Now for many people looking at a tank of tropical fish is relaxing (I am pretty sure it is the reason there are 3 tanks in the pediatricians waiting room, because everyone needs to relax in there). And staring at a tank of placidly swimming fish does calm me. All the same folding an origami fish calms me as well. For my neighbor, she is calmed by sitting in her yard (if you read my instagram you know that doesn’t calm me at all). Then there is that great time on a camp out where everyone is mesmerized by the fire. What is it about these moments of doing nothing? Why do we need the these moments? I have 3 major reasons I feel we need to do nothing for a little bit every day.
We need contrasts in our life
I believe that most of our lives we take things for granted unless we are fully aware of their opposites. Who doesn’t love their own bed more after a weekend campout on an air mattress? Or don’t you find that chocolate lava cake is even better after 30 days of no sugar living? I personally don’t realize I like making origami fish from thin slick paper until I try making one out of cardstock. And I think the same applies to our lives as a whole. In this modern era of constant communication, continuous city noise (even the suburbs have dogs barking and cars driving), ever-present visual advertising and binge watched TV, it is surprising how little time there is for “nothing” to happen. And how can you appreciate the “something” without the moments of nothing.
Nothing moments relax our ever-working brain
I am no brain scientist, but I do know we require sleep to give our minds a rest. And I know that most people don’t get enough sleep. So it’s a logical conclusion that our brain isn’t getting enough rest. This means our brain is going to force breaks on us for it’s own survival. Don’t tell me you haven’t stared off into space more than once in the cubical. And since I can’t picture the office (besides Google’s crazy campus) where catnapping is encouraged, we all need a way to give our brains a rest that will revive like sleeping. Now some people might use their break-time at work to take a nap, but it’s probably safer and more feasible to pause and watch the birds in the nearby park, or sit on the building roof and stare at the clouds (OMW, did you know there is a Cloud Appreciation Society?). Give your brain a rest in the day since it was denied some of it’s much needed sleep.
Mindfulness is the current buzzword of self-improvement. We all should gain more “being in the moment” but not emotionally attached to the moment. Mindfulness benefits cognition, help regulate emotions, reduces stress, boost memory, and increases relationship satisfaction. (more on mindfulness). Well if you don’t want to meditate or take a conscious practice. How about do nothing! I am serious here. Mindfulness contains a whole bunch of things about utilizing it when you are in the middle of engaging with people, but when you are doing nothing is the best time to practice it–loads easier too. I am not saying dedicate yourself like a monk. I am saying that the benefit of staring at the tropical fish or refolding an origami fish you’ve folded before is your brain can disengage and take in the moment for what it is without emotional judgement. It’s a rather freeing experience. So stare at a screen saver for a while, look at a lake. Do nothing as your mindfulness practice.
I think I will fold a few origami fish and then hang them from a mobile, that would be just like looking at fish in a tank, only more the kind of fish I like. How will you do nothing today.
You might want to try folding other easy origami