Monday 29 August 2022

The Importance of Doing Nothing

Living in such a fast-paced world where we’re preoccupied with work and online activities, it seems that doing nothing has become a thing of the past. If we’re not trying to keep up with ongoing deadlines at work, it’s likely we’re scrolling through social media or binge-watching the latest series. When was the last time that you were totally free of distractions and actually did nothing at all?

Why is doing nothing important?

We have become so attached to our modern-world habits that we forget to recharge our own batteries as well as our phone’s. Being constantly on the go and not allowing time to clear our minds can negatively impact both our mental and physical wellbeing. A build up of stress, anxiety and overactivity in our brains can lead to exhaustion and burnout.

With so many devices at our fingertips 24/7, we don’t allow ourselves to become bored as we’re constantly searching for something to do or to occupy our minds. Boredom can make us feel agitated and stressed and rather than confront our thoughts or simply unwind, instead we look for distractions. When we’re unable to fully relax and wind down, our sleep can also be affected, and we find ourselves struggling to fall asleep or waking in the middle of the night with thoughts racing around our heads.

When we’re constantly busying ourselves, either mentally or physically, we often miss those subtle internal signs or ignore our emotions that are desperately trying to feed us important information. But by doing nothing we can become more open and aware of our inner voice and gut feelings, which provide us with vital tools for making responsible choices.

Ways to unwind and clear your mind

If you’re not used to relaxing and doing nothing you might struggle at first to let your mind and body switch off, but with a bit of practice and some simple relaxation exercises, you’ll soon get into the swing of it.

1. Meditation and breathing

Meditation and breathing exercises are a great way to ease you into relaxation. Set aside just five or ten minutes during the day or evening to find a quiet space and unwind. By focusing on your breathing, it allows you to identify your thoughts and feelings and become more aware of what your body and mind need. Breathing exercises can also improve blood pressure, reduce the risk of stroke and improve concentration and focus.

In a study published by Harvard Business Review it was found that the “breath meditation technique will train your nervous system for resilience over the long run. These simple techniques can help you sustain greater wellbeing and lower your stress levels – at work and beyond.”

2. Spend time in nature

Being among nature is an instant stress reliever and it has a great way of turning your thoughts to the more peaceful environment around you. By being mindful of your thoughts, feelings and emotions, it frees up space in your mind for creativity to flow. As you inhale the sights and sounds of nature, you’ll automatically start to relax.

3. Take a long bath

Light some candles, keep your phone in another room, be generous with the bubbles and just sink into a nice warm bath. Try not to feel guilty for spending time alone with your thoughts. This is the perfect opportunity to just lie back and let your thoughts wander in and out. Don’t force anything and simply respond to what your inner voice is telling you.

4. Create a gazing seat

Whether you have the perfect little spot for a window seat, a quiet corner in your garden or a cosy room in your house where you won’t get disturbed, find yourself a space where you can just sit and gaze into the distance. Try sitting still without any distractions, even if it’s just for a few minutes, and let yourself drift into a daydream.

You shouldn’t feel guilty about doing nothing as it’s an important investment into your wellbeing. While you might not feel it’s as productive as getting the household chores done or finishing a work assignment, it’s equally as important.