Your Brain Needs Vacations Too!

Your Brain Needs Vacations Too!

We live in world obsessed with productivity. We are constantly trying to squeeze in more and more amount ofwork in less and less amount of time. We keep telling ourselves that ourpossibilities are endless, and our capacities infinite.

Guess what, your brain disagrees. It is an organ after all, and no matter how far it stretches itself, there are limits to its capacities. Your brain needs to rest too, just like your body. And when you don’t give it rest, it can straight up malfunction and create problems for you. So why don’t you give it some much-needed rest over this holiday season?

Here’s how taking a break is good for your brain

  • It increases creativity
  • – When we are working, we are dealing with a huge amount of information that needs to be processed and utilized in the right way. But staying in this mode for a long period of time actually harms your productivity and creativity, because your brain becomes oversaturated with exposure to all this information and becomes slower at processing them. When you take a break from work, you allow your brain to relax and wander in different directions. Also, the inflow of information slows down, so your brain can process them at a slower pace as well. And that is a crucial condition for creative thinking and the linking of apparently unconnected ideas.
  • Improves Decision making –Oversaturation of brain is bad for your decision-making skills, because of the slower processing time. When your brain is dealing with too much information, all your functions like working memory and reasoning skills slow down, making it difficult to adequately assess a situation and make smart decisions. Unwinding your brain is crucial to the ability of decision making.
  • Relieves stress – When we are focused or under pressure, our brain functions in the “fight or flight” response mode. Our bodies begin to release hormones like cortisol and epinephrine to prepare us for these situations, but overexposure to these hormones also cause an inflammatory response in our brain which we call stress. This response kills off neurons in our brain and prevents new nerve cells from forming, which can lead to serious diseases in the long run. When you take a vacation and turn your back to your stressors like work or daily chores, your brain comes out of the “prepared” mode, and the harmful hormones subside, nullifying the effects of stress on your body and mind.
  • Good for your mental health – Chronic stress is the biggest reason behind the rise of Anxiety disorders and clinical depression in our world today. Studies have pointed out that people who do not take vacations are three times more likely to end up being diagnosed with depression or anxiety than those who do. Taking a break from a stressfulenvironment and engaging in things that you enjoy produces endorphin in yourbody, a neurotransmitter connected to happiness and intimacy. Researcherssuggest, just a two week vacation per year can produce enough endorphin in yourbrain to counteract the toxicity of stress.

Maximize your vacation benefits

  • Unplug fully – whether you are just taking a break at home or traveling, don’t take your work with you. This may sound difficult in this era of 24X7 connectivity but if you are still thinking about work when you are break, you are not actually giving your brain a break. Be present in the moment, and mindful of your surroundings.
  • Stay away from holiday stress – You are taking a holiday precisely because your brain needs some rest, so if you start stressing about the holiday itself there’s not much point in it. Divide responsibilities like bookings and itineraries among family or group members, make room for things you truly enjoy, and most importantly, don’t try to packin too much. Let your brain and body breathe.
  • Do something new – Exploring things or places that you have not experienced before really rejuvenates your brain. So whether at home or travel, take this opportunity to engage your brain inexperiences that are different from your regular environment and unexpected. You will return with a clearer and sharper head, and a lot more energy.

Conclusion

Work is important, but not so important as to break our brains for it. Take time off, and disconnect. Your brain will thank you for it.

Free 3-Part Brain Training by Jim Kwik:

How To Learn Faster & Remember Names

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