The Joy and Power of Doing Nothing

by Laura

9.52 - Maui Sunset
Creative Commons License photo credit: Mele☺

On this Labor Day weekend let’s talk about REST..and how VITAL it is in all areas of our life. Most of us live fast paced lives in which slowing down is something we don’t get to do very often, and if we do it takes a while just to “unwind”. We have many projects, responsibilities and goals. It seems even our sleep state can be disrupted by this stress at times. Have you ever been so stressed that you woke up in the morning feeling more tired than when you went to bed?

A life changing example that  I discovered this year during a routine dental check-up was that I was grinding my teeth during the night. This was something fairly shocking to me, and apparently it was so severe that the dentist kindly handed me a mirror and showed me where I had a bone protruding on my gum line.

When I got that news, I was alarmed to say the least. That coupled with a flare up in fibromyalgia  pain were a “flashing sign” or WAKE UP CALL to pay attention to my body and spirit!! I needed rest, relaxation and more time doing absolutely NOTHING.

My days were so consumed with stress and self imposed pressure coupled with a life that was severely out of balance that it added up to the perfect recipe for a life crash. When we don’t pay attention to these signs, our body and our spirit starts to suffer. So needless to say, I have made drastic changes in my life, and continue to look at ways I can slow down, balance, and bring my life back into alignment with source.

Sleep and adequate rest makes a definite difference  in our productivity, effectiveness, mood and the quality of our relationships. It  may not be as highly regarded as it should be as exercising and proper hydration. I know that when I get less then 7- 8 hours sleep I am not as clear minded, so sleep is very high on my list. The longer you do not get adequate rest and sleep, the more it will begin to affect your life. Interestingly enough, getting plenty of exercise coupled with eating right helps you sleep more soundly. Do you take care to get the amount of sleep your body requires?

When was the last time you took some time out to JUST DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?

When it comes to rest…I am not talking about Taking a Vacation! Think about this:

Most people think of taking a vacation from work as taking a week or two off work which involves doing activities in which you are constantly on the go with your spouse and kids. Consequently, the vacation often ends up being as stressful as the job that was left behind.  Some people dread going back to work because they got absolutely NO REST whatsoever! This surely defeats the purpose. In order to get the full health benefits of a vacation, it is paramount to balance the time if possible and to use the time to relax mind and soul; to return home feeling rejuvenated. If you are a very active person who loves the concept of “active rest”, perhaps split the time so that you get a mixture of both activities and doing NOTHING.

It’s a very important aspect of mental health and well-being to simply allow 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. Idleness is often frowned upon in modern society, especially in the U.S.,  yet it is an important part of human mental health. It allows people to gather thoughts, to gain perspective, and to relieve stress. A certain amount of being idle is essential to a happy, fulfilled life. Meditation on a daily basis is a wonderful way to allow your mind to rest in a somewhat active, gentle way. it is only active in that you focus on a word, a sound, a phrase, chanting etc. All other distractions leave you, and your body and mind completely let go into a world of complete relaxation, closer to the source that you came from.In many Eastern countries, daily meditation is part of daily life, such as in India and Hindu religious practice, Asian countries with  Buddhism just to name two.step by step

Americans are looked at as over stressed, way out of balance and not taking that idle time to savor the finer moments in life.  In Europe, the practice of rest is built in to the culture.The Italians call it “Dolce far niente” which means ” the sweetness of doing nothing” as Elizabeth Gilbert describes lingering lavishly in Italy , in her book “Eat Pray Love “. Did you know that Europeans are given 2 and even 3 times more paid vacation time than Americans? Their productivity is sited to be higher while illness and stress is much lower than the United States.

photo credit: AlicePopkorn


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So take a little stock in how much idle time you spend as part of your weekly routine. If you are busy and on the go pretty much all the time, you might want to take a look at pulling back a little. Even technology like iphones, ipads and the like can keep up so “connected” that we’re never really unplugged from the race.

Yumtious chocolate caek
Enjoy the Sweetness of Doing Nothing a minimum of once a week. Make your favorite food, put on some music that moves
 you and sit to  watch the sun go down with a glass of your special reserve wine or tea. Take a bubble bath, and a nap. Go window shopping, and have some chocolate!  Life is to be savored and enjoyed…

You deserve Peaceful Rest and Joy!!









Creative Commons License photo credit: Rain Rabbit

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