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The Beauty of Doing Nothing

Published:
April 2, 2024
March 25, 2024
Check out this article to learn how doing nothing could actually improve your physical and mental health.

In our busy world, taking the time to rest and do nothing productive can seem like an impossible luxury. But when Winnie the Pooh said, “People say it is impossible to do nothing, but I do nothing every day,” I think our beloved silly old bear was onto something. In fact, medical and mental health professionals sing the praises of taking time to do nothing.

“Doing nothing” doesn’t necessarily mean sitting and staring at a wall. Scrolling mindlessly on our phones and binge-watching shows also (sadly) don’t count. Rather, it’s a conscious practice of relaxation, allowing one’s brain to rest, to stop processing, to breathe. Yes, it can be doing literally nothing, and soaking in silence and stillness, or it can look like partaking in relaxing activities that help cultivate a true sense of rest.

Below are some of my favorite “nothing” activities that can help nourish your body and mind:

Going for a walk

Many of us have experienced the wonders that stepping out of the house or the office can do. Feeling the sun on your face, the breeze in your hair, and getting some light exercise is a great way to reset your brain. According to Harvard Medical School, walking can perform even more health marvels. Aside from exercising those leg muscles, walking can boost your immune system and reduce the risks associated with obesity-promoting genes. 

Coloring

Having trouble sleeping? Instead of scrolling through Instagram, spend 30 minutes with an adult coloring book. By doing a screenless activity, you’re helping your body wind down peacefully. Good sleeping habits leads to a plethora of health benefits, such as better immunity, better concentration, and better moods. Not only that, but you can also improve your brain health when you color. Coloring activates both hemispheres of your brain, making this an excellent mental exercise.

Jigsaw puzzles

Jigsaw puzzling is a popular pastime and very good for your brain. Like coloring, it activates your brain. Try doing a puzzle with a friend or family member to build your teamwork skills, as well as your spatial awareness and problem-solving. When you do a puzzle in your off-time, you can rest assured that you are developing skills that will help you do your job even better!

Star-gazing and cloud-watching

Laying on your back and staring at the sky is the ultimate act of “doing nothing.” Did you know that the simple act of looking up is good for you? Sky-gazing is a very relaxing activity, and when our bodies relax, our blood vessels expand, promoting better blood circulation. Additionally, when we look up at the stars, we are exercising our optical muscles. Looking for those constellations or shapes in the clouds improves our eye health but also activates the creative centers of our brain.

Prayer and meditation

We know that prayer is good for our souls. But prayer, especially certain types of prayer, has particular benefits to our minds and bodies. A 2023 study saw that prayers that praised God or evoked trust in him lowered anxiety. Those who prayed for solutions or forgiveness were more likely to have an increase in anxiety. This is not to say that we should not ask God for forgiveness or for answers — we absolutely should and need to! But it does show that there is a benefit to concluding our prayers with an act of trust. An example may be, “Lord, forgive me for the ways I hurt others…thank you for hearing me, as I know your mercy is always present to me.” 

Even Jesus emphasizes this attitude of trust and letting go to St. Faustina, I desire trust from My creatures. Encourage souls to place great trust in My fathomless mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the unmeasurable depths of My mercy.”

The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out by life's busyness, try one of these “nothing” activities. And remember: you never have to feel guilty for taking time to rest and nourish your body and soul. Doing nothing has countless benefits that will spill over into our productive lives, and chances are, we will become happier and holier people as a result.

Creators:
Allison Barrick
Published:
April 2, 2024
March 25, 2024
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