Sage Advice on Why Doing Nothing is Sometimes the Best Option

As we head into the final days of summer, many of us are rushing to do and see as much as possible. But how about taking a few days to do nothing? The original Staycation…

Here are some great reasons/tips from some of the best thinkers and medical leaders of the day:

Mark Hyman, MD

Over my life I have come in and out of practicing stillness, but whenever I return to it, it feels like home. There are a thousand ways to meditate — traditional mindfulness meditation is the simplest and most accessible, but any form can work: yoga, nature, dance, breathing, and prayer.
The point of mediation, of doing nothing, is not an end in itself but a way to calm the mind, to see the true nature of things, and reduce the impact of suffering while increasing love, kindness, wisdom, fearlessness, and sympathy.

From that stillness life becomes richer, your actions more clear, your words more direct and powerful, and your capacity to be fully engaged in life enhanced. It is not a retreat from life, but a way to go fully into it and cultivate your own power and happiness.

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Daneille OfriI, MD

Every time I prescribe a medication — or order an invasive test, or refer a patient to a surgeon — it always feels like I’m placing a stone on a balance scale. Intellectually, my goal is to place the stone on the side of the scale that benefits my patient. But in my heart, I fear that it could end up on the other side, the side that harms, and the weight and permanence of the stone give me pause.

Many make the argument that deciding not to act is as momentous as deciding to act. Except that it never feels that way. My hesitation induces guilt; it makes me ask myself if I am harming my patients by not acting as fast or aggressively as some of my colleagues would.

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Tom Hodgkinson, The Guardian

Embrace the faff. Stare out of the window. Bend paperclips. Stand in the middle of the room trying to remember what you came downstairs for. Pace. Drum your fingertips. Move papers around. Hum. Look at the garden. Go to the shed with the intention of tidying up and instead fall asleep. Make mental notes. Read every single word of the newspaper – even the job ads – before getting down to work. Lose yourself in erotic reveries. Pat your pockets. Resolve to be more organised in future. Be useless.

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Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

An important part of doing nothing is being able to completely relax. If we are tense, then the doing of the nothing is really for naught. Relaxing starts by finding a comfortable place to do your nothing — a soft chair, a plush couch, a well-made, clean bed. Once you’ve found this spot, lie in it, and wiggle around to make it fit your body better. Think of how a cat lies down, and makes itself comfortable. Cats are very, very good at doing nothing. You may never approach their level of mastery, but they make for great inspiration.

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Deepak Chopra, MD

“Do as nature does – less. That way, you accomplish more. If you do nothing, you accomplish everything,” he stated. “Trying hard, as Oscar Wilde said, is the last refuge of the failure.”

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Posted in Belief Systems, Thought Provoking, Well Being.