Today’s society tends to value being busy all the time, and constant entertainment. Sitting alone doing nothing is almost an act of rebellion that can be labelled as being unproductive and useless. But is that so?
In my twenties, sitting alone with my thoughts and emotions was quite uncomfortable and anxiety triggering… I was finding all the distractions I could to not be alone: TV , unhealthy relationships, partying, and all sorts of other activities that were not in themselves unhealthy but I was pilling them up as distractions from feeling what I needed to feel.
In the last 15 years, I learned to find peace with slowing down, sitting, meditating and being by myself. After 20 years in the high pace medical device corporate world, I managed to slow down and create a more spacious life I love, filled with meaningful areas of work that energise me and time with my kids and myself.
Still, sometimes I find myself back to being so busy I don’t take the time to rest and sit with myself. The feeling of anxiety raises and I get distracted again with work and other things like social media… which increases those feelings. When I notice the shift in my energy, I intentionally cut down the distractions and bring focus back on the “sitting down doing nothing” practice in my days, especially if it is a busy period. And the return to internal harmony happens quite quickly. It is like those snow globes toys: when you shake them there are thousands of messy snow flakes all around, but when you let it be still, the snow settles down and you can start seeing clearly the landscape that is being presented.
There are actual benefits of sitting down with yourself, doing nothing while observing what is happening within. It has been shown to decrease stress levels, improve sleep, increase happiness. Which is fantastic!
To me, the surprising additional benefits of sitting alone with my thoughts are:
- As I start to bring attention and care to what is truly going on within, I allow myself to observe, understand and potentially let go of the things that do not serve me, making potential mindset changes (and therefore life changes) possible.
- Once I started to connect with the darkness and the beauty of my own soul, the masterpiece of my complex persona I had created over the years, I was able to bring compassion to myself, understanding for the human being I am , and therefore understanding for all humans out there.
- Sitting alone with my thoughts and emotions has also boosted my creativity and intuition. When distracted, my mind jumps to the most obvious answers when trying to solve problems. But once I take the time to pause, relax and breathe, I end up finding clarity and thinking of inventive answers to those problems, which has led to life-changing ideas, like creating my women’s transformational program.
- Meditation makes me long for a larger sense of purpose, prompting a quest for challenging and meaningful activities that extend beyond my own life.
- Being with my thoughts and feelings, makes me more appreciative of who I am as a “being” not in the “doing”, without all “the achievements”… The qualities of my being starts to appear and I become less attached to the persona I created and more connected to my “higher Self”.
- And above all, especially for a person like me with a tendency to feel anxious, sitting alone with myself enables me to start the day in peace, in an elevated state of being. From there I am more able to respond to what life is throwing at me that day instead of react. Freedom. Peace.
You actually do not need to be productive all the time to be valuable.
Instead of seeing sitting with yourself as “not being productive,” think of it as investing in your own wellbeing.
This practice does not have to be long to be worthy, even five minutes a day is a good start. If your mind starts to jump to your to do list or your breathing starts to fasten, it is OK, just observe this with curiosity and kindness.
And one day, doing nothing might become something you look forward to.