How can you do nothing? Surely nothing is not something that you do, since it’s something that you rather don’t do. Our lives are so heavily oriented around doing and achieving, and it seems even our language is inadaquately prepared to cope with experiences that are less active: resting, having quieter time, digesting, processing.  

In fact, researchers recently found it’s so hard for people to do nothing, that people prefer to give themselves electric shocks than to sit silently in a room, just to distract themselves somehow. They were only in there for 6-15 minutes.

And in the world’s quietest room, where you can apparently hear your own organs, the longest time anyone managed to stay inside is 45 minutes:

I find with many of my clients that there is a constant feeling that they need to be doing something. It feels almost threatening to not do something, as if things might fall apart, or else a lot of guilt comes with it. There’s often a sense that your value, your worth comes from what you did, what you achieved, what you succeded in.

Doing things is great. I am a fan of this. Achieving things is also hugely satisfying. But when these are the only options or goals, and form a constant pressure, something really valuable is missing.

Just being is also fantastic, on a whole other level. There’s a different way that you can observe things then, as though there’s room for them to actually enter into your perception. There’s a kind of silence in your mind that feels at once empty and still, and at the same time possessing a huge amount of space for thinking that can span vastly different topics and scales at high speeds. There’s a way of feeling the full weight of your body, on the ground, a solid thing that doesn’t give a shit about what other people think, because it just is. There’s a simple joy in actually just being a living body.  

As bodies, we all have this ability to just be. The constant pressure to do is a certain way of being that we’ve learnt from our surroundings and become stuck in. For our bodies, though, this is pretty unnatural. The signs of this pressure tend to show up in different kinds of tensions, fatigue, digestive disorders. Luckily, we can also learn how to get un-stuck from this constant cycle, and gaining much more attention for the body is one very direct route for achieving this.