It’s important to rest your brain. We all know this, right?
But do we take time to rest on a regular basis?
I’m not talking about needing to book a trip to a tropical island so you can lay out in the sun for a week.
I’m talking about taking time each day or week to unplug.
To do something other than worry about the next task.
Rest Your Brain aka Engage Your Default Mode
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I read an article for my Human Growth and Learning class that was fascinating to me about why it is important to rest your brain. It was about how the brain supposedly goes into this state called Default Mode (DM) when we “wakefully rest” or do things such as letting our mind wander (a la JD in Scrubs) or daydream. The DM Mode is engaged basically when we aren’t using our brain very much or responding to outward stimuli.
This state is thought to be needed kind of like we need sleep. When we are in the DM, our brain is piecing things together and making sense of situations, problems and life we have experienced but not yet been able to process. It’s like when you’re in the shower and you have an amazing idea, but you’re surprised because it’s not like you got into the shower so that would happen (or maybe you did. who knows.).
Unlike actually sleeping, daydreaming helps develop more social and emotional awareness, moral connotations and thoughts of the future self. Sounds like good stuff to me.
I read the article and just thought it was awesome that now I can be okay when I inevitably daydream during an occasional lecture.
I also thought about this today when I was getting down on myself for not having accomplished much this past weekend.
Remember…it is okay to rest!
Dave and I were able to take some rest on Saturday and it really was much needed. We literally sat on the couch for about 5 hours watching tv.
Last week was nuts. The unthinkable happened to us when someone decided to break into my car while I was in class, take my purse (just so no one asks…I don’t usually leave my purse in my car, but left it on accident rushing into class and I still can’t believe that I did that BUT I’m trying to focus my blame on the person who robbed me) and garage door opener, go to our home, open the garage and take thousands of dollars worth of tools, some of which were Dave’s dad’s that we were borrowing as we fix up our new home.
Thankfully no one (or cat!) was hurt, but that day and the rest of the week were a little rough. I had a pretty much constant stress headache. Needless to say, our brains needed a break and responded very positively to goofy tv shows and a full 8 hours of sleep.
The thing about me is that I always want to be productive. I’m not sure if it’s my perfectionism or caffeine intake that keeps me from sitting still for very long, but Dave can tell you how hard it is to get me to sit and watch one movie, let alone a movie and 4-5 episodes of a tv show.
This is why I need reminders to rest. Or just that the rest I accidentally took is really okay and it will benefit me in the long run.
10 Ways to Rest Your Brain
..aka have your brain go into Default Mode.
-Put your phone down and read a book. A fun book.
-Literally hide your phone so that you don’t see any notifications. (yep, this gets its own bullet)
-Go for a walk. Take a path that is familiar to you and let your mind wander a bit.
-Listen to some music and stare at the wall. (daydream!)
-Take a shower or a bath free from distractions. You know how people say they get their best ideas in the shower?
-Do some light gardening or routine lawn mowing.
-Journal about your feelings.
-Write a blog post. (like this one..reflecting on my life!)
-Watch something that doesn’t involve a lot of brain power, like something you’ve seen before a million times.
-Coloring. Am I the only one that still LOVES coloring?
-Get a massage. (Dave got me a giftcard for TWO massages for Christmas and I can’t wait to use them!)
Edit to add a bonus one: YOGA. If you do it right, your brain will be able to take a bit of a break and it will likely wander a bit because no one is perfectly zen. 😉
Ways NOT to Rest Your Brain
-Watching a Thriller/Drama/Action movie.
-Doing homework. (sorry, homework!)
-Checking your e-mail.
-Driving to work during rush hour.
So tell me…
Do you give your brain time to rest?
How hard is it for you to unplug from your phone or devices? (Be honest! I personally have a very hard time.)
Linking up to: Running with Spoons