What do you typically do when you take a break? A break from work – a break from freaking daily life… As many of us you might try to distract yourself from all the tasks you have. Distraction can be achieved easiest by being busy with something else – sports, reading a book, surfing the internet, playing video games, listing to the radio, watching movies, meeting friends… there is a lot to do.
People enjoy doing things. The feeling of being busy is a good one to most of us. Even if we might not always do something productive or meaningful, it makes us feel good. This has to do with the fact that we have all been brought up by being kept busy. A child that is bored is the worst for parents. It is unhappy and asks for attention. So very early in our lives we have learned that life is better when we are busy with something. In former days we got toys or drawing books from our parents. In today’s world children are given a phone or tablet in order to watch films or play video games from an early age on.
“Being busy is good. Being busy is right.
Being busy proves our right to exist.”
If we are asked how we are, the standard answer today is: “Fine, busy!” I mean, who would gladly admit that he/she is not well and totally bored? Or even sick, exhausted, confused, frustrated…? So busy is just fine. We feel we are needed – we have a place in life. In fact there are a lot of people who keep themselves busy in order to keep the feeling of being busy. Some people even unconsciously create more work for themselves by working very inefficiently just to keep the feeling of being so busy that the world couldn’t exist without them. This is extreme, but I guess everyone of us knows a few examples of this type of person.
So, taking a break is not easy. Some people even think they can’t, because there is too much to do. Others are afraid of a real break, because that would mean they need to do NOTHING… Have you recently tried to do nothing? I mean really nothing? Not only not working or not being busy with your family. Just nothing. No TV watching, no music, no books, no internet surfing, no video gaming, no nothing. I tell you, it’s hard.
Our mind is literally screaming for being kept busy. Look at us: We are listening to music while riding our bike, making phone calls while driving, writing emails while cooking, surfing the internet while walking the dog, video blogging while being on a city trip… we are constantly busy with at least one activity but mostly even more! We are so used to being busy with a lot of things at the same time that we don’t even realize it anymore. So imagine what it means for our minds to not do anything all of a sudden.
“For many of us it seems to be most difficult
to stand ourselves while being on our own…”
Many people say that they can’t be alone. They always need someone to interact with. But this is not what I am talking about. This is even about a step beyond. It is about being on our own with nothing to distract us. Many burn-out patients need to go through this as a first step of their therapy. They are left on their own with nothing: no books, no TV, no music, no phone, no nothing. They are forced to experience themselves again – their feelings, their thoughts, their bodies. They need to experience being bored and to stand it. It is a manner of re-focusing the people on themselves again.
But not only for burn-out patients this makes sense to do. We all could use some real breaks instead of just distracting ourselves from our tasks. Setting our minds at rest is the main thing to do. Our brains can only form new synapses while being at rest. So sleeping and doing nothing is crucial! And it is allowed!
So how can we do nothing? Funny enough we have to wonder about that. It takes a kind of detoxification which starts with becoming aware of our behavior:
- First step: if you are busy, just do one thing at a time.
- Second step: leave devices like phones, tablets, etc. at home from time to time and consciously don’t use them for periods of time.
- Third step: practice to be on your own.
- Next level and last step: Be on your own without distraction and actively do nothing.
How? Sleep, dream, sit outside and just watch the birds in the sky, the trees moving in the wind, the flowers blossoming out, the sun rise etc. Allow yourself to relax and to be inactive. Try to not even think a lot. Switch to pure reception mode. And if you really think you need to do something – just fool yourself: keep yourself busy with tanning! 😉