Niksen is a Dutch concept that translates to "the art of doing nothing" or "doing something without purpose." It refers to intentionally taking time to relax, be idle and engage in unproductive activities without feeling guilty or rushed.
The idea behind niksen is to counteract the busy and fast-paced nature of modern life, allowing oneself to unwind, clear the mind and recharge. It's about finding moments of stillness and embracing the present moment without the need for constant productivity or stimulation.
Practicing niksen may help reduce stress, enhance mindfulness, improve focus, foster creativity and promote overall well-being. By intentionally taking breaks and allowing ourselves to do nothing, we create space for relaxation, reflection and rejuvenation.
Niksen can contribute to overall well-being in several ways:
Stress reduction: "It's not necessarily bad to be in a state of stress for a little while. The problem is when the stress is getting out of hand," Leiden University psychology professor Bernet Elzinga told the BBC. Engaging in niksen allows you to step away from the demands and pressures of daily life. By taking time to do nothing, you give yourself a mental and emotional break, which can help alleviate stress and promote relaxation.
Recharging and rejuvenation: Constant busyness and productivity can be draining. Niksen provides an opportunity for rest and rejuvenation. Taking breaks to simply “be” while doing nothing allows your mind and body to recharge, helping you feel refreshed and ready to tackle tasks more effectively when needed.
Creativity and problem-solving: When you give yourself the space to do nothing, you open mental pathways for creativity and innovative thinking. Without the pressure to produce or achieve, your mind can wander freely, making connections, generating new ideas and finding solutions to problems.
Balance and perspective: Niksen helps create a healthy balance in life. By valuing moments of stillness and idleness, you counteract the societal emphasis on constant busyness and productivity. It allows you to gain perspective, reflect on your priorities and make intentional choices about how you spend your time.
Ways to practice niksen:
- Gaze out a window taking in the view.
- Spend time in nature.
- Enjoy the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee.
- Enjoy the sweet scent of a bouquet.
- Sit in silence without distractions.
- Take breaks from work on purpose.
- Take a nap.
- Just “be.”
Learn more about the Dutch concept of niksen in this Blue Cross Virtual Well-Being℠ The Dutch Art of Niksen: Doing Nothing. You can also sign up for future employer-focused and individual well-being webinars and meditations here, where you’ll also find past webinars and meditations on demand.
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