For the last few months, I am on a self-declared vacation mode. I am doing nothing, literally nothing. Even the universe wants me to spend time this way! Oh, you don’t believe in me? Wait. I am telling you how I received the affirmation. One night, before going to sleep, I was aimlessly surfing the internet. I saw, the content creators are coming with so many various and new contents, and that also on a regular basis. I thought I am doing nothing and just relaxing, it’s been long I am spending time like this, closer to a lazy baby tigress who just loves to change her sleeping place and yawns. I told myself, “It’s enough. Be some energetic now and wear your creative hat. Start doing something from tomorrow morning only.”
Oh my happy soul. How innocent she is. After this beautiful affirmation, she went to sleep with an expectation that the next day (right in the morning, I mean), ahh, something very nice, very creative is going to arrive on earth. The next morning came, and passed. The afternoon came, and passed. The evening came, and passed. When the night came, I tried to remember that ohh, it seems like I made some promise yesterday. But whom? And what? I just couldn’t remember. After some minutes, I left interrupting my mind from aimless wandering, and let it free. As an obedient student, my mind started jamming and rocking and a lot more. Gradually, I fell asleep.
After some days, I was determined to start doing something. I wrote on my journal the pending tasks and assured myself to start executing them one by one from the very next day. But what happened next, when I started doing those things all together, all the tasks jumbled up and I got confused where to start! As a conclusion, I thought it’s better to keep them unfinished, and just enjoy floating on the boat of doing nothing.
At that moment, I remembered this beautiful Italian phrase: Dolce Far Niente, that means the sweetness of doing nothing.
The art of doing nothing:
In Italy, people enjoy relaxing and resting the mind with doing nothing. This might sound a bit luxury for many, but it’s a wonderful art of being in meditative state even when you are doing absolutely nothing. This phase is like idleness filled with sweetness and you just sit and relax. You might address it as being lazy or blame yourself for not being enough productive or creative. It’s like spending your days carefree, without rushing towards your to-do-list and finishing the tasks scheduled for today.
Niksen is the Dutch concept of doing nothing and spending your leisure hours by absorbing the gift of this nothingness. It’s all about doing something without any predefined goal or a certain purpose; it’s actually, purposefully doing nothing!
Just think for once, isn’t it amazing for all of us, to have a small break from the rush of life and sitting in the balcony to watch the sunset colors? Or, to walk on the grass field, just feeling the softness of the grass below your feet? Or, just lying lazily on the bed and simply doing nothing and letting the time pass by?
I know, many people might think that this doing nothing concept is nothing but an act of luxury or laziness. But, the truth is, this is a beautiful way to gift yourself some moments of peace and calm, without thinking about the outer world, at least for a while.
Doing nothing is important for your peace of mind:
This special state of doing nothing gives you the stillness of mind. It is about you are breathing out as much as you are breathing in. When you have a long list with your tasks scheduled for the day or the week or the month, it’s obvious to end up being stressed out. You will be worried about the proper execution of your tasks. Moreover, they need to be delivered by the deadline. So, these thoughts make you anxious and create extra burden to your mind.
But, if you can find some moments when you will be doing nothing and rest your mind, you will find a way to bring back the peace of mind and restore your energy to restart the work. It might happen that a part of you still keep thinking about the absconding jobs, cancelling the meetings, not showing up for long time or don’t be able to do multitasking. But assure yourself by saying that you are not giving up things, you are just taking a break.
You are trying to balance things in a peaceful way. This time, this moment, is all about giving yourself a bit of rest and enjoying being in the moment. Relish yourself to relinquish your ever wandering mind by doing nothing, and watch the magic happen in the middle of that nothingness.
The other ways to spend time doing nothing:
Even when you are doing nothing, actually, you are doing at least one thing. It might seem that you are just chilling and giving yourself some well deserved me time, but it’s also true that even in that nothingness, you are still active. You are doing the thing that you love to do, that gives you happiness, and you can feel calm from within.
If you want to spend time this way, you can try one of these activities:
- Journal Writing
- Random Scribbling
- Listening to Music
- Work Out
- Sitting beside the window and watching nature’s beauty
How to learn the art of doing nothing:
Though it looks so simple to be in the state of doing nothing, but the fact is, it’s an art that you need to learn. Simply doing nothing is as tough as to living without your beloved mobile phone. Because, when you aim to sit casually beside the window and let the world pass by, even at that time, you might have some thoughts in mind about your pending tasks, your children, your work, your life and many more. So, here are some ways that can help you to spend time doing nothing without any worries:
Define your own doing nothing mode:
Everyone is different, everyone is unique. All of us define peace and calm in our own ways. So, it depends on you that how would you like to define your doing nothing activity. You can read, you can write, you can sing, you can dance. You can listen to your favorite music and watch it rain, sitting beside the window. Even you can doodle or draw something without thinking about it’s outcome. Don’t judge yourself that you’re not doing something worthy or something useful. You don’t need to do something productive always. Just let yourself flow with your happy pace.
Find where your happiness lies:
The main purpose of this doing nothing state of being is to gift you the sweetness of nothingness. So, you need to focus while you are choosing the right activity for your leisure. Choose the one that gives you happiness from within. Choose the way of relaxing that offers you peace and calm. Don’t be stressed out if you can’t find anything suitable for your happy leisure. Just sit with a cup of coffee and listen to your favorite singer. Or have a bowl of popcorn and watch your favorite movie, forgetting that how many times you have watched it before. After all, it’s all about being happy by doing nothing.
Start with small steps:
At first, start with smaller time frame. You can start with having a five minutes or ten minutes break from the daily schedule and let yourself indulge into doing nothing. Choose a time when you are less bothered with the world and thoughts come up to your mind are not that much important to you. Choose a place where you feel comfortable, and start delving into the mode of doing nothing.
Focus on your peace of mind:
Remember one thing, this doing nothing phase is all about restoring your peace of mind. So don’t be hard on yourself for searching the way how you want to relax. You can choose anything to do, you can pick something from the above listed activities or you can simply do nothing; just allowing yourself to rest with some moments of peace and calm.
I always focus on taking a meaningful pause from the rush of life. It’s true that you can’t take the long awaited break whenever you wish to have. But, after a tough schedule, you must deserve to take a proper rest. That time, you need to slow down and let yourself calm down. You might need to disconnect yourself from all the distractions and unplug yourself from the world. At that time, take a pause from your daily schedule, slow down, and have some blissful moments doing nothing purposefully.
Fix a specific time duration:
When you are about to start being in the doing nothing mode, you need to figure out how much time you can dedicate to this phase. Whether you pick something to pass this time or you choose to do absolutely nothing and relax yourself, you can fix a time slot for that. It could be fifteen minutes or thirty minutes or one hour a day, or a week. Just make sure that you don’t be hard to yourself in that duration of doing nothing phase. Be calm and let yourself flow with time.
So, how are you going to find your Niksen time or float yourself in the state of doing nothing? I am eager to know your take on that. Please let me know your unique ideas and share your own beautiful way of doing nothing.
Happy Niksen to you!
(This post is a part of the series ‘Mindful Living with Swarnali’. Check other posts of this series here.)
(This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla.)
28 responses to “Finding peace of mind by embracing the art of doing nothing”
Very well written post Swarnali. All of need to learn to enjoy ‘the art of doing nothing’. We are so overwhelmed with work and to do lists that it becomes very hard to disconnect from work and responsibilities. But I truly feel that one needs this time off to be mentally active.
You know Swarnali, I did this for 2 to 3 months after quitting my job. You won’t believe it how therapeutic it was. I fely refreshed and had double the energy to start something new with more energy and better ideas.
Another gem from your Mindful Living’ series, Swarnali. What I love most about your posts is the complete honesty you write them with. The art of doing nothing is something that should be taught in schools too. We are all moving ahead so fast, that even pausing is a guilt ridden exercise.
Awesome!! Each of us should gift ourselves this ‘gift’. Thumbs up!!!
Even I follow this many times. With overload of work at home and office and managing my website sometimes I just take a few days off when I literally do nothing or just read a book or watch a movie. It gives me the buffer time to re energise myself.
Beautifully penned, Swarnali. Meditation is the art of doing nothing. Here, nothing means no thoughts.In Yoga, it’s Dhyan which means to control ur thoughts .
When most of us have put ourselves on an auto-pilot mode in this fast-paced life, I feel it has become a dire need to practise Niksen once in a while. Very well put, Swarnali!
I’ve been doing this since my teenage and this practice is really very refreshing. Basically I like to do this either by sitting beside the window or listening to good music. Thanks for such a lovely post.
It’s really hard to truly do nothing but sometimes it’s ok to do something that is not productive. So beautifully said. I always found at least back in school doodling helped me focus better.
I need to learn this art of doing nothing, Swarnali. All my life I have never slowed down and now that I am 57, I still need something to do everyday or I feel highly uncomfortable. In January, I started hating Instagram and it became so toxic. I stopped posting and the time I devoted to it became so difficult to fill. Yous post seems right for people like me.I really need to learn to do nothing.
I personally believe doing nothing is very important to bring our peace of mind and just enjoy the present moment. Doing nothing moments are reconnect with our own inner souls, provide us the solitude which we lost due to the heavy rat race. It is very important to take a break from all of the work and just do nothing…..
Amazing post Swarnali, really sometimes we need to do nothing in order to rejuvenate ourselves. Keep writing on amazing topics like this one.
So people at work used to tell me that I love working and I am kind of a workoholic and I would try to explain that I dont want to work…i want to do nothing…so I am trying to finish everything faster so I have nothing to do….somehow still havent been able to get there…but i will someday …thank for this
A very important topic, Swarnali. Loved what you wrote. We are hard coded to believe that being idle is wrong, that we constantly need to do something. Even if it tires us out and does a number on our creativity. Overwork is celebrated. We need to take a break, to do nothing for a while, to rejuvenate ourselves.
Very nice concept Swarnali. I loved the way you wrote about it all. Really interesting and felt as though the post got over so fast.
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep But I have promises to keep”… Remember these lines by Robert Frost.
We often forget to look around us and notice small, wonderful things in life. By taking a leave from routine, the probability to enjoy the purity of life will increase: )
Loved your post!
Though i did not know if the term Niksen, iam a big fan of ‘doing nothing’. It can help one relax, connect with your inner self, rejuvenate & inspire creativity too. Only people who have experienced this joy will understand it. Others may think it is laziness or just be like…”how can you do nothing?”
Another lovely post, Swarnali. It is really sad that we should learn the art of doing nothing. Taking breaks should be something that should be considered normal.
Lovely post Swarnali. Sometimes taking break and doing nothing is very important. I agree that it is an art that we need to learn.
Such a beautiful insight on nothingness. Never thought with this perspective. I am sure it will be therapeutic. I have started meditation but this overthinking mind won’t shut down easily.
The art of doing nothing very beautifully and mindfully penned by you, dear. In chasing the cut-throat competition, we have almost forgotten to live the art of doing nothing. Everyone wants to be perfect in ” Art Of Living,” even we were never taught the art of doing nothing. This is somewhere the sad reality. Thanks for shedding light on this subject.
Though it sounds really simple it is difficult to master. I read about benefit of niksen too. This should be part of me time
We have always noted that when we take a pause then write the creative juices flows to the maximum. The pause makes you think analyze and also regain the energy. Listening music is one form and now a days listening to podcasts is my favourite thing.
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Wow, so glad to hear that Meenal and Sonal. I too believe in the pause ritual, mainly keeping this thought in mind, I started my podcast and named it so. Glad to hear that you’re into podcasts these days, me too. Feels so relaxing and we can connect to the speaker through the voice. Thanks for giving my post a beautiful read and thank you so much for listening to my podcast. Means a lot dear. 💗💗💗
Doing nothing at times does keep our sanity and calms our mind too. But I cannot be ideal during such times. Reading on Kindle or watching Netflix are my go-to during such relaxing times.
Trust me Swarnali, it is been a high time I need a break as well. I really need peace, so much is going on. Sometimes we just need time for ourselves.
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