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An Epidemic of Restlessness

I know you are busy, perhaps, even busier than you should be, so I am not going to bend your ear for too long.  A quick little point for you to consider: a permission to rest makes all the difference between restlessness and restfulness.  If you are feeling restless, it’s because you are trying to be productive and you are running out of ways to keep yourself busy.  So, as a result, you feel restless, and that is psychologically tiring.  What am I proposing?  Something very simple: ease up on yourself.  These are very unusual times.  Allow yourself to just rest, to just do nothing, perhaps, even to just sit (and meditate (after all, the famous Buddhist meditation technique of zazen translates as “just sit;” how wonderfully frivolous, huh?!)).

Now, you might say: “Wait a second, buddy!  I don’t have the time to just sit and do nothing.”  If that is really so, then this point doesn’t apply to you.  I get it: you might be tele-commuting and parenting and home-schooling and working hard to co-exist with your chosen significant others.  Now, that is a lot of work, and restlessness might not be your problem.  But if you are one of the lucky (or unlucky) ones who have nothing to do, then you might be suffering from the surplus of time, and from its pesky companion of restlessness (also known as “acedia”).

I hear you again object: “But I don’t want to just waste time doing nothing!”  Ok, see if I can make this one last point on the way out: time is to be wasted.  Time, they say, is money.  But time is a different kind of money.  Money you can save.  Money you can leave behind as inheritance.  Time can’t be saved or bequeathed to your children.  So, time, when in abundance, must be wasted … in whatever restful ways that please you.

So, rest, my fellow minds!

resource of possible relevance: The Sixth Battle of Acedia – Meaninglessness as a Mid-Life Opportunity (Somov, 2017)

An Epidemic of Restlessness

Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and the author of 7 mindfulness-based self-help books. Several of his books have been translated into Chinese, Dutch & Portuguese. Somov is on the Advisory Board for the Mindfulness Project (London, UK). Somov has conducted numerous workshops on mindfulness-related topics and appeared on a number of radio programs. Somov's book website is and his practice website is

Marla Somova, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the co-author of "Smoke Free Smoke Break" (2011).

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APA Reference
Somov, P. (2020). An Epidemic of Restlessness. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 3 Apr 2020
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