April 3rd, 2019 – Doing nothing is good for you

Recent trends in the field of “self-help mental healthcare” include: doing a silence retreat, following yoga and/or mindfulness workshops and going for walks with a coach. All genuinely great forms of help, which often connect well with the (hidden) creativity and needs of people. What is striking about these activities is that they all have in common that we need to “do something” in order to relax.

I recently noticed the slight irony of this when I (re)read a few articles that argued for something simpler than “looking for something” (places, rest, meeting): doing nothing. A letter to the editor of a newspaper mentioned the discrepancy between short-term distraction – to which we seem almost addicted – versus long-term over-stimulation, and how it can throw us off track and disrupt us cumulatively and permanently. We are multitasking continuously and complaining all the time that we are busy. Or, as the writer said: we learn to care for our body, but not our mind. And if things go wrong, we immediately turn to a professional and only then surrender.

Maybe it can be much simpler, as David & Arjan ( tell us. Telephones and the Internet bombard us with short-cycle stimuli all the time, when we know from history that creativity is stimulated and our system is restored during rest, or as they say “hanging about”. For happiness and health we should therefore not make ourselves important, but rather superfluous. Emptying our time as much as possible instead of filling it, so that doing nothing becomes the new hurry-hurry-hurry. “And feel free to get a move on”.

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