The duty of doing nothing

August is approaching, the month of holidays par excellence in the Mediterranean cradle, and with it the long hours of warm days occupied with... nothing. Or not. Allowing oneself to disconnect is a luxury that very few can afford in a society that idealises productivity and stigmatises free time even during the longed-for holidays.

However, letting the mind wander uncontrollably is the perfect recipe for boosting creativity and productivity. A walk in the woods, a nap on the beach, contemplating the landscape from a bench on the sidewalk... distraction is an experience that all human beings share and has been the subject of study for centuries, along with the ability to focus thought, in the search for the perfect balance.

We live surrounded by stimuli, to the point of considering overstimulation as a positive element in our lives. It is not by chance that the excess of activities and the lack of time stand out as the main cause of stress.

However, the brain is not prepared to manage all that information and can only pay attention to a limited number of things at a time. According to Daniel Levitine, author of the book "The Organized Mind" and professor of psychology at McGill University (Canada) with data overload, the ability to focus attention is diminished by constantly jumping from one topic to another, resulting in mental fatigue that no night's sleep can solve.

When, on the other hand, people let the mind wander, it engages in one of the most interesting processes of intelligence: creation. One of the key activities for personal and social development.

As seems to be the case with everything, virtue lies between the two systems of attention that the human mind is capable of alternating: the first, positive attention, consists of focusing the mind on a task and avoiding all kinds of distractions; while the second, negative attention, is what appears when the mind is wandering. These two systems work in reverse: when one is on, the other is off.

During moments of wandering, the mind, contrary to what one might think, continues to work in the subconscious. It is during these moments when what has been learned is understood, newly acquired data is consolidated and the most important information is memorized; or when the solution to a problem that we may have been dragging around for days is "magically" solved.

It is also during these moments that the mind rests and resets. When self-identity is affirmed, human behavior is understood and ethical codes are generated. Because as the popular saying goes, "time heals all things and changes all things".

Therefore, during this month we do what we preach and we go to rest, to recharge our batteries and to do nothing! to return full of ideas and news to share with you.

Happy summer, happy rest!