When was the last time you did nothing? Not working, not talking to someone, and definitely not staring at a screen. Just noticing the scene around you, observing. Being.
Whenever I catch myself in these states of nothingness, I can feel my internal monologue building up to a mental breakdown:
What do I do next? Do I need to keep working, or can I take a nap? My eyes hurt. I need to stop looking at the screen so much. But what else am I supposed to do? It’s too hot out. I shouldn’t go out. I’m tired. I want a nap. My heart is palpitating again. Why do I keep having irregular heart beats? Why is my life so boring? I want a kitchen. I need to learn how to cook. I need to move more. But I’m so tired. Why am I so tired? I want to watch a movie. No, I should read a book. I spent too much time on YouTube today. I shouldn’t take a nap. I will go to bed early and wake up at 6am tomorrow. Why do I feel like I’m the center of universe, and once I die, everything else also dies? Why am I so hyperaware of my existence? I’m scared. Did I eat too much today? I need to throw out the trash. Am I hoarding too much? I should throw out all the empty boxes that I don’t need. I don’t have enough summer clothes, but my closet feels too cluttered already. Why do I still feel my chest beating? I’m hungry.
Do you know how tiring it is to have this incessant monologue buzzing in your head? I’m sure you do. It’s exhausting. It’s even more annoying when you finally lay on your pillow at night and the more emotionally painful thoughts hit you. They are worst when you let your guard down.
I think this is where meditation steps in. I keep embracing and kicking it away, back and forth. It was easy during the cooler months of the year, when I would take long walks outside. Sometimes multiple times a day. It’s easy to take meditative walks, but it sure is hard as fuck to meditate in the same space that you sleep and work in all day.
Anxiety is a side effect of an overstimulated mind. Learning to do nothing is essential in order to find peace of mind.
It’s not that being busy is bad. It’s the fact that you feel like you need to fill your void with busyness, that is bad. If you were told that nothing matters in life, would you still be this busy?
Because, honey—nothing matters in life. Whether you act upon your anxieties or not, it doesn’t matter. It won’t affect the course of the universe, and it surely won’t affect you a whole lot. Life doesn’t make you anxious, your thoughts do.
Intermittent periods of idleness nurture your creativity. Don’t be busy all the time.
We have an endless supply of creativity in us, but it will run short if we occupy its space with clutter. Creativity thrives in boredom—that’s why we tend to get our best ideas in the shower.
I believe that creative work is only going to become more indispensable. It’s the one thing that we can’t produce en-masse. All jobs can be replaceable except those that originate from the mind and the mind itself. Maybe it’s a naïve assumption, but it doesn’t change the fact that creativity is how I make sense of the world.
If mental well-being is not important enough to make you consider slowing then, then perhaps you would do it for the sake of creativity. If not for yourself, then for your work.