The Dutch have a practice they call Niksen, derived from “niks doen,” which literally means “nothing-ing.” It involves purposefully engaging in doing absolutely nothing, embracing a state of aimlessness.
Think of it as a sanctioned daydreaming session.
Niksen entails gazing out the window and allowing your mind to wander wherever it pleases. Unlike mindfulness meditation, where you observe your thoughts or focus on your breath, Niksen is about simply existing. Just being there. There’s no effort to return to the present moment or to analyze your thoughts.
In Niksen, you’re just being. You take a pause, practice stillness, and let your gaze drift to the horizon. It’s about being wherever you are, whether sitting or standing, without any deliberate action. When thoughts arise, you let them pass without scrutiny, allowing them to come and go naturally.
As a stress-relief technique, Niksen is gaining popularity. Embracing idleness means disconnecting from the constant buzz of connectivity and the pressure of stress, anxiety, and depression. Studies show that allowing your mind to wander activates different parts of the brain, maybe even tapping into some hidden wisdom.
Give Niksen a shot, even if it’s just for a minute or two every now and then. It can provide a much-needed break during moments of tension and worry. These brief escapes can add richness and intrigue to your life, expanding your horizons beyond the everyday.