In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with messages about the importance of hard work, productivity, and achievement. We are told that we must always be doing something, always be striving towards our goals, and always be on the go. But what if we told you that it’s okay to do nothing?
That taking time to relax and unwind can actually be beneficial for our mental health and overall well-being? In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of doing nothing and provide you with practical tips on how to embrace this concept in your daily life.
The Benefits of Doing Nothing
Before we dive into how to embrace doing nothing, let’s first talk about why it’s important. According to a study by the University College Dublin, taking time to do nothing can actually increase our creativity and lead to new ideas.
It can also improve our mental health by reducing stress levels and lowering our blood pressure. Additionally, doing nothing can help us recharge and improve our productivity in the long run.
What human beings can benefit from this art form?
The idea of niksen can benefit everyone from busy workaholics trying to get ahead in life to people struggling to relax in the midst of financial news. By taking time out of your schedule to embrace doing nothing, you can reap the rewards of improved mental and physical health.
The Dutch Concept of Niksen
The Dutch are known to be some of the happiest people in the world, and it’s believed that their embrace of Niksen (doing nothing) is one of the reasons why. By taking time to do nothing, they are able to reduce their stress levels and improve their life satisfaction.
The idea of niksen has been around for years, but has recently gained popularity thanks to the work of Dutch psychologist Olga Mecking. In her book ‘Niksen: The Dutch Art of Doing Nothing’, she explains how it can be a beneficial practice.
The key to embracing the art of niksen is understanding that it’s not a waste of time. Taking time out of your day for yourself isn’t selfish; it’s necessary. A competitive advantage can be gained from taking regular breaks and utilizing free time effectively.
Brian O’Connor, a former investment firm manager, believes that some “much nothingness” is the key to success. He explains that taking regular breaks can lead to greater productivity in the long run and a good deal of financial security over time.
Ditch the to-do list to carve out 30 minutes of free time
If you’re looking for an easy way to embrace niksen, one suggestion is to start with what Carolien Hamming calls “minutes of niksen”: simply taking half an hour out of your day to do nothing.
This could involve getting a cup of tea, sitting on a comfortable couch, or simply relaxing in bed for the night. The important thing is to give yourself permission to take some time to focus on yourself and just be.
By now, it’s fairly obvious that doing nothing can be beneficial. It can help you stay present in the moment, increase your productivity and creativity, and also reduce stress. And yet, embracing doing nothing is one of the most difficult things many of us will ever do.
So how can we learn to embrace doing nothing? Here are some tips:
Allow Yourself Time
The first step towards embracing doing nothing is actually giving yourself permission to do it. Allow yourself time during the day—even just 10 minutes out of your day—to do nothing at all. Let your mind wander and intentionally decrease screen time.
That means no TV, no phone, no books, and no social media. Just sit in a comfortable spot and give yourself the opportunity to relax or simply be present with whatever is happening within you and around you.
When you’re sitting with yourself and doing nothing, try to take the time to practice mindfulness. That means being aware of what’s going on in your head and body—your thoughts, physical sensations, feeling states—in a non-judgmental way.
This will help you become more aware of what’s really happening in your body and head. You can also use a mindfulness technique like mindfulness meditation or breathing exercises to help you stay focused on the present moment.
Make Space for Reflection
When we’re constantly busy, it’s easy to forget about reflection—a key element of learning and self-growth. Taking time out to do nothing helps create space for reflection, which can help you gain insight into what’s going on in your life. This will enable you to make more intentional decisions and monitor how different choices affect your wellbeing.
Get Comfortable with Yourself
Doing nothing might feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s a great way to get comfortable with yourself—and that’s something we all need to do. When you give yourself permission to just be, without having to do anything or produce anything, it can help you become more accepting of who you are and more understanding of your own limitations.
Change Your Thinking
The biggest barrier to embracing doing nothing is often our mindset—we’re so used to thinking that we need to be constantly productive. So it’s important to challenge this way of thinking and recognize that doing nothing is not a waste of time, but an opportunity to relax, recharge, and reflect on our lives.
By making time for yourself to do nothing—and actually embracing it—you can enjoy its many benefits like feeling more present in the moment, reducing stress, and increasing productivity. So why not give it a try? All it takes is 10 minutes of your day to start reaping the rewards!
Find Your Own Way
Finally, keep in mind that everyone’s experience with doing nothing will be different. It can come in many forms—meditation, yoga, art therapy or simply sitting still and breathing—so find what works best for you.
With enough practice, you’ll be able to embrace doing nothing in a way that helps you feel refreshed, relaxed, and ready to take on whatever comes your way.
Embracing doing nothing doesn’t have to mean staying indoors. In fact, immersing yourself in nature could be an ideal way to experience the essence of doing nothing.
Whether it’s taking a slow-paced walk in the park, sitting by a tranquil lake, or just observing the intricate beauty of a blooming flower—these moments of quiet reflection, recreational self-care activities and appreciation can lead to an enhanced state of mindfulness and well-being.
Develop a Routine
Consistency is key when trying to embrace doing nothing. It’s beneficial to incorporate ‘do nothing’ time into your regular routine. Designate a specific time slot each day for this practice—ideally when you are least likely to be disturbed, like early morning or late evening.
Gradually, you’ll begin to look forward to these periods of calm and quiet in the midst of life’s hustle and bustle and spend less time wishing for a magical escape from it all.
While social interactions are essential for our well-being, solitude can be equally beneficial in our everyday life. Embracing periods of solitude can be a powerful way to get comfortable with doing nothing.
It’s a chance to step away from external influences and tune in to your inner self. Remember, solitude is not about isolation, but about self-exploration and finding comfort in your own company.
Be Patient with Yourself
Learning how to embrace doing nothing is a journey, not a destination. It might seem challenging initially to silence the mind and resist the urge to fill every moment with activity every single day.
It’s essential to be patient with yourself during this process. Accept that it’s okay to have moments of stillness, and over time, you’ll find these moments becoming a cherished part of your routine.