The lost art of Doing Nothing (Niksen) by Maartje Willems

Niksen - Lost art of doing Nothing

The Lost Art of Doing Nothing is a book by Maartje Willems that explores the benefits of taking time to relax and disconnect from the constant busyness of modern life. It is based on a Dutch technique called Niksen often used to unwind and relax.

It advocates the importance of taking breaks and engaging in activities that allow us to relax and recharge, rather than constantly striving for productivity and achievement, the biggest suffering of modern man!

Maartje Willems argues that in today’s society, there is an overwhelming pressure to be constantly productive and achieve success in all aspects of life. This can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and burnout, as we struggle to meet the demands of our busy schedules. She encourages readers to embrace Niksen, the idea of doing nothing and to make time for leisure and relaxation as a way to improve overall well-being and happiness.

Throughout the book, Maartje shares personal anecdotes and research to support her arguments. She discusses the benefits of Niksen, such as improved creativity, better sleep, and reduced stress. She also offers practical advice on how to make time for relaxation, including suggestions for activities to try and ways to prioritize self-care.

Niksen may seem similar to meditation or mindfulness.

Niksen and meditation are similar in that they both involve taking time to relax and focus the mind, but they differ in the specific techniques and goals of the practices. Meditation is typically a more structured practice that involves focusing the mind on a specific object, thought, or activity in order to improve concentration, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote a sense of calm and well-being. There are many different types of meditation, and practitioners may use techniques such as controlled breathing, visualization, or repetition of a mantra to help them focus and quiet their minds.

Niksen, on the other hand, is more about intentionally doing nothing in particular, rather than focusing the mind on a specific task. It is literally doing nothingat all!

Niksen is similar to mindfulness in that it involves taking time to focus on the present moment and be aware of one’s surroundings and experiences. However, niksen is more about intentionally doing nothing in particular, rather than paying attention to a specific object or activity. While mindfulness may involve a more structured and purposeful approach to relaxation, niksen is more about letting go of goals and allowing oneself to be spontaneous and relaxed.

Both niksen and mindfulness can be beneficial for stress management and overall well-being, but they differ in their specific techniques and goals.

Overall, The Lost Art of Doing Nothing is an engaging and thought-provoking read that encourages readers to take a step back from their busy lives and make time for relaxation and rejuvenation. It is a valuable resource for anyone looking to reduce stress and improve their overall well-being.

While reading the book I was often taken back into my childhood wherein I have unintentionally been in a state of nothingness. In the present day even children do not have the leisure of doing nothing.

I am not sure if and how I would be able to imbibe this book. The closest I go to Niksen is while meditating, but that too is a task and does not entail the meaning of Niksen. With days filled with back to back tasks, Niksen does not seem to be coming by easily.

Do read the book and share what you think of it and if and how are you going to adapt Niksen into your life.

I read the book on audible ( rather heard). You may buy it here on Amazon.


I am a health enthusiast, healer and an artist and apart for these most importantly i am mommy to an angel and wife to a gentleman. I use to teach management graduates but post my daughter happened my time at home gave me chance to explore my other passions. Now as she is 5 year old I am still not ready to leave her and return to work.

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