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Do Nothing: Take The Test

Do Nothing: Take The Test

“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.

2. Breathe
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.

3. Relax
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.

Read more: EcoNesting, General Health, Health, Inspiration, Mental Wellness, , , , , , , , , ,

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.


+ add your own
4:52AM PDT on May 29, 2011

But watching nature is doing something... Maybe it's impossible to do nothing, because we may be meditating but we are still doing something. Still, this is a wonderful thing and I am going to give it a try, just to quiet my mind. Maybe if I quiet my mind, I can listen to the Universe speaking to me.

11:29AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

Thanks. Pretty challenging.

11:50AM PDT on Mar 15, 2011


2:34PM PST on Mar 6, 2011

Someone in a movie once said - and it struck me to be true - that doing nothing is not the same thing as being still. The things listed above is still doing something. It is called being still, still enuf to reflect and get a state of clarity. On the other hand, doing nothing achieves nothing. It is a waste of time.

10:09AM PST on Mar 6, 2011


2:49AM PST on Mar 2, 2011

Brilliantly simple. Also just concentrate on your breath. You cannot think when you are doing this. It's bliss!

4:38PM PST on Mar 1, 2011

Another good exercise break when you are sitting in front of your computer is to sit upright and do deep breathing while doing eye exercises for about two minutes..... There are some great meditation videos online as well.

9:56AM PST on Mar 1, 2011

good thought - thanks.

2:04AM PST on Mar 1, 2011

Thanks for the links - something pretty much everyone could do with learning!

6:54PM PST on Feb 28, 2011

Do nothing for 2 minutes. Sonunds short but oh so long when you try to do nothing.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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