It may seem counter intuitive, but one of the first things I encourage my coaching clients to do is nothing!
That’s right, I emphasize the importance of taking a daily dose of nothing each and every day.
If you grew up in the Western Hemisphere, especially if you grew up in the United States, the idea of doing nothing is likely appalling.
While there are many personal and societal benefits to making a sustained effort over a period of time, there are likewise benefits to doing nothing which may surprise you.
Benefits of Doing Nothing
1. Your nervous system gets some much needed down-time as it switches from active to relaxed.
2. Your endocrine system resets and limits the release of stress related cortisol that can damage the body in high doses.
3. You begin to sense more ease in your daily actions and have less anxiety overall.
4. Improves your productivity. Yes, your work will benefit from the time you spend in nothingness!
When we take a little time out of each day to be silent and free of a goal or objective, we open a portal to connect with the deepest aspect of ourselves. The value we gain in just a few minutes of the practice of doing nothing is huge compared to the value of spending the same amount of time “being busy.”
4 Steps to Doing Nothing
1. Go to a place where you will not be disturbed for at least 15 minutes
2. Engage in physical actions that create inner stillness (breath work, meditation, walking)
3. Detach from your thoughts and instead become an observer of your mind
4. Connect to the stillness and peace within you
Of course I have to laugh a little at assigning an orderly process to nothing. But the reality is that most of us need that process precisely because we haven’t spent much time in the nothingness zone.
The importance of spending just 15 minutes a day doing nothing is becoming more apparent as scientist begin to validate Eastern methodologies, such as meditation and energetic based movement practices, with proven biological benefits to our brains and bodies.
A hundred years ago people probably would have assumed a woman jogging down the street was running from danger or insane. These days we have adopted daily exercise as a beneficial practice based on the scientific research and our own personal experience. The next shift in perspective has arrived. As a society we are now beginning to understand that we must take daily physical and mental breaks from doing and practice being with nothing but our true selves.
Take action and block out 15 minutes on your calendar for the next 4 to 7 days to practice doing nothing. Comment below with your experiences and questions. Who knows, I might start a Daily Dose of Nothingness Challenge to help you establish this daily practice and enjoy the fulfillment that it brings.
Photo Credit: Dingzeyu Li via Unsplash