What you need to know about Niksen, the Dutch lifestyle concept of doing nothing


How much time do you think you spend in a day doing nothing? If you’ve not heard of Niksen yet, then you most likely think you do spend some time doing nothing while in actuality you don’t. According to the Dutch lifestyle concept of Niksen, activities such as watching TV, taking a shower or sitting down with a book is not ‘doing nothing’. Neither is scrolling through your social media accounts. These are activities that people do on their downtime, and which they believe translate to doing nothing.

What you need to know about Niksen, the Dutch lifestyle concept of doing nothing

According to Niksen, you need to do absolutely nothing for you to, well, actually be ‘doing nothing’. This means that your body or mind should not be actively involved in any activity. It involves just sitting there and thinking of absolutely nothing. Let’s say, for instance, you sit at a window and stare at the scenery outside. The moment you begin thinking about how your garden needs some attention or how the backyard swing needs a repair, then you’re doing something. Next thing you know, you’ll start feeling guilty about just sitting there instead of doing what needs to be done.

Niksen is aimed at reducing the ever rising stress levels in modern life. Everybody has become so busy, that they rarely ever have a moment where they’re simply being themselves without trying to attain a certain goal. That has in part been advanced by the societal belief that doing nothing is equal to laziness. As the concept stipulates, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a few moments each day to do nothing. In fact, just doing that without trying to reach a certain goal can be a step towards combating the daily overwhelming stress.

Very few people, if any, have perfected the art of sitting calmly without occupying the brain or body. There are just so many concerns around us that seem to forever demand our attention and energy. Pushing these thoughts not just to the back of your mind but out of it can prove challenging.

By completely taking a break from doing anything, you can reduce your levels of stress. Giving yourself this kind of break can also result in more creativity and ultimately, productivity. Simply letting your mind wander – without you consciously beginning to ponder over something – powers it up and facilitates positive thinking.

What you need to know about Niksen, the Dutch lifestyle concept of doing nothing

There’s a close connection between mental well being and physical health. Stress leads to anxiety, hypertension and over time, heart problems.

Taking a step back from your daily actions and thoughts is akin to stepping away from everything that stresses you out. This means that your physical health will improve tremendously by practicing Niksen.

It’s advised to start small. Put away your phone, PC, tablet or whatever distraction you use during your free time and just sit back and relax.

You can put on some music, then just let your mind take you wherever it will, not the opposite. Each time you feel as if you’re wasting time by just being, remind yourself that you deserve the downtime. Remind yourself that you have given so much time to the world around you, and that it’s perfectly okay to just sit and be.