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Niksen: The Art of Doing Nothing


Each minute of our life is a lesson but most of us fail to read it. I thought I would just add my daily lessons & the lessons that I learned by seeing the people around here. So it may be useful for you and as memories for me.

Everyone wants to be happy. It’s a fundamental human right. It’s associated with all sorts of benefits. We, as a society, spend millions trying to figure out what the key to personal happiness is. The Dutch people are some of the happiest in the world. Their secret? They are masters of niksen, or the art of doing nothing. Do not already start juding the statement. COntinue reading to get clear picture about Niksen.

When I visited Netherlands in 2019, for the first time I heard word “Niksen” the Dutch concept of doing nothing, and thought, “Ah yes, I know this practice well. I do it everyday.” During Pandemic, I got chance to do more research about “niksen” and other wellbeing cocnepts like hygge and lagom .

Niksen

First there was hygge, the Danish concept being cozy and full of contentment. Pronounced “hoo-gah,” this Danish expression is an attitude towards life that emphasizes finding joy in everyday moments. Rather than drudge through the winter, hygge is about celebrating coziness, warmth and family, as well as practicing mindfulness. This tradition is carried down by generations when family members cuddle up in blankets and warm clothing from head to toe and gather by the fireside and candlelight together to enjoy simple pleasures

Then there was lagom, the Swedish mindset of approaching life with an “everything in moderation” mindset. It means “Not too little. Not too much the right amount, and is a philosophy that aims to balance, in every area and juncture of everyday life. Lagom is the secret that explains a lifestyle based on social awareness, moderation and sustainability. Just right.” This term represents their slower-paced, simple life. In Sweden, they value a healthy work-life balance.  

Now there’s another Northern European trend that’s being embraced as a way to combat our increasingly busy and often stressful lives: niksen. The Dutch concept is as simple as, well, doing nothing.    

Niksen is an increasingly popular Dutch relaxation technique where you relinquish control and just … stop. Niksen is not a form of meditation, nor is it a state of laziness or boredom. It’s not scrolling through social media, or wondering what you’re going to cook for dinner. Rather, to niks is to make a conscious choice. 

What is niksen?

The practice promotes taking conscious time to simply do nothing.

Niksen “literally means to do nothing, to be idle or doing something without any use,“. With niksen, which most closely translates as ‘nothing-ing’ in Dutch, you have to be intentional about doing nothing.Stop doing everything right now. Congratulations, you just did a niksen. It is essentially sanctioned daydreaming.

When most of daily life is consumed by the need to maximize productivity, to make the most of our time, the constant stress of this can be daunting. Hence, taking time to be idle might require some mental adjustment as the results of this cannot be quantified or measured.

Instead, we simply feel lighter, less cluttered mentally, and healthier.

Practicing niksen could be as simple as just hanging around, looking at your surroundings or listening to music — “as long as it’s without purpose,”

Niksen enables us to take a step back from whatever we’re doing to just let everything be as it is without being an active participant in it. Ideally, practicing niksen and allowing your brain to wander “can enhance creativity,” benefits of doing nothing?

Why will making sure you regularly do nothing increase your feelings of happiness? Unproductive time can make us healthier and happier, according to science. When we remain idle with no agenda, we turn on the creativity centers in the brain. People experiencing work stress and burnout at a coaching center in the Netherlands reported decreased feelings of stress and increased happiness when they practiced niksen versus when they didn’t practice it regularly.

“It frees up space we use to ruminate so that all that energy that is utilized to focus on doing something can be freed out. We can get room to be more productive and perhaps do [our work] with a calmer, less judgmental approach.”

It’s not mindfulness; a better definition would be a short period of mindless relaxation. 

Whereas mindfulness is about being present in the moment, niksen is more about carving out time to just be, even letting your mind wander rather than focusing on the details of an action.

Niksen is a time without devices, without a screen, without immediate gratification. You’re just able to be.

Not into meditation or mindfulness? Borrow this technique from the Dutch: doing nothing — but with a purpose. I tried it and it was harder than I thought it would be.

Do not ever feel guilty for doing nothing. Being Busy is often seen as the sign of success and  productivity. Is it possible to be productive all the time? . Absolutely not. Sometimes you want to do something but you feel you don’t have that energy. Then you think that you are lazy or you are not productive. Many  are going through such situations where your energy is low and you want to do some work. The mistake that everyone makes is  to force yourself to do that specific task though you feel that you have low energy to do. The output is more stress and anxiety. 

This practice is perfect for anyone who feels overwhelmed, burnt out, or exhausted, NIKSEN does not tell you to work harder. Instead, it shows you how to take a break from all the busyness while giving you sincere, heartfelt permission to do nothing. For Example

  • AT HOME: Find a comfy nook and sit. No technology or other distractions. 
  • AT WORK: Stare at your computer. Take in the view from your office. Close your eyes.
  • IN PUBLIC: Forget waiting for the bus, enjoy some relaxing niksen time.

I encourage you to loosen your concept of time and productivity and practice this simple exercise. Allowing your brain to rewire from stress by doing nothing is a wellness practice worth implementing. If you are sitting in a cafe, you can indulge in some stress-busting niksen but sipping your coffee and looking out the window. Leave your phone in your pocket, and let your mind wander. It’s not mindfulness; a better definition would be a short period of mindless relaxation. 

If you’re not sure where to begin, “start by staring out a window,“. “You don’t have to stay thinking about what you see, but it can be helpful to have a starting point. Begin by simply looking at a tree and then just let the thoughts go where they will.”

Niksen is just one of many ways you can deal with stress. What matters is that you successfully manage work-related stress and not let it negatively affect your health.

If niksen doesn’t work for you, that’s ok. There’s something out there for everyone, just do what feels right for you!

Please feel free to share your story and any lessons you learned, you experienced, you came across in your life in the comments below. If you enjoyed this, or any other other posts, I’d be honoured  if you’d share it with your family, friends and followers!

If you wish to follow my journey outside of my writing, you can find me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MunnaPrawin) Instagram(MunnaPrawin) and Twitter(@munnaprawin1)

 

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