How To Do Nothing And Let Your Mind Be At Ease With It

how to do nothing

Struggling to give yourself a break? Read this article to learn how to do nothing and give your mind a much-needed downtime without feeling guilty.

Adulthood isn’t easy. 

Growing up means saying goodbye to the little kid in us who just wanted to experience and explore the world as it is. Without any fixed roles, expectations and obligations, our desire to reach our potential, that little kid just wanted to see this world, daydream or be idle.

With roles and responsibilities to fulfil, coupled with the added stress of the digital world, being an adult is indeed stressful. 

The Guilt of Doing Nothing

The goals are endless.

Failing to spend every waking moment of our day pursuing those goals saddles us with guilt and anxiety. 

It’s like riding a merry-go-round all day, feeling dizzy and uneasy, wanting to get off it but still not being able to do so.

Why is it so difficult to give ourselves a break?

Because doing that would mean we are not having fun; we are lazy or just wasting away our lives.

The problem is we can’t sit still despite knowing we need a break from all of it.

Unfortunately, taking a break does just the opposite; it puts our unresolved issues in sharp focus, leaving us more anxious.

The inability to face the discomfort of our negative emotions that become palpable when we take a break drives us to keep hopping from one goal to another.

When the stress, anxiety and frustration reach a tipping point, we are jolted with a rude waking up call, and it’s then when we realise that we would lose ourselves if don’t get off the maddening ride.

Why We Resist ‘Doing Nothing’?

Craving constant stimulations, ticking everything off the long to-do lists, chasing productivity and efficiency, being perfect, and our desire to prove our worth have robbed us off of our ability to stop and just breathe guilt-free.

If there is no purpose, if there is no goal being fulfilled, we fall into a state of anxiety.

We don’t like our idle selves even if it is just for a few minutes.

A study conducted by the University of Virginia revealed that people would instead take an electric shock than being left idle with their thoughts.

However, we are paying a big price for keeping ourselves exposed to constant stimulations.

Our attention span is getting shorter, and we are increasingly finding it difficult to focus on one thing for a long time. It’s no surprise that adult diagnosis of Adult Attention Deficit–Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has shot up in recent years.

What’s more, the long term effects of chronic stress have been associated with cardiovascular diseases, cancer and even low productivity.

But What is Doing Nothing?

Doing nothing is being free of thoughts of “do something”.

It’s a moment in space where you exist without any intention or purpose to achieve something.

It is about giving your mind permission to wander and be comfortable with it.

How to Do Nothing?

Doing nothing may sound like an excuse for the lazy.

However, some of the genius minds of all time in our human history understood the importance of idleness and daydreaming.

Science shows that if practised healthily, taking some time off to be idle and letting your mind wander constructively can boost creativity, increase productivity and improve your health.

We have rounded up some tips for you on how to do nothing.

1. Acknowledge that You Need Break

One of the first steps to start your journey to calm and peace is to recognise your need to let go of all the weights on your shoulder for some moments. Surely you don’t need a nervous breakdown to keeps things straight in perspective. 

It’s easier to accept a new idea when we are aware of its benefits.

Spending some time to learn how our minds function best and the importance of idle time may motivate you to embrace temporary idleness, without guilt.

2. Schedule Time for Idleness

Carving out time for doing nothing could be challenging for those who are always on the go, juggling multiple responsibilities at home, work, and community.

In that case, it would be a good idea to start small and make progress one day at a time.

Try to be idle for two minutes in the beginning and observe how it makes you feel.

Even two minutes of idleness could be daunting for some, and that’s more proof that they need to learn it more than the others.

3. Embrace the Discomfort

The thoughts and emotions which emerge when being idle, sometimes, could be terrifying.

We have become so used to numbing our pain by some external stimulations that doing nothing can expose those negative thoughts.

By default, when that happens, we want to reach out to another distraction that shifts the focus from our wounds to something less painful. That’s your cue to tell yourself that it’s ok to experience the pain.

When you do it regularly, you will find yourself getting comfortable with the stillness of no stimulations.

Like all good things in life, the practice of doing nothing takes time to show its results.

Your commitment to finding calm and clarity in life would not go futile.

Even if you don’t have the time for the most important goals of your life, scheduling some moments of idleness would go a long way in your well being. 

Conclusion – How to Do Nothing

Our culture has become synonymous with constant noise, motion and a lot of stress.

We have been losing our ability to stay still and be in the moment without any expectation or goal in mind.

The idea of doing nothing can sound nutty to many, but science speaks otherwise.

Taking some time to let your mind wander and giving yourself idle time could be recuperative to your mind.

Scheduling the idleness, and embracing the feelings of restlessness you face in these moments can eventually teach you to be still and experience calm and clarity.

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