Do you remember the last time you did nothing? 100 percent free from distractions, the “lying down, staring off into space, being alone with your thoughts and emotions” kind of nothing. If like most people, your routine consists of hours in front of a screen, then you might be “thinking rarely,” or perhaps “never thinking” at all.
Why People Are So Busy Nowadays
In today’s technology-driven world, many of us are accessible 24 hours a day. We always take the time to charge our phone’s battery, but ignore the importance of recharging our own. For instance, as soon as boredom strikes, we pick up our smartphones and scroll through social media, or turn on the television and begin binge-watching a series we’ve seen multiple times before. Doing nothing — really nothing — has become a thing of the past, making burnout a worldwide phenomenon.
In addition, around 65 percent of Americans eat lunch at their desk and more than 40 percent of employees don’t use vacation time. Avoiding overtime, meeting deadlines early, and having to work while on holiday are some of the many reasons why most employees eat in front of their computers and don’t take vacation leaves.
Although longer hours might help you climb the corporate ladder of success, similar to spending hours in front of a screen for entertainment purposes, working too much also causes burnout. A survey from Harvard Business School revealed that 94 percent of professionals put in 50 hours a week or more, and almost half of all people surveyed work for a minimum of 65 hours per week.
The negative effects of being too busy and experiencing burnout also extend to people with cancer, since they can harm their mental health by spending hours reading about malignancies and survival rates, which, in turn, might cause depression, severe anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness.
Yes, employees who work long hours have a higher chance of receiving a promotion, and cancer patients who collect information nonstop can better equip themselves during treatment and recovery — but at what cost? Is it worth wreaking havoc on your happiness, relationships, job performance, and overall health?
12 Advantages of Doing Nothing All Day
Here’s why you should go ahead and do something important for yourself: Do nothing for a day.
- You will be mentally stronger. A 2014 study from the University of Virginia revealed that more people are uncomfortable in their heads, opting to receive electric shocks than being left alone with their thoughts. Mentally strong people are not afraid to be alone with their thoughts.
- You will cope better when the unexpected happens. According to the HSE Laboratory of Positive Psychology, among the 200 students tested, the ones who felt good about being alone with their thoughts were not only more mature, but they were also more resilient to life’s challenges.
- You will feel less tired. Choosing to spend some time alone and doing nothing is one of the best ways to recharge your mind and body — a statement that a large online survey called The Rest Test supports. Rest is particularly important for cancer patients, as it helps the body recover from treatment, build new cells, and heal.
- You will be more compassionate towards others. Disconnecting from the distractions and stresses of daily life achieves solitude and allows you to consider and understand the feelings of those around you.
- You will be happier. According to a 2016 study that asked 15,000 adults about their life satisfaction, those who spent more time alone with fewer distractions or social interaction felt happier and more fulfilled.
- You will boost your creativity. The results of a 2017 study from the University of Buffalo showed that people who spent more time alone expressed themselves more creatively than those who were always in the company of others.
- Your problem-solving skills will improve. Choosing to clear your mind, either by staring at the ceiling or sleeping on a problem, is sometimes the shortest distance between you and the solution to your worries. If you are having trouble sleeping, here are seven ways to sleep soundly during stressful times.
- You will learn to rely on yourself more. Being too engaged in your work, social circle, and romantic relationship may cause you to become dependent on others. Meanwhile, being comfortable alone helps generate independence, self-reliance, and self-esteem.
- You will reboot your brain. The secret to being mentally sharp and emotionally healthy is to allow your brain to rest. Doing nothing for a day can also give you the break you need to let your heavy thoughts settle, which can make it easier for you to restart your mental processes.
- You will strengthen your ability to concentrate. The influx of texts, phone calls, emails, and other forms of communication can overwhelm you and clutter your thinking. Taking a step back from your smartphone, tablet, and computer makes it possible to take back control of your thoughts and mental capacity.
- You will be kinder. Perhaps one of the most surprising benefits of doing nothing, it can help you tap into your nicer self. Being alone with your thoughts makes you pine for a bigger sense of purpose, which may encourage you to dive into challenging and more meaningful activities that benefit other people.
- You will feel less stressed. Doing nothing can help slow down the reticular activating system — the part of the brain stem responsible for heightened awareness. This paves the way for easier access to relaxed states.
During this time and age, making room in our schedules for something that isn’t programmed for maximum productivity can be difficult. Yet, as it turns out, there are significant advantages to doing nothing. So, for today — and at least once a week moving forward — choose to put your phone down, step away from your computer, and enjoy some much-needed downtime. Your mind and body will thank you.
The One Thing You Should Always Do Something About
If you have cancer, acting now is the key to improving your prognosis. Call New Hope Unlimited today at 480-757-6573 to schedule a consultation with doctors who specialize in a combination of conventional and alternative cancer treatments. Unlike solely conventional protocols, our cancer solutions are non-invasive and will prioritize your quality of life.