Why you need NOTHING more for happiness...

Mental Health

Dr. Happy

You need NOTHING more for happiness...or should I say you need MORE NOTHING for happiness! 

Like myself, most of you probably enjoyed a good break over Xmas and New Year. Although I’m sure some of you worked at least for part of the time over Summer, and although I’m sure those of you who have children still had your parental responsibilities (that work never stops!), I’m also pretty sure that most of you enjoyed a bit more time than normal resting and relaxing at home or on the beach, doing “nothing” (at least in comparison to your usual daily and weekly routines).

And wasn’t it enjoyable? Didn’t it feel pleasurable? And calming? 

Despite this, doing nothing is often viewed in negative terms (even, by some of us some of the time, during weekends and holidays!); it’s too often equated with or seen as an indication of laziness or lack of motivation or a waste of time.

And it can be all of these things. And those that know me know that I’m not an advocate of laziness or time wasting.

At the same time, it’s hugely important to recognise that “doing nothing” can also be tremendously beneficial and good for our mental health and wellness. Taking time out for “nothingness” can be stimulating and refreshing and vitally important for our health and happiness.

Accomplishment and achievement and keeping busy are indubitably good; but too much of a good thing is not always good any more. Just like oxygen, we need a certain amount but an “overdose” can, quite literally, kill us!

Similarly, too much “doing” can kill us. Stress and burn out are often talked about, but also often underestimated. They can, over the long-term and in extreme cases also kill us! But so much of our upbringing for so many of us is all about doing more, faster, being productive and winning the race!!!

The good news, however, is that there’s a simple antidote. Doing more of nothing!

In my experience, most of us want this and most of us know it would be helpful but most of us also struggle because of the meanings we associate with doing nothing. Too often, too many of us view it in excessively and unhelpfully negative terms (such as those referred to above). As long as we continue to do this, we’ll struggle to adhere to doing less and accordingly, we’ll continue to struggle with happiness (experiencing, instead, high levels of stress and anxiety and even depression).

If, however, we can associate doing nothing with more positive consequences and benefits, then we’ll be far more likely to enjoy it’s many advantages including, of course, health and happiness.

You see, “doing nothing” is really NOT doing nothing at all. More often than not, doing nothing can and does involve resting and relaxing, recuperating and recovering, contemplating and reflecting, thinking and learning, planning and playing imaginatively in our minds!

And if any of these positive benefits of doing nothing sound attractive to you, then today I invite you to think about how you can do more nothing through 2018! 

Dr Happy

Please note: Dr Happy's blog is general advice only. For further information on this topic, please consult your healthcare professional.

Category:Mental Health

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