We often believe that achieving more will bring us happiness. However, we rarely savour the satisfaction of completing a task before our minds shift to the next item on our never-ending agenda. We have little tolerance for laziness. Our lists keep growing, and we're quick to add more tasks, especially when they appear to be dwindling. Even breaks become opportunities for additional work.
However, there is great value in embracing idleness and allowing ourselves the luxury of doing nothing. Perhaps if we understood the benefits of idleness for our minds, we might be more inclined to embrace it.
When we are busiest, our brains are not necessarily doing very much. Being idle provides a much-needed break for both our bodies and minds. Just as a car needs regular pit stops to function optimally, humans require rest to recharge. Some of the most brilliant ideas and solutions often emerge when our minds are at rest. By giving ourselves the space to be idle, we invite creativity to flourish.
In a world focused on constant progress and achievement, idleness reminds us to embrace the present moment. It encourages us to savour life's simple pleasures, whether it's watching a sunset, listening to birdsong, or feeling the breeze on our skin.
Ultimately, being idle is an act of self-care. It's a way of showing ourselves love and compassion. It's a reminder that we deserve moments of relaxation and enjoyment, free from the demands of productivity.
When was the last time you made a deliberate effort to be idle?
Tarnya Davis is a clinical and forensic psychologist and principal of NewPsych Psychologists newpsych.com.au