I feel the need to raise the alarm: We as a society are losing the ability to be idle.
I’ve spoken about the ideal of being busy before, but what I mean here is not actual work, but rather being occupied (or preoccupied). It’s about listening to news or staring at our phones whenever we have a minute. Our minds, constantly bombarded with stimuli, can’t cope, and it makes us stressed, tense, and ultimately, sick.
Your challenge today is to spend 10 minutes doing nothing.
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Task 1: Identify your distraction points
For me, it’s being at home. I sit in front of the computer most of the day, and I find myself still at the computer when I’ve nothing to do, scrolling through social media. It’s terrible!
Others have to have the TV on or the radio blaring in the background. Waiting rooms, bus stops, cafes, public transport – they listen to music and/or stare a their phones or tablets.
Find out when you’re most in danger to use “fillers” such as your phone or the TV, or even a good old-fashioned magazine. Make a note of them.
Task 2: Do nothing for 10 minutes
This isn’t a once-off – the challenge is to do nothing for 10 minutes every day for at least one week. Are you up for it?
Here’s what defines “doing nothing”:
- no music/TV/videos/podcasts on
- not doing anything with your hands (such as knitting)
- no meditating or napping
- no reading
Sit in a quiet place. Imagine the old farmer on the bench outside his house or a romantic image of a girl in a window seat. Set a timer for 10 minutes and do absolutely nothing. Notice how you feel.
As a bonus, try and extend this newly learned ability to public spaces. Resist your phone at the aforementioned bus stop or if you’re in a cafe on your own. Look around, do some people watching instead. Your mind and your mood will benefit.