Follow this simple plan to use the Art of Doing Nothing to improve your life, reduce stress, become more patient and make yourself more productive when you actually do have stuff to do.
Step 1: Start small
Doing nothing can be overwhelming if you attempt to do too much nothing all at once. Most of us simply don’t know what to do with ourselves when we have nothing to do, which is why it’s best to start small.
Focus on 3-8 minutes at a time, and start your practices in a safe place — at home, not at work or in a busy public place.
Most importantly, make sure your surroundings are quiet and comfortable.
Step 2: Remove distractions
Shut off all distractions — TV, computer, smartphone phones, regular phones, and all other things that can cause distraction. I know this might feel impossible to do, but doing nothing is tough when you’re surrounded by blinking gadgets with notifications for you to do something.
Now, close your eyes, and do nothing. Do nothing. Simple, huh? Perhaps doing nothing is more of a meditative mindset than a physical possibility. In the actual sense, you’re always doing something — you’re sitting, you’re thinking, you’re breathing — but if someone were to call you and ask what you’re doing, of course you’d say, “Oh, nothing.”
But luckily you’ve already turned your cell phone off, so you don’t have to worry about little distractions or telling others that you’re busy doing nothing.
Just sit there for five minutes and do nothing.
This is all you have to do to attain a basic level of do-nothingness. Commit to this practice for five to 10 minutes a day and observe what happens. To take this practice to the next level, continue on to the next step.
Step 3: Breathe
The first place to start to master this simple art is with your breath.
First, breathe slowly in for 5 seconds and slowly out for another five seconds.
Next, on the inhale, notice how the breath enters your body through your nose, journeys down to your lungs, and expands your diaphragm.
On the exhale, feel the lightness of the air as it slowly escapes the body. Feel the satisfaction of empty lungs.
Try to do this for 3-8 minutes.
You may notice while you are doing nothing that your mind starts to tell you that you need to do something. If it makes your mind feel better, go ahead and trick it by telling it that you are “doing” breathing. The mind just wants something to do.
Of course, you’re not actually doing anything since you can’t help it whether you breathe or not. You’re just letting the body do what it does naturally: BREATHE. No effort, no work, just simply doing nothing.
Amazingly enough, if you commit to just this little bit of doing nothing, chances are good that you’ll find that you like it a lot. Of course you won’t become a master of the Art of Doing