We are taught in our society that doing nothing is a waste of time. And most of us find it hard to just do nothing in a literal sense – we consider it lazy. So we keep busy doing things to give ourselves a sense of achievement in our days.

Yet doing nothing some of the time is essential for our well-being. Doing is focussed outwards. We are working on something with some goal in mind, however trivial that task may be. It pulls us away from ourselves and takes up all our space.

Doing nothing allows us to just be. It lets things come to us, rather than us going out. We can notice sensations, the air on our skin, the beauty around us. It enables our minds to wander, or even sometimes be quiet. It is a place of recuperation, our opportunity to stop trying and pushing.

Doing nothing doesn’t have to be taken literally. We don’t have to sit still and try to do nothing – that tends to make our minds even busier!

It is really about shifting our focus from what we are doing, whether that’s walking or sitting or reading, or even simple tasks. Instead, you allow yourself to be, however you are, and relax into a place where the world comes to you, rather than you going to the world. When you change your focus, you gain energy rather than using it – you take in, instead of giving out.

Doing nothing is a respite from our normal busyness, and we need it for our health. We were not designed to keep going like a machine – we have ebbs and flows, just like the tide.

Never feel guilty about taking some doing nothing time. It is a wise way to spend part of your day.

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