After coming back from a soul-filling holiday with some of my favourite humans, I've been reflecting a lot on the skill of doing nothing. Relaxing, or better yet, doing nothing is something I find incredibly challenging and although island life has helped me get better at slowing down, it is still slightly unnatural to me. Regardless of this internal struggle, I have been able to reap quite a few benefits from trying my best to incorporate it into my life, which is why I'm super excited to talk about it with you all today!
So, what exactly is the skill of doing nothing?
It refers to intentionally taking time for oneself without any specific purpose or goal in mind. It involves quieting our minds, disconnecting from external stimuli, and simply being present in the moment. For me personally, it also means being able to spend some time doing something that has nothing to do with productivity. Being able to watch a show or film, without having to simultaneous do dishes or clean the house- and most importantly(!!)- without identifying the activity of watching a show as "wasted time".
Now, why is doing nothing good for you? Research shows that incorporating moments of stillness into your routine can have numerous benefits. Firstly, it allows your mind to rest and recharge, reducing stress levels and promoting overall well-being. As Dr. Stuart Brown, a leading expert on play, emphasizes, "When we are relaxed, doing something we enjoy, we are in a state of play, and that is when we are at our best—mentally, emotionally, and physically."
Moreover, doing nothing fosters creativity and enhances problem-solving abilities. It provides an opportunity for our subconscious mind to process information and make connections that we may not consciously recognise. As renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi states, "Creative individuals are more likely to regularly engage in activities that allow them to enter the flow state—when they are completely absorbed in what they are doing."
So, who will benefit most from the skill of doing nothing? In truth, everyone can benefit from incorporating moments of stillness into their lives. However, individuals who lead busy, high-stress lifestyles may particularly reap the rewards. Executives, parents, students, and professionals who constantly juggle multiple responsibilities can find solace and balance through the intentional practice of doing nothing.
Now, how can you slowly incorporate the skill of doing nothing into your life? Begin by setting aside small pockets of time each day for stillness. It can be as simple as taking a walk in nature without any distractions or allocating a few minutes each morning to sit in silence and focus on your breath. Gradually increase the duration of these moments and experiment with different techniques such as meditation or mindfulness practices.
Remember, the skill of doing nothing is not about being idle or unproductive. It's about nurturing your inner self, allowing your mind to rest, and finding clarity amidst the noise of everyday life! So, let's embrace the power of stillness and make time for the skill of doing nothing in our lives. By cultivating this practice, we can enhance our well-being, tap into our creative potential, and find greater peace and balance.
Wishing you all pure moments of tranquility and self-discovery!!
Lots of love,
Coach Penelope 💋
Brown, S., Vaughan, C., & Foley, P. (2009). Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. Avery.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. Harper Perennial.