The Lost Art of Doing Nothing

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The road to relaxation is littered with little breaks
Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves is nothing. The Dutch have a word for this form of active rest: niksen (which translates closely to “doing nothing”). It is a state of non-productivity—staring out a window, lying on the grass, closing our eyes, or listening to music—that can help decrease stress, improve health, inspire creativity, and more. But it’s harder than you think, and by no means a holy grail. In this fast-paced world our brains are not easily switched off. And for the Dutch, the word implies that you don’t just stand there empty-handed, but do something and live your best life!

In this charmingly illustrated guide, Dutch journalist Maartje Willems draws on a pool of interviews, studies, books, and films to teach us exactly how niksen can lead to a healthier way of living. In this book, readers will learn to:
  • Neither work nor browse, just chill
  • Take more breaks
  • Declutter your mind and truly slow down
  • Set aside social pressure to always be “productive”
  • Discover what lies on the other side of nothing
Following on the tail of hygge and lagom, the global phenomenon of niksen could be misunderstood as yet another promise for a better life. But niksen shows us that all this doing only adds up to more stress about why these so-called easy tools have not led to lasting happiness. This book reveals the lost art of a word that has been around for centuries, and helps us find a less stressful and more easygoing world.