As life gets busier and faster, taking time to do absolutely nothing might sound counterintuitive, even absurd. But did you know that it can have profound health benefits? Dr. Iroko Anita, a general practitioner, advocates for the value of “doing nothing” and the essential health benefits it brings.
Constantly being ‘on the go’ can lead to burnout, stress, and a host of health issues,” says Dr. Anita. “On the other hand, taking deliberate breaks to do nothing can rejuvenate your mind and body, increase productivity, and improve overall health.”
Here are five compelling health benefits of dedicating some time to do absolutely nothing:
1. Enhanced Mental Well-being
Firstly, carving out time to do nothing can significantly enhance your mental well-being. When you’re always occupied, your brain doesn’t get a chance to rest and recharge. However, when you allow your mind to be idle, you give it the necessary space to process thoughts, emotions, and experiences.
Improved Cognitive Function
By doing nothing, you allow your brain to enter what neuroscientists refer to as the ‘default mode network’ – a state associated with daydreaming, introspection, and creativity. This restful brain state can enhance problem-solving skills, boost creativity, and improve memory.
Reduction in Stress and Anxiety
Dr. Anita explains, “Our bodies are not designed for constant stimulation and stress. By stepping away from tasks and distractions, you help lower your body’s stress hormone levels, reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of calm.”
2. Physical Health Improvement
Your physical health can dramatically benefit from periods of rest and relaxation.
“Stress can negatively impact digestion,” Dr. Anita notes. “When you take time to relax, your body can focus on its vital functions, like breaking down and absorbing nutrients from your meals.”
Boosted Immune Function
Also, constantly being under stress can weaken your immune system, thus, making you more susceptible to illnesses. “Relaxation can help strengthen your immune system, helping to fend off illnesses more effectively,” says Dr. Anita.
3. Better Productivity
Paradoxical as it may seem, doing nothing can actually enhance your productivity.
When you give your mind and body a break, you allow them to replenish their reserves, resulting in increased energy levels and focus when you return to your tasks.
Moreover, stepping away from your work can provide a fresh perspective, leading to better decision-making and problem-solving abilities.
4. Increased Self-Awareness
Doing nothing can provide a much-needed opportunity for introspection and self-awareness. When you’re always busy, you can lose touch with your own needs, feelings, and desires. “Setting aside time to do nothing gives you a chance to tune into your inner self, helping you understand what you truly want and need,” Dr. Anita suggests.
5. Enhanced Emotional Health
By taking breaks, you can improve your emotional health. “Allowing yourself time to relax and do nothing can make it easier to manage and regulate your emotions,” says Dr. Anita. “This, in turn, can lead to better relationships and a more positive outlook on life.”
Make Doing Nothing a Priority
If you genuinely want to reap these health benefits, you must make a commitment to set aside time to do absolutely nothing. Remember that it’s not wasted time – it’s essential for maintaining your physical and mental health and increasing your productivity and self-awareness. As Dr. Anita wisely puts it, “Rest and relaxation are not luxuries, but necessities for a balanced and healthy life.”
Therefore, it’s about time you incorporated ‘doing nothing’ into your routine. By doing so, you’ll not only feel better but also function better, creating a ripple effect that can positively impact all areas of your life. As the saying goes, “Sometimes, the most productive thing you can do is relax.”
Further Reading: 7 Simple Things That Always Make You Happy