When was the last time you just sat down and stared into space? Put your feet up and did nothing? Spaced out in the shower? Okay, now when was the last time you did one of these things and didn’t feel like you should be doing something else instead?
If you can’t remember, you aren’t alone.Many of us don’t feel good about just sitting around doing nothing. But we human beings need stillness in order to recharge our batteries. The constant stream of external stimulation that we get from our televisions and computers and smart phones, while often gratifying in the moment, ultimately causes what neuroscientists call “cognitive overload.” This state of feeling overwhelmed impairs our ability to think creatively, to plan, organize, innovate, solve problems, make decisions, resist temptations, learn new things easily, speak fluently, remember important social information (like the name of our boss’s daughter, or our daughter’s boss), and control our emotions. In other words, it impairs basically everything we need to do in a given day.
Take Action: For 5-10 minutes today, practice being still. Turn off your phone and close your laptop. Get comfortable in a favorite chair or on the couch. Then…don’t do anything. Just stare into space. Rest. It’s okay if you get bored or agitated or sleepy — that’s normal if you don’t do this very often.
If you are interested in why this practice can make you more productive and happy, or why we are so bad at being still these days, I hope you’ll check out this blog post.
And for more about the concept of achieving more by doing less, check out my latest eCourse, “The Science of Finding Flow.“