Do you remember this A A Milne saying made trendy in the 1960s? I often talk to patients about sitting and doing nothing. And yet this piece of research from the Harvard Review (Social Psychology) in 2014 showed that we would rather do anything than sit and think.
In 11 studies, they found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.