30 Days of Gratitude – Day #9, The Joy of Nothing


Continuing with my 30 Days of Gratitude, I am thankful for the ability to be happy with silence, quiet, relaxing, and not doing anything.

Day #9 – Appreciating that sometimes doing nothing accomplishes much.

Lisa and I laid out plans for Saturday, and we got very few of them done … but we were certainly not idle! We were shopping and planning, and discussing, and online searching, and dealing with all kinds of things related to ourselves, kids, money, colleges, family and so on.

But in the morning we sat together for a while and just enjoyed sitting, being together, drinking coffee, having the dogs with us, and relaxing.

Relaxing is not easy in today’s world – Danielle had a post last week where she talked about how not being stressed and overwhelmed actually made her feel worse, in spite of other stuff she was dealing with. And as I predicted in a comment – many people agreed with her. I will say it again – that is neither good nor ‘normal’, though I think it is all too common. Relaxing is a lost art it seems, but very important.

This morning there was a great article with some quotes about doing nothing, here are a few:

There is more to life than increasing its speed. — Mohandas K. Gandhi

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” —
Chinese Proverb

“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” — Benjamin Franklin

“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.” — Richard Carlson

“You have to allow a certain amount of time in which you are doing nothing in order to have things occur to you, to let your mind think.” — Mortimer Adler

And of course, Winnie the Pooh has this to say:

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” — Pooh’s Little Instruction Book

And while we didn’t relax by any stretch of the imagination this weekend, there is an element of stress removal just being together with Lisa and having fun wandering the Bed Bath and Beyond or whatever. I’ll take it.

How do you do with doing nothing?

11 thoughts on “30 Days of Gratitude – Day #9, The Joy of Nothing

  1. I don’t do well with “nothing” when it is forced upon me. But I try to incorporate some “nothing” time into my days and at least for a few hours on the weekends (Saturday mornings). Then I have to go out and conquer the world, but for that amount of time, I get to just be.

    • “I don’t do well with “nothing” when it is forced upon me.”

      haha – I am not sure ANYONE does! I mean, sitting for an extra delay at the doctor? Thankfully I always have at least smartphone and tablet with me … 🙂

  2. I have a hard time with doing nothing, but I have learned that its really important to find time to relax. I can usually spend a few hours on Sunday mornings doing nothing and it feels great…but after a few hours I start to feel like I need to start doing something again. Other times when I am ok with doing nothing are on vacation and on snow days!

    • I think as Suz said trying to ‘relax on command’ is never easy, but figuring out what works for you is critical. But a total inability to relax – even to sit and watch a movie – is really not good.

  3. I loved the quote “Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.” — Richard Carlson This truly has become such a normal thing that I rarely can remember a time when my life didn’t have a great amount of stress attached to it! However, this weekend I was proud of myself, I took a long bath while catching up on a tv show I missed during the week, it was 45 minutes of pure relaxation, which was so needed and appreciated. I know I can’t do that all the time, but it was amazing!

    • Totally get what you are saying – Lisa and I had so much fun watching the whole Harry Potter movie sequence on ABC Family last month (even though we own most on DVD) … it was idle, mind-free, together time that was well spent 🙂

      Of course, the fact that we can just leave the boys to take care of their homework and so on is very different than your reality 😉

  4. I’m not actually sure I even remember the last time I did nothing. I’m not counting the day after a long run when I’m recovering because the whole long run thing probably defeats the “nothing”
    I need to get better at relaxing, that’s for sure 🙂

  5. I love doing nothing and I admit- hence the name “Slacker”. These days there is always something to do though. I have to take a mandatory two weeks off soon and I am afraid I might itch right out of my skin, I have never been away from work that long.

  6. Pingback: 30 Days of Gratitude Revisited | Running Around the Bend

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