“Doing nothing is a matter of bite the bullet,” explains psychologist and coach Nicole Honneff. “Even something as pleasant as a vacation can appear imposed and forced. You have to go on vacation and you have to do something. Well, not. People are doers by nature and we like to have something to do. At times when little needs to be done, we find that difficult and guilt comes into play. To do nothing is not done. Doing nothing doesn’t feel right. While it is very useful! You create space and finally reflect on what life is really about. You can let your mind run free and you start to fantasize. Doing nothing provides the most creative hunches. ”
How do we get started with this? Honneff: “People today increasingly practice ‘mindfulness’ for such things. Then you are forced to do nothing with the only task: watch your breathing. Certainly do it if you feel comfortable with it, but you can wash this pig yourself very well. ”
“If you really don’t do anything, you will notice that your thoughts are moving in all directions. In an inexplicable way, you suddenly get itchy in various places and you have to scratch. Completely normal, just let it happen. That is precisely the pitfall, because it feels unpleasant. You are out of your comfort zone, it is a kind of withdrawal. And what do we do when something doesn’t feel right? Right, then we will quickly try or do something else. That’s just not the intention. ”
How do you make doing nothing more pleasant? The psychologist laughs: “Well, that’s that sour apple. Hold on! The art of doing nothing is simply experiencing everything that happens without you thinking about it or having to do anything with it. At such a moment of rest, feelings emerge that you normally do not pay attention to. A natural defense mechanism ensures that those emotions do not ‘disturb’ you when you are busy and you do not want to pay attention to them. While they deserve it! That is the only reason why such a moment of inaction is so important. ”
“To be perceived how you really feel. As far as I am concerned, the holiday is the ideal time to go back to the core and feel good. ”
Honneff’s golden tip for restless holidaymakers who have trouble staying on their lounger: “Stay down. Until the moment comes when you feel: now I want to do something again and not because I have to. Replace must with willing and you are actively doing nothing. ”
Tourism expert and professor of Emotions Ad Vingerhoets believes that there is also another reason why contemporary holidaymakers have difficulty doing nothing. “Also prestige and out-of-the-way are in our way. We literally fly in all directions or drive three hundred kilometers to admire a pile of stones because that’s what you do there. We have to go more exotic, browner, further. Everything for the ideal picture and then also online. Because it has to come across perfectly to Facebook friends and Instagram followers. Belonging to the crowd? Didn’t see us! Fine, but remember what vacation is all about. ”
Psychologist Honneff: “Relax and do things you really want. But read in those moments of reflection and hang on! Guaranteed that order will eventually arise in the chaos and that your free flow of thought will give you a lot of peace and new energy. ”
“You don’t have to lie on the couch alone. Moving is allowed! Go somewhere for a cup of coffee, read a newspaper or people watch. As soon as the feeling of ‘must’ starts to bubble up, you stop what you are doing or what you are moving towards. That deprives you of your freedom and that is precisely not the intention. ”
Do not feel guilty
Guilt about doing nothing stems from our upbringing. We are instilled to do our best all the time and are encouraged to feel guilty when we fail. Lounging is out of the question! Remember that just doing something to get rid of your guilt is never the solution. What is the use if you do what others want but you don’t want it yourself?
(this article previously appeared in VRIJ magazine)
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