The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

· September 28, 2015

Not long ago, a 4-year-old child asked me and a few other adults to “enjoy some time laying in bed.” As we all know, a 4-year-old can have more power than four adults combined… so sure enough, we found ourselves all together laying there, doing absolutely nothing…just enjoying ourselves.

Sometimes, someone or something has to give you a tap on the shoulder and make you realize that the way we rush through life doesn’t lead us anywhere, doesn’t makes us happier, and doesn’t gain us anything. After all, can you put a price on an adorable child asking you to lay in bed with them and do nothing?


From this child I learned “il dolce far niente” “the joy of doing nothing.” This is amazing therapy for eliminating everyday stress that we sometimes don’t even know we have, like when we’re running to catch the bus before it leaves, jumping out of bed to go somewhere or eating too quickly because we have to get back to work.

So let’s leave all of that to one side, and enjoy “doing nothing.” Take time everyday to disconnect from everyday life, your worries, the coming and going, the rush. Do they really make any sense when all they’re doing is graying your complexion, speeding up your heart and leaving you feeling like a wilting plant by the end of the day?

When we rest, the right hemisphere of our brain is activated. You know, the one that controls imagination, creativity and enjoyment. Do you want to miss out on that? Personally, I think the right side of our brain is great.

How to embrace “Il dolce far niente”

  • Lay in bed and just be!
  • Go to the park, lay in the grass, enjoy the sun, the smell of the grass and the sounds of the birds.
  • Sit on a rock near the sea and feel the waves on your skin, how the fresh air seems to open your mind and, along with the smell of the ocean, opens your soul and senses to make you feel closer to the authentic meaning of life.
  • Go to the woods and hug a tree, and whether you’re alone or with company, you’ll feel like you’re truly a part of nature.
  • Lay on the couch and do nothing, except maybe listening to beautiful music like this.
  • Learn to meditate. Meditating is as simple as leaving our mind a blank, and breathing deeply as we do so. Numerous studies have shown that habitual meditation is capable of changing our cerebral structure, making it stronger against depression, stress and anxiety.
  • Forget about what your “supposed to be doing.” No! What you’re supposed to be doing is “il dolce far niente”.
  • Truly enjoy your vacations. Turn off your cellphone, cook less, and don’t get into pointless arguments. Vacations and summer heat are definitely something you want to enjoy with a few daily “dolce farniente” moments.
  • Sleep more than ever. Give yourself a weekend to catch up on all that lost sleep. Stop thinking that you’re lazy; sleeping is amazing for your mind and body.

Remember, you’re the only person that can truly take care of yourself. So love and spoil yourself, and don’t let anyone or anything deprive you of your sleep and health. Sit back and realize “il dolce far niente.”