Niksen is a Swedish term, which means “doing nothing.” It’s when you sit in a chair and breathe quietly by yourself for five minutes. It’s when you are driving in silence, without talking on the phone. It’s when you are going for a walk in nature with nothing but the sounds of the birds and the rustle of the trees, or sitting outside on the veranda all by yourself.
The fast-paced nature of our society and the ability to have immediate feedback and interaction with the world through our phone means there is very little time in our day when we are not stimulated, engaged or “busy.” Even when we don’t need to be or aren’t doing anything that is yielding a specific outcome (like scrolling through Facebook), we are “doing.” Our brain however was designed to have down time to process what we have taken in and to have time to compartmentalise all the data and store it in the appropriate place. If you are getting enough sleep, this partly happens then, but we also need time during the day for this.
When was the last time you simply sat down without your phone or any stimulus and let your brain just be quiet? When was the last time you let yourself be in silence without any music, news, radio or media interrupting? When you stand in the line at the grocery store or getting a coffee, do you stand there idly, or scroll through your phone? The built-in times during the day when we previously used to allow our brain to “just be,” have now been cluttered with stimuli. In response, we all need a little bit of Niksen.
This time is very good for your brain and mind. It is helpful in reducing stress levels and fostering enhanced mental health. It allows you to be just with yourself, and promotes improved self-confidence, reducing the fear we sometimes have of our own mind and thoughts.
The next time you have the opportunity for a few quiet moments, you are out for a walk, driving or waiting for your kids at school pick up, resist the urge to pick up your phone. Instead, just let yourself do nothing. Breathe deeply and fully, like we practice in Pilates and give yourself a positive compliment. Engage in Niksen.