The Art of Doing Nothing

I have recently come across several posts and discussions regarding the art of doing nothing. Stillness. Quiet. I am not referring to meditation, although that is a good practice to center yourself. This aspect of doing nothing is just as it says… spending time not doing anything.

Remember as kids we would go outside and play, explore or even lie in the grass on our backs and just stare at the clouds in the sky? We’d daydream, letting our minds wander with no particular goal in mind. The idea of day-dreaming has come to be something of taboo. We are told we aren’t be productive. We are lead to believe we are wasting time and to focus. But little do we realize day-dreaming is what so many famous scientists, inventors and the like did to eventually formulate their ideas!

We live such busy lives. Work. Kids. Activities. Social Media. We are over stimulated. How do we have time to just be? When we stop and just be, we open the possibilities of many things, but most importantly, allow ourselves to truly relax and slow down.

As a person with ADHD, doing nothing is both challenging and a welcomed reprieve. My mind is constantly thinking. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night for no particular reason. Then thoughts enter my mind. The idea of doing nothing excites me because that means my mind and body can truly rest.

When we vacation, we purposely decide to relax or to explore. Vacation is a temporary escape from our everyday lives. Depending on the type of vacation you choose, you may find yourself just as busy as you are at home and you find you may need another vacation from your vacation!

I am not sure if it a cultural thing or if it is human nature. It seems we have difficulty just doing nothing. There is this impending need to fill our calendars with events and activities. Family obligations certainly play a role in this. Yet, we forget to set time aside for ourselves to decompress. Just like many suggest to put your exercise/workout routines in the calendar, we most likely would benefit greatly if we set time in our calendars to “DO NOTHING”. Putting it down on paper is purposeful and encourages us to follow through.

Some say they can’t do this because they aren’t comfortable being with themselves or being quiet. Some may say it’s boredom and they need to do something to feel stimulated. It makes it that much more challenging to fight against the “go-go-go” society. I personally have found solace and quietness such a welcoming feeling. Surprisingly, it energizes me because I am allowing my mind to not be compelled to think…about anything.

Doing nothing seems such an odd state of being. However, when we sit and relax without disturbances and outside factors, our minds open up and that’s when our creativity starts to flow. Our endorphins kick in and we feel happy and less stressed. With that relaxed sense, we can conquer our day with a new perspective and most likely have the ability to overcome obstacles that get in our way.

What are some ways you can learn the art of doing nothing?

  • Breathe. Yes, just focusing on our breath and nothing else can be calming. The goal is to empty our minds and just be.
  • Set time aside in your day to Do Nothing. Mark it in your calendars. Write in on your whiteboards. Set an alarm to remind you it’s time for you to disconnect completely from everything.
  • Turn off ALL electronic devices, both audio and visual. Use nature as your radio and television.
  • No judgement. There is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself to decompress. Don’t criticize yourself for being kind to your mind.
  • Think like a child and then do what they do! Go outside. Sit in a chair or better yet, lie on your back in the grass and stare at the sky.


If you have ideas or suggestions of how we can learn to do more of nothing, I’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments below.

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