Five reasons why we should all learn how to do nothing

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A sloth takes it easy.

The idea that “doing nothing” is a skill to be learned might seem bewildering at first. Surely it’s just a question of stopping doing anything else? Yet that’s far easier said than done. It’s long been recognised – by everyone from the Buddha to John Keats – that “doing” can be a kind of compulsion, an addiction we only fail to acknowledge as such because society praises us for it. Indeed, learning how to do nothing might be the most vital skill for thriving in our frenetic, overwhelmed, always-connected culture. Here are five key reasons why:

1. “Doing nothing” isn’t really doing nothing

Assuming you’re not dead, you’re always doing something – even if you’re just savouring the pleasures of idleness. (To psychologists, such savouring is far from passive: it’s a learnable set of skills for relishing the moment, for example, by focusing on each of your senses in turn.)…

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