Think about the last time you did something only because it pleased you, not because it was expected. This is what makes it so sweet, and such a gift. Society has shifted toward prioritizing hyper-productivity, making the notion of doing nothing seem unproductive and inefficient. If there is time left unfilled during the day, there is an urge to fill it with something. It’s no wonder people have such a hard time relaxing and enjoying moments of nothingness.
For Italians, dolce far niente (sweetness of doing nothing) is a part of everyday life, and they do it well. It is observed in families taking a stroll together, sipping wine with friends at a café, enjoying good coffee, and watching the passersby. Noticeably, there is a feeling of presence and truly enjoying the moment as it is. It is simple and pure. It serves an important purpose as well, probably unwittingly to most, in that it provides a sense of connection, not only to each other but with yourself. As a result, you end up gaining greater clarity about what is important to you at your core.
The funny thing, however, about the art of doing nothing is that it can be hard to do. Initially, trying to sit down and relax can be overwhelming—like opening the floodgates. Your nervous system may have been over-stimulated for so long that it might have a hard time recalibrating and adjusting to this newfound activity. If this is the case for you, no worries. We have a quick exercise for you here that can help you learn the art of relaxation.