Health Benefits of Doing Nothing

Health Benefits of Doing Nothing

I know you all read the title of this post and called me crazy. Doing nothing? Who in this fast-paced, busy world could possibly take the time to do nothing?! Well, I picked this topic because it is one that I need to practice more often.

I figure if I preach it to you, I will have to practice it as well! I know we’re all runners in this rat race and it’s very difficult to find any time to relax. I mean, when is the last time you were actually bored? Other than being stuck on a conference call or in traffic, it has probably been a while.

Health Benefits of Doing Nothing

I just read a great article on Psychology@101 about the health benefits of rest and how sometimes doing nothing can help people relieve stress. The article I read stated the following:

“When the mind feels stressed and clogged with thoughts, the effects on the body can be adverse. Taking time out to do nothing can have wondrous health benefits. One very important aspect of mental health and well-being is simply allowing the mind time to do nothing. It is in this process of not being busy that one is free to contemplate, meditate, recharge and generally appreciate the world around them. A world which they are usually too busy to notice.”

Sound familiar? You see, what is happening is over the last half century, lifestyles have gotten busier. The ease of travel and communication has caused the world to become more globalized. Thus many people have a tendency to work further from home.

It is common for folks to travel two hours every day to and from work. Add this to your workday and time to be idle decreases big time. Most people spend 5 out of 7 days a week just working and sleeping with only 2 days left for chores like laundry and grocery shopping.

Long ago before the age of antibiotics, the most common thing a doctor would tell a sick patient was to get plenty of rest. This literally meant no activities whatsoever.

The health benefits of doing nothing when one is ill have always been clear, yet the same thing is not often applied to those who are not sick. With stress and depression on the rise, maybe it’s time that the health benefits of taking some regular time out should be brought to peoples’ attention.

Many times, we take vacation from work and that vacation involves all kinds of activities. The vacation then ends up being as stressful as the job we left behind. You’ve all heard someone say at one time or another that they needed a vacation from their vacation. This totally defeats the purpose of taking time off.

To get the full health benefits of a vacation, it’s important to do as little as possible and use the time off to relax your mind and soul so you can return home feeling rejuvenated instead of more frazzled.

Idleness is frowned upon in our modern society but it is an important part of human mental health. It allows us to gather thoughts, gain perspective and relieve stress. A certain amount of doing nothing is essential to a happy, fulfilled life.

So take the occasional moment to kick back and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

How can you reap the health benefits of doing nothing today? Share with me your thoughts in the comment section below.

3 Responses to Health Benefits of Doing Nothing

  1. I totally agree! Our bodies and brain need to rest. I recently had a health challenge at the end of July that forced me to do absolutely nothing for nearly 6 days. Other than brushing my teeth and sleeping in a chair for 6 days, I didn’t turn on my computer or phone once. It really forced me to look at things in a whole different way and to realize I was not giving myself enough time to rest and do nothing. Now, I am very intentional about rest. It’s so important!

  2. Having a condition that forces me to slow down if I take on too much, I have learned to appreciate the benefits of this self-care habit. However, even now, after many years I do occasionally forget. I’ve also learned that a society that rewards busy-ness can judge harshly those who do less than ‘normal’, especially if they can see no reason for it.

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