An Ode to Nothingness: Using AI to Analyze the Shift to Self-Care and Mindfulness

Quilt.AI
Quilt.AI
Published in
3 min readApr 25, 2023

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Satirical women’s magazine Reductress recently announced the release of a brand new book that takes on a subject that looms over many of today’s young workers: Toxic Productivity.

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The collection of comedic essays capitalizes on a common desire among consumers today: to poke fun at hustle culture, the attention economy, and other contributors to stress and burn out at the workplace and home.

It’s also evidence of a larger trend within the public imagination — one outcome of a massive push away from harmful habits and mindless work in favor of mindfulness, work-life balance, and other wellness practices.

This trend has occasionally been termed the “Anti-Work” movement, frequently associated with quiet quitting and the so-called Great Resignation. But, that only encompasses a portion of this complicated cultural moment.

Concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, the oncoming recession, and the harmful effects of social media have weighed heavily on everyone and have left many in search of more time to prioritize themselves. To survive during these fast-paced, troubling times, people are beginning to slow down their lives and take time out of their days to rest and recharge.

In short, people are looking for a little more “nothing” in their lives.

To tackle this widespread culture shift, we at Quilt.AI decided to use Sphere to analyze the causes and effects of the move away from unrestrained productivity. Using more than 3.2 million unique searches, 50 keywords, and 800 Twitter Posts, we broke down the ways in which people are disconnecting and withdrawing and even took the time to show how brands can transform themselves to keep up with the times.

Here are our results:

#NOMO, No Problem: Slowing down to slow the burn

To respond to growing frustrations with toxic productivity, economic worries, and the attention economy, many consumers have decided to do… nothing. However, doing “nothing” is really more of an active choice to avoid the persistent stressors of work, life, and online connectivity by practicing healthy alternatives.

Our analysis has identified many of the top alternatives discussed online: mindfulness, grounding, monotasking, and #NOMO (no more fear of missing out) have all made a splash as healthy practices in a stressful world:

Sphere also uncovered the common association that the “nothingness” discourse has with nature, meditation, ‌and self-care on Twitter:

Users who have taken time out of their day to do “nothing” have reported, among other things, being more mindful of their happiness, more energized from nature, and more thankful for employers who have respected their mental health needs:

Most importantly, though, tweets about stepping back from the chaos of everyday life have a comparatively high approval — evidence of the positive impact that doing nothing has had for overstressed workers and consumers.

Download the full report to find out more.

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Quilt.AI
Quilt.AI

We are a culturally rooted, AI powered insights firm that converts millions of data signals into human understanding. Visit us: https://quilt.ai