sweetness of doing nothing

The Art of Doing Nothing


The Italians have an expression, “dolce far niente” –the sweetness of doing nothing. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us took time to ourselves without a plan, a “to do” list or “honey do” list? Wouldn’t it be better to simply take some time, be it 30 minutes to two hours possibly, in the middle of the day to just do nothing?

Just to relax, close your eyes, take a nap, watch the sea–most of all to give a break to your brain. Let your mind quiet down. I know it sounds absurd, but some Europeans do it every day.

Unfortunately, most of us are all so entrenched in the work ethic that we couldn’t forgive ourselves to get a break just because we feel like it. It has been proven, however, that all of us need a break daily and not once or twice a year. The benefits are numerous. Health benefits, lower stress levels, decreased blood pressure, better sleep patterns, more fulfilling days and longer lives. Should I say more?

And yet, most of us don’t do it. Our reasons are many. We’d rather wait once or twice a year for that precious one or two weeks of vacation during which we try to do everything, including unfinished chores in the house.

Otherwise, we are waiting for a cherished weekend. We take one of the two days–or both–and we work on our “honey do” list. We may be lucky to have Sunday to ourselves, where we try to relax and be casual around the house because we’re tired from all of the demands of the prior week. If we have this lucky Sunday to ourselves, maybe we go to a restaurant or, if we have the energy, drive somewhere. Really, is that all life is meant to be?

Why do we have to make work the center of our universe? Why do we only have to arrange our lives around work? Do you ever wonder? Yes, we all need money to live. But what is it all worth if we’re miserable, stressed and on target to die early never having lived, simply existed?

Are you aware there are countries where living life comes first and everything else arranged around that goal?

Imagine how different your life could be; how more efficient your work could be; the energy you could have daily; and, how you can reach more goals.

I understand that there are times, and people, when one could say, “I couldn’t do this even if I tried. Not in my workplace.” Maybe I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt if you’re in certain professions for example, ER surgeon or nurse etc. But what about the rest of us?

Folks, most of us especially the younger ones, do not pay attention to trivial and foreign habits. All we try is to belong; to conform; to mimic the behavior or others.

As we’re getting older, and only if we’re open to new ideas and we question everything, then some of us start exploring and wondering what is the right path for us.

We may start with taking a walk just because we want to and eventually it becomes a habit. Others may do another small little thing to relax our mind, body and spirit. It can be as simple as taking a walk or peacefully drinking a cup of tea a set time every day and not allowing anyone to enter your space during that “sacred” time.

Try it. Give yourself a couple of weeks to start getting breaks in every day and see how you feel at the end of the week. I’m sure you will find the world did not come to an end because you took some time out for yourself. If you don’t find any difference whatsoever, don’t continue doing it.

But, what if you see another side of yourself and life. One that is more relaxed and vibrant. Wouldn’t it be a good reason to repeat this break time? I bet it would!

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Posted: March 26, 2015

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