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How the Dutch Step Back From Stress

By Sandy Schroeder

I am always looking for new natural ways to shed stress. I think I was born with some sort of magnet that attracts more than my share of stress. If you can relate, you may be interested in's look at the Dutch's newest technique, called niksen.

Niksen is a Dutch word that means doing nothing. They describe it as "putting your brain on low-power mode."

To me, and perhaps many of you, dialing brainpower way back is a little hard to grasp. Most of us run fast 24/7. We are usually tuned in and moving every morning. My to-do list is as much a part of my morning as my two cups of hot black coffee.  

Work, family, and friends all applaud the efforts and seem to have their own nonstop grooves going full tilt too. When I get together with friends, everybody has a story about project size, hours worked and sleep lost, but recently I have seen a new trend. I have run into more and more people endorsing the Dutch approach to slow down and do nothing for short intervals here and there.

Surprise Benefits of Niksen

People trying the Dutch approach report these benefits.

  • More creativity
  • Better overall perception and judgment
  • Better problem-solving abilities
  • Enhanced ability to interact with others
  • More actual enjoyment of daily work

Give Niksen a Whirl

If those benefits sound tempting, niksen, may be worth a try. It is really a cousin to mindfulness meditation, except it goes a step farther. Instead of being present in the moment, niksen means making time to just be. The idea is to unleash your mind and pause your activities.

Forget all of those details you have been clinging to for dear life. No goals are needed for this exercise. Find a comfortable nook at home or at work, or head out to a nearby park or spot by the water and just let go of all of the deadlines/work/rush. Instead, take a complete break to give your mind and body a big dose of stress-relief.

Later, when you are back on the job, or at home, you may feel the difference with less tension, more mental clarity and more understanding and appreciation of everything. Laughter may be almost automatic. New creative approaches may start to flow again. 

When others dwell on their long hours and project deadlines, try not to be smug. If it works the way it is supposed to, you will feel better and be accomplishing more with less effort.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Irvine, Calif.

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