Longing for Emptiness
Photo by Toa Heftiba/Unsplash
Good Mood

Longing for Emptiness

How to Avoid Overstimulation
Aleksandra Kozłowska
time 13 minutes

I’m sitting at my desk, trying to work on this article. It’s quarter past ten. Outside, the sky is blue. Next to me, coffee is steaming. The cats are fed and they’re now basking in the sun. What an idyllic scene! Soon, however, it gets disrupted by a grinding (or rather whirring) noise coming from a lawnmower. Then, outside our apartment block, a car alarm goes off and an ambulance siren starts whining. I close the window and get back to work.

Wait . . . yesterday, I finished reading The Break—a novel by Katherena Vermette, a Canadian writer of Métis descent. I feel like I should learn more about Ojibwe. Information is falling out of the internet like crisps from a torn bag. I jump between links, trying to remember names, maps, surnames and symbols. After reading about the First Nations, I look at an article on herbs that were supposedly used by Native Americans to boost immunity. 

I need to stop: I’m supposed to write. My piece is due on Friday and I’m still far behind. OK, just a quick look at Facebook and I’m getting back to work. My friends from Kraków might have reached out. Well, they haven’t, but I got invited to a reading and received a petition calling for environmental education. This is extremely important and I should sign it right away! But I also want to read it carefully to understand what exactly they’re calling for. The state of this planet is deteriorating rapidly and an apocalypse is looming on the horizon. I scroll through my newsfeed nervously. I like some posts and ignore others; make a comment and share an article. Going through the posts, I come across ads (oh, nice bird pattern hooded sweatshirt). Already anxious, I check my emails.

Three hours later, I’m fuming. Information is running through my head. I know only slightly more about Ojibwe than in the morning. Mad at myself and guilt-ridden, I head to the kitchen. The cookies should be around here somewhere . . . Yes, I’m fully aware that this is an unhealthy habit—I skipped breakfast and I’m now going to devour carbs! But, oh well, this is what


You’ve reached your free article’s limit this month. You can get unlimited access to all our articles and audio content with our digital subscription. If you have an active subscription, please log in.


Also read:

Take Your Brain for a Walk
Illustration by Karyna Piwowarska

Take Your Brain for a Walk

How to Have a Happy Head
Magdalena Salik

It performs nearly 40 million operations a second and has a tendency to control everything. In addition, it is stubborn and, since the Pleistocene era, has not changed its habits: persistently fantasizing about the bad things that might befall us. It’s worth knowing how to calm our minds so that we can rest from worries and overstimulation.

The most complex machine on Earth looks like a giant walnut. It is an unappetizing grey colour and has the consistency of jelly. It weighs just over one kilogram. It performs 38 million operations a second but, being an environmentally-friendly product, it consumes barely 12.6 Watts per hour (way less than the weakest lightbulb). Moreover, it uses exclusively green energy – it is powered by oxygen and glucose.

Continue reading