“The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning and evening. It is a little stardust caught; a segment of a rainbow which I have clutched.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Can you do nothing for two minutes? Sounds easy, right? It might be harder than you think.
Here’s what happened to me: I stumbled onto the site, Do Nothing For 2 Minutes. I began listening to the soothing music as I gazed at the tranquil image on the computer screen, then something very weird happened. At first, I settled into my chair, my breathing slowed and I started to grin. Then, after about 40 seconds, I got antsy and grabbed the computer mouse – a no-no. Check out the site to see why.
Why did the site creator, Alex Tew set up the two minute challenge? According to TechCrunch, Tew said:
“I had been thinking how we spend every waking minute of the day with access to an unlimited supply of information, to the point of information overload. I also read somewhere that there is evidence that our brains are being re-wired by the Internet, because we get a little dopamine kick every time we check our e-mail or Twitter or Facebook and there’s a new update. So we’re all developing a bit of ADD, which is probably not great in terms of being productive.”
Zen Habits concurs that we all know how to do nothing. Many of us are too busy, and when we do try to do nothing, we get captivated by other things. We have difficulty relaxing and enjoying nothingness. Zen Habits tells us how to become a master at doing nothing, and in the process improve our lives, melt away stress and become more productive:
5 Ways To Practice The Art of Doing Nothing
1. Shut Off
Start with doing small things. Focus on 5-10 minutes at a time in a safe place. Shut off all distractions — TV, computer, cell phones, all forms of social media, etc.
Start by breathing slowly in, and then slowly out. Notice as it goes out of your body, through your mouth, and feel the satisfying emptying of your lungs. Do this for 5-10 minutes.
Once you found a comfortable place to do your nothing, lie in it, and make it fit your body better. Think of how a cat lies down, and makes itself comfortable. Cats are very, very good at doing nothing.
4. Drink Warm
Doing nothing is also great when accompanied by soothing beverages. It’s best to prepare a hot drink (non-alcoholic) without food, and without other distractions. Close your eyes and focus on the liquid.
5. Seek Nature
Find a peaceful, quiet outdoor place. Focus on the natural surroundings. Look closely at the plants, at the water, at the wildlife. Truly appreciate the majesty of nature.
Can you master the art of doing nothing? I’m working on it. Take the test.