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Today’s society tends to value being busy and entertained—all the time.
Sitting alone doing nothing is almost an act of rebellion that is often labelled as being unproductive or useless.
But is that so?
In my 20s, sitting alone with my thoughts and emotions was quite uncomfortable and anxiety triggering. I would look for all the distractions I could to not be alone: television, bad relationships, partying, and all sorts of other activities that were not in themselves unhealthy but what was unhealthy was how I was piling them up to distract myself from feeling what I needed to feel.
In the last 15 years, I’ve learned to find peace with slowing down, sitting, meditating, and being by myself. After 20 years in the high-paced corporate world, I managed to create a more spacious life filled with meaningful areas of work that energise me and allow me time with my kids and myself.
Still, sometimes I find myself back to being so busy that I don’t take the time to rest. That feeling of anxiety rises and I get distracted again with work and social media—things that increase those feelings. When I notice the shift in my energy, I intentionally cut down the distractions and bring my focus back to sitting down and doing nothing, especially if it’s a busy period of time. And I notice the return to internal harmony happens quite quickly.
It’s like those toy snow globes: when you shake them there are thousands of messy snow flakes all around, but when you let them be still, the snow settles down and you can start seeing clearly the landscape that is being presented.
And there are actual benefits of sitting down with yourself and doing nothing while observing what is happening within. It has been shown to decrease stress levels, improve sleep, and increase happiness, which is fantastic!
But there are a few additional benefits of sitting alone with my thoughts that surprised me:
>> 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 human “being” and not just a human “doing” who only focuses on achievements. The qualities of my being start 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 instead of react to what life is throwing at me that day. That is freedom. That is peace.
You actually do not need to be productive all the time to be valuable.
Instead of looking at sitting with yourself as “not being productive,” think of it as investing in your own well-being.
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 quicken, it’s okay. Just observe these feelings with curiosity and kindness.
And one day, doing nothing might become something you look forward to.