We can only have one thought at a time, so make sure it’s a good one.
With so much to prioritise, and so much that divides our attention every day, our overworked brains feel like they’re held in a vice – and we’re the ones turning the screw.
When we can learn to let go of the must-do’s and meetings from time to time, the urgent and the mundane, we uncover a purer clarity of thought. This happens best when we remove ourselves from repetitive and habitual distractions.
While research shows that it can actually take around 3 days for our brain to fully relax, below are 3 solutions that can help to reduce the strain on your over-worked brain day to day.
- Go For A Long Walk Or Run – Whenever I head for the hills, I immediately feel my eyes falling into rest as they look into the distance and the calm tranquillity of green. Stopping to take in the view, looking far into the distance, I’m reminded of meeting the Pashtun tribesmen of northern Pakistan as we headed home in 1988. They were proud mountain men, aloof, and with far-seeing eyes.
- Get In The Bath Or The Shower – 72% of people get creative ideas when bathing, because of the effect of being in and around water. Being in water induces a meditative state and engages the brain’s default mode network. Soaking in a steaming bath or being washed by a waterfall of water under the shower causes you to daydream in a way you wouldn’t when you remain focused on a particular task.
- Make Some Silence – I can see no better reason to be silent than the evocative words from Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence, and to pay attention to one important thought at a time:
‘Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence’
Putting aside everything except that one important thought gives our brain the creative space it craves.
Find your momentary retreat, somewhere where mindfulness comes naturally. A refuge, without feeling like you’re a refugee.
Wherever you go to, with new and different things to capture your curiosity, you will notice your brain relaxing and softening, the vice losing its grip, and the tightness around your brain beginning to slide away.
If you can, take yourself to somewhere beautiful, preferably where there’s no-one at all. This way you avoid the distracting energy and conversation of other people. Never under-estimate the power of spending time alone.
Oh, don’t forget – leave your phone behind!