Stress is all around us and can take over our lives. But what if there was a way you could fight back against it? Niksen might be a new word to you, but it’s one that you should get familiar with. This is an approach to deal with stress, and hecticity, the way the Dutch do.
Niksen has to do with the ability to relax your body and mind to deal with stress. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, and things are out of control. Niksen allows you to get into the right mindset to fight all of this off.
This article will look at what Niksen is all about, and the role it can play in helping calm all the hecticity around you.
Where Does Niksen Come From?
If you were a fan of the show Seinfeld, you know that they developed it as a show about “nothing”. This is the way to look at Niksen as it is a Dutch word that means: “do nothing“. It seems overly simple, but it can be a powerful new approach to your life. The concept has been explored to combat stress and burnout from work and life.
The idea with Niksen is to take the concept of nothing and use it to combat stress. This nothing can be something as simple as listening to music, looking at your surroundings, or just hanging around. What this approach is serving is a quiet distraction from the bombardment of daily life. It’s not about being oblivious and tuning everything out but helping separate yourself from too much of it.
The Dangers Of Stress
Stress is the silent killer and is responsible for an unprecedented amount of sickness and health issues. A little stress is ok, but too much can cause some long-term damage. Stress exists as a survival mechanism and you need it in little bursts. In the past, this would be to fight off a predator – today, it may be to jump out of the way of a speeding Uber.
Chronic, long-term stress causes massive inflammation in the body and we can see this inflammation as the root of many diseases. Among other conditions, chronic stress can cause:
- Heart disease
- Certain cancers
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and when you look at all the missed days of work because of sickness, it’s hurting the economy too.
Dealing With All This Stress
Exercise and meditation are great ways to help combat stress, but Niksen may help even more. Niksen helps get you into a better mindset where you may not have to deal with stress, as it won’t be able to impact you.
As usual, the K.I.S.S. approach makes this effective. Keep It Simple Stupid allows for Niksen to be easily approached. When burnout and stress hit the simple act of just sitting and looking out a window allows you to remove yourself from it.
Think of Niksen like a relaxation technique and this will help you approach it more effectively. It’s about removing yourself from stressful thoughts and, basically, allowing yourself to daydream. Niksen is about taking yourself out of a stressful environment and not doing anything.
This is something to build up to as trying to do nothing for an hour will not be possible at first – or practical. Instead, take 5-10 minutes to mentally check out from a stressful situation and just be present in the moment. You can listen to music, daydream, or just stare out the window and be aware of your surroundings.
While you’re practicing Niksen, it’s important to not let your thoughts wander back to stressful things such as projects, chores, or requirements. When you catch yourself thinking about problems, you need to regroup and focus on the nothing.
There Is Always Something Looking To Distract You
We live in a 24/7 environment where there is always something vying for our attention. Even the things that should be there for our enjoyment can become burdens. An example is all the different content options out there for entertainment.
With so many shows and series that can be binged watched, it feels like you have to consume everything at once. But you don’t. Those things are there for your enjoyment and there’s no assignment that you “have to finish this show” or “start that new series” right away.
When you add these modern distractions on to regular life stresses, you can see how we live in a perpetual stressful environment. When you practice Niksen, this means really removing yourself. No scrolling on your phone, not watching mindless TV, just let your mind calm down and focus. We are so overstimulated that we forget to quiet our mind and just exist.
Niksen differs from “mindfulness” which has more of a focus on your thoughts. This is about removing as many thoughts as you can and allowing your mind to take a breather.
In the Netherlands, like many other places, burnout is becoming very real. The Dutch are being encouraged to add Niksen into their daily routine. This allows you for a designated time to be free from any commitments or obligations.
Final Thoughts On Niksen
Niksen is an unusual approach. It may seem a little simple, but that’s where its effectiveness seems to lie. Handling stress comes down to this simple approach and stepping away from the hecticity for a moment. Doing nothing is not lazy or counterproductive, it’s a practical remedy to help your mental health.
Those who practice Niksen report boosts in creativity as it allows the mind to wander and discover new things. It comes down to distracting your mind from the onslaught of hecticity that comes at us each day.
So, whether you take a walk in the woods, or stare into a fish tank, you will allow yourself a mental reset. Allowing yourself to do nothing, and not feel guilty, can be the secret to fight stress.
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