Why Staring Into Space Could Be Good For You
When we were children, we might have been told off by teachers or parents for sitting and gazing out of the window. We are trained from an early age to be demonstratively productive, whether that’s studying, working, or taking part in active hobbies such as sports or crafts.
Sitting looking out of the window is usually seen by others as a sign of laziness, inattentiveness, and generally of not being on the ball and ready to tackle life. However, have we been getting it all wrong? Here’s why taking some time to stare out the window may actually help our mental health.
Philosophers such as Plato have long written about the importance of reflection and introspection. When we look out of the window, psychologists believe that we are rarely just taking in the view. Most of the time, it’s one that we’ve seen a hundred times already, and unless something dramatic is happening, it is not what is really holding our focus.
Instead, we are listening to our inner selves, and connecting with our deeper thoughts, daydreams, and creativity. This is not a place that is easy to connect to in our homes or offices, where the demands of the everyday tasks of life are always lying in wait or at our heels.
It is sometimes only by turning away from this treadmill, even if only for a few minutes, that the solution to a problem or a great creative idea can come to us. The problem is, we are often conditioned to feel guilty about such quiet spells of contemplation, because we are being passive rather than active, which has a negative stigma.
Psychologists believe that zoning out for some time every day is a good practice to boost our mental health, and in the long run, it could actually boost our performance and productivity at work. You never know, you might even stumble on that great idea for a best-selling book that has been eluding you for years!
Even if you have no particular creative aspirations, just letting your mind wander freely rather than focus on set tasks for a while can have a positive effect on your stress levels. The Metro reports that staring outside at the sky can even be incorporated into a mindfulness meditation routine.
The theory is that the sky, like the sea, is a natural phenomenon that is so vast that it puts our problems into perspective, and makes us realise that our existence is small and fleeting. Far from being depressing, this can bring a new sense of lightness and purpose to our lives, and help us to look at seemingly intractable problems from a different angle.
Mindfulness techniques can take some time and patience before you begin to feel the benefit. However, they have helped many people to overcome difficulties in their personal or professional lives, and are used by everyone from elite athletes to CEOs.
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