How does Niksen help students deal with their study stress? Source: Stijn te Strake/Unsplash

To some students, the concept of Niksen may sound like a dream.

Related to the idea of ‘doing nothing’, Niksen is a Dutch verb taken from the Dutch word ‘Niks’, which literally means ‘nothing’.


Adapt to the norms of Niksen. Source: Toa Heftiba/Unsplash

How does Niksen help students destress?

In her book, Niksen: The Dutch Art of Doing Nothing, author Carolien Janssen tells us that in order to capture the essence of Niksen, we need to chill out, sit down and turn off any form of distraction.

“Niksen is a stress-reducing and mindful practice in the Netherlands. Practical examples are staring out the window, sitting on the couch or lying in bed.

“Niksen helps us to slow down and celebrate the moment of not achieving, similar to mindfulness, yet you don’t need anything special in order to do nothing,” she explains.

According to Ruut Veenhoven, a professor and sociologist at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, mindfulness is about being present in the moment, “Niksen is more about carving out time to just be.

“We should have moments of relaxation, and relaxation can be combined with easy, semi-automatic activity, such as knitting. One aspect of the ‘art of living’ is to find out what ways of relaxing fit you best. There’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach; rather, you’ll discover which behaviours are most effective for you through trial and error,” he tells Time.

So, during a stressful exam period or a pressured phase of university life, try and take a few reflective moments for yourself.

If you’re stuck in loud or busy shared accommodation, go for a peaceful stroll around campus or to a nearby park. By perching on a bench or the grass, you can immerse yourself in the natural serenity of life and not feel so boxed-in by looming deadlines or bossy peers.


Will you start to practice Niksen? Source: Freestocks/Unsplash

A technique that draws you away from social media

Niksen also helps to draw students away from the screen.

Replacing rushed moments of scrolling through Facebook feeds or endless hours immersed in the world of Instagram, Niksen teaches learners to slow down, disconnect and place their needs first.

There’s often a strong sense of guilt associated with the practice of ‘doing nothing’, with many fearing that it would be a waste of productive time.

But after integrating Niksen, you may well find your days more productive as you’ve taken time to destress and realign your mind to your academic goals and ambitions.

This may not be a viable study concept for all, and some students will find it difficult to concentrate on Niksen.

But if you have a spare moment this week, why not give it a go and see if it helps you calm your mind and to focus on yourself?

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