Yup, that is the newest mantra for a good relaxed and happy lifestyle, Just Do Nothing! Many of us have practised mindfulness meditation or others have tried the Danish Version of relaxation by creating a cosy home experience from those that bought us ‘hugge’ or other forms of relaxation, say, the Norwegian balance or ‘lagom’ and seeing as its January and our theme is trim let’s look at the Dutch art of ‘Niksen’ literally meaning do nothing. Explore more here in Just Do; Nothing
Mindfulness meditation practice is about ‘being present’ in the ‘here and now’ using breathing techniques to stay focused in this. ‘Hygge’ is a Danish word that in essence, means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with loving people. The glow of a fireside, a quiet film night with your lover, food with family friends and loved ones. Whereas the Swedish trend is called ‘Lagom’ and literally means ‘enough, sufficient, adequate, just right’. So instead of the cashmere pyjamas you never want to get out of, it’s about living a less cluttered stripped-down life with just what you really need so that everything has a purpose and function in order to bring balance into your life
Interestingly the top seven happiest countries in the world are from northern Europe and include Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands
And from the Netherlands, we now have the concept of ‘niksen’, literally meaning Do Nothing.
So how and when even do we even find ourselves doing nothing? And just how simple is it?
The aim of this relaxation technique is for you to, just stop, just relinquish control, whenever, wherever. Where certain meditation practices encourage you to be aware of your thoughts and notice them in order to move back to an empty mind, with ‘niksen’ you don’t look at them you ‘let them happen’. The idea is to simply ‘be’
When thoughts occur, you don’t ‘think’ about them or imagine them being carried away into the clouds above, you just let them occur. What we don’t want is for meditative practices to feel like yet another thing to do, so the ideals of ‘niksen’ are to be liberatingly simple. Stop ‘doing’ right now and essentially allow yourself sanctioned timeout.
The trend took off when Olga Mecking, the author of a book about this Dutch movement called, Niksen. Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing, wrote a piece for The New York Times that went viral and was her stepping stone towards her book. Our non-stop lifestyles according to her, our never-ending need to be achieving ‘stuff’ can lead us to more stress, low mental wellbeing and in the end, lower productivity.
So where to start? It takes practice, of course, just like any type of ‘stopping’ Mecking calls “doing something without a purpose”. And one other benefit is, well it’s free!
So turn that tv off, put away your computer, phone and book, try staring out of the window as a first. But you don’t need to be home you could stare at the bus queue or birds in the sky. Maybe a good analogy is to think of it a little like daydreaming, just letting your mind go where ever it wants then you will truly be a so-called nikseneer too.