The Importance of Doing Nothing When You’re Doing Everything

There is a negative stigma in our society around doing nothing. Oftentimes, doing nothing is viewed as laziness. So, we continually try to stay busy and distract ourselves so as to avoid this so-called laziness. We mask our thoughts with Netflix binges, spend our alone time texting friends and generally buffer ourselves from reality at every turn. We don’t allow ourselves ten seconds to just look around and appreciate what we have. However, doing nothing is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. If you want to have a healthy, balanced outlook on your life, it’s important to allow yourself to do absolutely nothing once in a while.

You may think to yourself, “I’d love too, but I’m way too busy. I have all these things to do. I have these people to meet. And then I have to unwind after dinner with a drink and my favorite show.” That scenario, although a regular occurrence, allows absolutely no time for reflection. And while you believe you are “too busy,” in truth, you could easily fit in 20 minutes of nothingness to that schedule—whether it’s nixing headphones on your walk to meet some friends, eating lunch on a bench outside watching the world or forgoing your standard dessert of wine and Netflix for one night. You simply must prioritize time to give your nervous system a break, a time that you take for yourself to reconnect with your inner emotions.

The trouble is, we have a tendency to try to busy ourselves while trying to do nothing. We seek simple distractions, because those are far more easily swallowed than confronting the reality of your emotions. What kind of distractions are we talking about? This means opening up Netflix, watching television, stumbling through the mire of the internet, or playing on a smartphone. These are all ways to escape reality, and they can easily become addictive. It’s so much easier to get sucked into a few hours of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt than think about how you feel about your career or how you argued with your best friend. These reality-rejecting activities simply mask your emotions and delay dealing with it.

Instead, try to do nothing. Not sure how to do nothing? Here are some basic ideas:

-Go for an unplugged walk outside.

-Share a pleasant cup of coffee with a friend. Enjoy intellectual, positive conversations, not negativity or gossip.

-Sit in a cafe and people watch.

Doing nothing allows you to connect with the world around you on a deeper, more profound level. It has long-lasting benefits—from boosting creativity to reduced stress, from increasing focus to improving relationships with others and yourself. Believe it or not, it can even make you more productive! To start, try to dedicate one paltry hour each week to doing absolutely nothing. It may be difficult at first, but, with practice, you’ll soon begin to reap the benefits and gain a more balanced view of yourself and the world.

You are not too busy, especially if you can still find time to watch television, peruse the internet and text with your friends. Nix those, and simply allow yourself to exist in the world without doing anything. Change your habits, change your mind. All it takes is a little time each day to broaden your views and start truly experiencing your life.

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105 comments

Sue H
Sue Habout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Paulo R
Paulo R3 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R3 months ago

ty

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Philippa Powers
Philippa Powers2 years ago

Thanks.

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W. C
W. C2 years ago

Thanks.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Sierra B.
Sierra B3 years ago

wow. I definitely need to start doing nothing

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Ricky T.
Ricky T3 years ago

I get this. There is stigma. And 'nothing' isn't nothing when you have anxiety. 'Nothing' for me is 'time-out', doing something that maybe completely vacuous to some, but precious to me!

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Christina Klein
Christina Klein3 years ago

Thx! Zes, but it´s sooooo difficult!!!

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