Taking Time To Rest: The Effects Of Stress And Exhaustion On Health And Well-Being

It’s all too clear that in our fast-paced modern lives, stress is becoming all-too common.

And we know that, if left unchecked, this can have damaging effects on our health and wellbeing.

That’s why it’s so important to recognize the importance of rest and relaxation as a way to manage this stress.

Research has shown that more than half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress, while almost 75% felt overwhelmed and were unable to cope at some point during the year.

Coupled with inadequate sleep, it can cause memory lapses, trouble focusing and impaired judgment – not to mention an increased risk for serious health problems such as hypertension, stroke, obesity and colorectal cancer.

Unfortunately, even children are feeling overworked from lack of break times – with research showing that only 1% of secondary schools continue to offer an afternoon break in England.

The truth is pretty simple: all of us – from baby boomers to millennials to Generation Z – could benefit immensely from finding ways to rest and relax throughout the day.

Whether it be yoga or deep breathing exercises or something else entirely – finding ways to reduce stress and take your mind off of things can make all the difference when it comes to both physical and mental health.

Many people associate restful activities with mindfulness, TV watching, or even going for a walk.

However, research suggests that the fifth most popular restful activity might surprise many: doing nothing.

Doing nothing may sound like the easiest way to relax, but it isn’t as simple as it seems.

In fact, engaging in too much nonactivity can lead to health problems like reduced calcium absorption and muscle mass.

It can also be difficult for some people justify taking time off to do absolutely nothing.

But the good news is that doing nothing can bring some benefits; it may increase creativity and memory capacity.

For example, in one study two groups of participants had different tasks assigned to them before coming up with ideas for uses for a plastic cup.

Not surprisingly, the group that had taken on a boring task was more creative than those who jumped into thinking ideas straight away!

Similarly, another research tested amnesic patients by giving them words to memorize and then taking an assessment afterwards – the first group managed fourteen percent of the words on average compared to forty nine percent from the second ‘do-nothing’ group!

These studies argue that intentionally taking part in ‘nothing-doing’ activities such as knitting, coloring books or jigsaw puzzles encourages relaxation while still remaining active – allowing us to rest our minds guilt-free.

The Key To Relaxing Music Is Slower Tempos And A Melody That You Enjoy

Relaxing Music

Vladimir Konečni’s 1976 experiment on restful activities showed that the majority of participants chose to listen to simple and quiet music.

This suggests that slow-paced music is more conducive to relaxation, given that it doesn’t become too complex or overwhelming.

Furthermore, a 2018 survey of 600 people further supports this finding: whilst 32 percent preferred classical music, many other respondents were drawn to songs by Ed Sheeran and house music, suggesting that restful music isn’t necessarily tied to predictable genres.

Therefore, when looking for something soothing and restful to enjoy, look for a song you like with an easy rhythm and calming melodies in a major key – listening to such a song could be just what you need to wind down!

Taking Time For Yourself: Finding Restful Solitude In A Busy World

It is well known that being alone is one of the most popular sources of restfulness.

However, it can be difficult to find the balance between relaxing solitude and forlorn loneliness.

The key to restful alone time, is to take small doses whenever it suits you best.

Research has found that women under the age of 30 often list me-time as one of their favorite ways to relax, surpassing social activities such as spending time with friends or family which didn’t even make the top ten.

That’s not to say though that people should spend all their free time alone; while it can be restorative in certain situations, if enforced upon someone as with prisoners in solitary confinement then it can have detrimental effects in terms of mental health and cognitive abilities.

Whether a person feels lonely during their alone time also depends on how close their relationships are with friends and family and if they feel connected and supported by them when required.

Alone time can also be restful if it is taken on your own terms and for whatever purpose connects you back to yourself – whether this be listening to emotions, reflecting on identity or simply getting away from societal pressures or judgments from others.

Time Spent In Nature Is Restful And Can Improve Your Mood

A growing body of research shows that spending time in nature can be restful and improve your mood.

Studies have used brain scans to measure activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain which is linked to feelings of sadness and negative thoughts.

The results have shown that taking a walk in nature significantly decreases the activity of these parts of the brain, helping to reduce negative thinking.

Additionally, even a brief exposure to nature can help people become more focused and improve their mood.

In one experiment, participants were asked to take 40-second breaks each time they completed a difficult computer task.

Half of them looked at a photo of a gray roof while the other half looked at an edited version with a green meadow.

Those who chose nature were able to focus more effectively afterwards.

The unique mental benefits you experience when spending time in nature depend on personal context too – if you’ve been visiting a certain forest or beach since childhood, it could hold sentimental value for you that no other location can replicate!

So if you want to get some restful alone time and boost your mood, head outdoors and bask in the beauty of our natural world!

Reading: The Most Restful And Stimulating Activity Of All


When it comes to restful activities, reading tops the list.

In a survey conducted for the Rest Test, 58 percent of participants chose reading as their preferred way of getting rest.

That’s even more popular than activities like mindfulness and watching TV!

Plus, research has shown that reading before bed is not linked with poorer sleep quality like late-night screen time can be.

Those who chose to read also had higher levels of self-esteem and optimism.

Reading may seem like a passive activity, but it’s actually quite powerful!

While you might think that your brain is pretty much turned off while you’re reading, nothing could be further from the truth.

Not only is cognitively demanding (as you have to put together shapes of letters and build words), but it can also be physiologically stimulating too!

Victor Nell conducted an experiment in South Africa which showed that people’s breathing, heart rate and muscular activity were potentially more stimulated when they read than when they did other activities – including solving mental math problems or looking at photos!

Reading is so powerful because its something we are in control over as well – we can choose what we want to read, how long for and how quickly.

We can also transport ourselves into different worlds – something that will stay with us for hours, days or years afterwards.

Finally, rather than tidying up our thoughts, reading adds new ones into the mix!

Prioritizing The Right Kind Of Restfulness For Optimal Well-Being

It’s important to prioritize the right kind of restfulness if you want to reap the full benefits of being well-rested.

It’s not enough just to get enough hours of sleep; you have to find the kind of rest that works best for you.

The Rest Test showed that people who had the highest well-being scores rested an average of five hours a day, but it’s important to remember that everyone rests differently, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works for you.

One of the main barriers to getting enough rest is feeling guilty about taking time out for yourself.

You may think that taking breaks and engaging in restful activities is indulgent or unproductive.

To overcome this, allow yourself permission take some time off, schedule rest in your calendar among other appointments and try incorporating shorter moments of rest into your day.

Finally, remember not to get too obsessed with how much (and what sort) of rest you’re getting – it should still remain an enjoyable activity and shouldn’t cause any stress or anxiety.

There are definite benefits to getting enough rest, so focus on finding what works for you – but stay mindful when you do.

Wrap Up

The Art of Rest, by author Claudia Hammond, offers an important lesson for dealing with the stressors of life: find a balance between restfulness and busyness.

According to the book, taking even just 15 minutes to do something that helps you relax and unwind can make a difference.

It’s important to note, however, that everyone rests differently – there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

So it’s important to identify your own individual sources of restfulness and use those when you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed.

Popular activities like reading, listening to music, spending time in nature, doing nothing in particular are all great options.

However if none of these feel particularly restful for you then it’s helpful to consider activities like cooking or gardening which might help you relax more effectively.

Ultimately, The Art of Rest reminds us all that we have the power to deal with stress through easy and oten enjoyable activities like reading and listening to music.

Taking just 15 minutes out of our day can help us stay balanced and refreshed,.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

2 thoughts on “The Art Of Rest Book Summary By Claudia Hammond”

  1. Does this summary include an error in your final paragraph? You state, “The Art of Rest, by author David Hanscom…” Did you you mean Claudia Hammond?


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