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Niksen: The Dutch philosophy of the art of doing nothing

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01/7What is ‘Niksen’

In a world that is filled with people who constantly want to put their hands into something or the other and forever remain productive, the concept of doing nothing probably sounds like a total waste of time. But, the Dutch philosophy of ‘The Art of Doing Nothing’ or ‘Niksen’ gives a new perspective on things.
Niksen says that accepting and embracing moments of stillness and idleness are not just beneficial but also important for our mental well-being.

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02/7A Dutch philosophy

Niksen, or simply, ‘The Art of Doing Nothing’ is the idea of willfully doing something or engaging in an activity that does not require any major effort. Niksen is about doing activities that require minimal effort and focus. It encourages people to simply be present in the moment without feeling pressured to constantly achieve or accomplish.
‘Niksen’ says that as long as you are doing something fun, without the ultimate motive of achieving something with it, you are enjoying doing nothing.

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03/7Escaping the grind

The world we live in today has a very weird way of glorifying the hustle and the grind. Today, being busy and having no time for self is seen as a way to climb the ladder as soon as possible. People wear their packed schedules, with no time for rest, as badges of honour. Today, being busy is equated with productivity and worth. And after a while, this same behaviour becomes the cause of burnout, stress, and a diminished sense of fulfilment.
It is in these situations that Dutch philosophy offers an antidote. ‘Niksen’ reminds people of the importance and value of slowing down and embracing leisure.

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04/7Let your mind wander

Practising the art of doing nothing helps people be more present and in sync with themselves. By allowing ourselves to engage in the simple activities of life, like daydreaming, looking at the stars, or simply just sitting in silence and looking out of the window, we become more attuned to the present moment. This heightened awareness can lead to a deeper appreciation for life and a greater sense of inner peace.

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05/7‘Niksen’ has the power to inspire creativity

As compared to the thinking that idleness only results in loss of time, engaging in some ‘doing nothing’ time can improve our mind function and spark creativity. The periods of idleness can be a ground for creativity and inspiration.
When humans start giving their mind the space to wander and explore without challenges and pressure, there will be an emergence of new ideas and new perspectives. Without constantly thinking about deadlines and targets and giving our body the time to recover by some leisurely activity, we help it function better over time.

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06/7​‘Niksen’ and self care

The fact that the world today prioritises productivity over anything else is not up for debate. Productivity, meeting deadlines, exceeding targets, etc, are the only things people look forward to. And thus, the simple moments of self-care and embracing the art of doing nothing feels like an act of rebellion.
And so, when we engage in the ‘Art of Doing Nothing’, we prioritise ourselves and the attention we deserve. Be it taking out time for a leisurely walk in nature, listening to some music, or taking a nice relaxing shower, or simply lounging with a good book, these moments of rest refresh our minds, bodies, and spirits.

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07/7‘The Art of Doing Nothing’ and finding the right balance

In all, ‘Niksen’ teaches us to be at rest and to be happy. It does not advocate for people to leave their jobs, and start a life in the woods, but only asks you to take out time for nothing. ‘Niksen’ is about recognising that productivity is important, but so is rest. And so, if you take some time out to listen to a song or watch a dance show, do it without the worry of completing the next target and without the thought of ‘Will I be able to dance like that?’
The ‘Art of Doing Nothing’ is simple and is really the refreshing summer drink each one of us needs today.

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