Prior to reading this NYTimes article, I'd never heard of the concept of "Niksen," "a stress-reducing practice from the Netherlands that literally means to do nothing, or to be idle."
Curious about what this means in practice? The article explains it as:
More practically, the idea of niksen is to take conscious, considered time and energy to do activities like gazing out of a window or sitting motionless. The less-enlightened might call such activities “lazy” or “wasteful.” Again: nonsense.
This is actually more difficult to do than you might think, because we're wired to be "on" all the time.
Generally speaking, our culture does not promote sitting still, and that can have wide-reaching consequences for our mental health, well-being, productivity and other areas of our lives. Technology doesn’t make it any easier: The smartphone you carry with you at all hours makes it
almost impossible to truly unplug and embrace idleness. And by keeping ourselves busy at all times, we may be losing our ability to sit still because our brains are actually being rewired.
Is this something that Cal Newport, author of DIGITAL MINIMALISM, would be into? He seemed pretty focused on being productive, scheduling every moment to maximize goal-setting, when one wasn't in front of one's digital devices.
I don't think so, since the research focuses on literally doing nothing, not acquiring new skills. Daydreaming turns out to be really good for you:
Ms. Mann’s research has found that daydreaming — an inevitable effect of idleness —
“literally makes us more creative, better at problem-solving, better at coming up with creative ideas.” For that to happen, though, total idleness is required.
“Let the mind search for its own stimulation,” Ms. Mann said. “That’s when you get the daydreaming and mind wandering, and that’s when you’re more likely to get the creativity.”
I love the idea of Hygge and I love the idea of this!
The most challenging thing is avoiding a screen, but the rewards sound exponential.