Niksen: A Dutch ritual of doing nothing

Origin: Holland / Netherlands

Northern Europeans make a lot of time to savor life and increase well being. In Denmark, they practice Hygge, a concept that tries to maximize our time together. The Dutch take on wellness is called Niksen1.

What is Niksen?

Niksen is the act of doing absolutely nothing or to be idle. As you can imagine, Niksen is quite easy to practice, and you can do it almost anywhere. All you need to do is drop your phone, chill, and focus on doing absolutely nothing.

The goal of Niksen is to be the opposite of productive, and release yourself from all the unnecessary stressors we impose on ourselves to move faster.  You can even introduce little mindless actions, such as knitting, as long as you let your mind do what it wants to.

In a way, it is meditation without the focus. Where being mindful is all about, attention and being present, Niksen is all about how you let your mind wander.

Ruut Veenhoven, a sociologist and professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands who studies happiness believes that people relax in different ways. He thinks that we should try different approaches to relaxation to understand better what works for us.

Benefits of Niksen

While Niksen historically has been dismissed as laziness, there seems to be something more to the Dutch concept. The medical community increasingly recognize the idea as the right way of combating health risks like stress and burn-out. Research see signs of various benefits when you slow down.

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Improved immune system
  • A slowdown of the aging process
  • Creativity boost (More ideas)

Imagine what we can accomplish if we have more of the worlds smartest thinkers take a break from their hectic daily lives. Perhaps a new medical breakthrough or a solution to our impending climate crisis?

Maybe a bit of doing nothing might lead to you solving one of Earth's significant challenges? 

How to cultivate Niksen in your home?

  1. Put your devices on flight mode
  2. Allow yourself a private space without interruptions (A park, beach or a room with a view)
  3. Put on a piece of music or enjoy the song of birds
  4. Relax and do nothing.

Even though it sounds easy, it might take more effort than you think. Some might also find it creepy and uncomfortable. Just try to work past the mental roadblock and enjoy the magic when your brain starts spinning. We think you'll find that it's a unique source of inspiration.

You might want to keep a journal handy and note any interesting thoughts that might pass your mind.

1Niksen Is the Dutch Lifestyle Concept of Doing Nothing - Time.com

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