Do you ever feel that you should be doing something or be constantly busy? Does “doing nothing” mean laziness to you?
Over the years I have accepted that it’s ok not to be doing, it’s ok just to be. As Andy Cope puts it we have become “human doings rather than human beings”!
For some, not doing anything means being with their selves, allowing thoughts to come up that possibly can feel uncomfortable, so sometimes keeping busy can be a coping strategy, an avoidance of meeting challenging thoughts or feelings.
Keeping busy can be part of a belief system that was possibly ingrained from childhood. Part of your identity is as a “hard worker”. I’m not supporting not working hard but I am advocating taking time to sit and just be.
It may be easy sit down but then out comes the mobile or the laptop gets switched on, this is not just being. If you are waiting for someone or a bus are you able to just be with your thoughts and observe the world around you or does this feel uncomfortable?
Stopping, taking time out, sitting quietly can be a beautiful opportunity to access and accept the truer parts of you – without judgment, acknowledging feelings and going within to a deeper peace. It’s a skill, a muscle that can be strengthened.
My invite to you would be to allow yourself a few minutes of sitting and doing “nothing” and I’ve put together a few gentle paths, just allowing yourself to stop, breath and be:-
- Set an alarm for just 10 minutes and sit, don’t do anything else apart from sitting.
- Turn off mobiles, TV etc and look around you, notice what you notice, hear what you hear and feel what you feel.
- Sitting quietly, notice your breath, how it rises and falls, where is it located in your body, does it change?
- Tell your family that you want 20 minutes to yourself, set the intention to allow thoughts to come in and allow them to go again. No need to focus or dwell on them, they are just thoughts coming in and going out.
- Sit in the garden, on a beach, near a river, close your eyes and listen. Be curious if any feelings arise, acknowledge them, breath into them and just let them be.
- Start off slowly, feel comfortable with 10 minutes and build up from there – give yourself permission just to be.
So what are the benefits of just being? Taking time out without distractions switches on the parasympathetic nervous system which allows the body to slow down, the stress hormones to reduce, blood pressure to decrease and muscles to relax. By noticing what comes up for you, how you feel, the sensations in your body give you a greater sense of awareness of yourself, a deeper understanding of your truer self. Just being encourages you to feel part of your surroundings, if outside, a connection with the environment in which you live.
As we get back to a faster pace of life find a little bit of time to give yourself permission just to be.