Idle moments and relaxation are that brief span of time, lasting for a few minutes or longer when we stop doing everything we’re doing and just let ourselves breathe slowly and focus, at least initially, on nothing in particular. These moments occur too infrequently in our fast-paced lives. They are a helpful antidote to the constant feeling of being driven that we experience throughout the day. They give us the opportunity to see and listen to what is going around us without feeling the need to react to what is happening. Thus these moments are different from “spacing out” where we lose contact with what is going on around us. These moments give us a sense of freedom. These are moments when may think about nothing in particular. On the other hand, when we have been thinking intensively about a problem and then choose to let go of that sense of struggle, what may happen is that the answer we have been seeking slowly forms in our consciousness, as has been shown to occur in research on the creative process. We may then experience the “aha” moment when suddenly we can see the connections to disparate pieces of data. Sometimes once you see the answer, it becomes hard to imagine how you didn’t see it all along.
Given the value of these moments, it seems to me to be a good idea to encourage children to have these moments and learn to enjoy them. Between the pressures to perform in various sectors of their lives and the media-driven frenzy to find about the most up-to-the-minute social event, today’s children don’t get to have many opportunities to just do nothing for a few minutes. Thus the adults in their lives might encourage them to enjoy these moments and learn to discover what lies on the other side of “I’m bored”. If you’re having difficulty with a child who expects you to fill up their every moment with something to do and are feeling stressed by this pressure, then perhaps talking to one of the STA therapists about child management issues might help you find some time for yourself.
If you would like to speak to a therapist about Idle Moments and Relaxation, please call Specialized Therapy Associates at 201-488-6678 to speak to an intake specialist to schedule an appointment.