by Tracey Pollack
Are you feeling overworked, overwhelmed and overstressed? Then your brain is overloaded and really needs a break. Studies have shown that giving your brain a breather is one of the smartest things you can do for your mental well-being and physical health. Along with lowering stress, lessening pain and reducing your chance of developing neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, giving your mind some R&R helps you be more creative and productive. While this idea may boggle your mind, it actually makes sense because turning off your brain allows it to recharge. When you let your mind relax, it’s able to focus on giving you new ideas and access to creativity that leave you inspired and refreshed. If your brain is always on and you’re at your wit’s end, add these “brain breaks” to your day to improve your state of mind.
- Head Out into Nature
To get out of your own head, get out in the great outdoors. Being outside, breathing fresh air and paying attention to your surroundings fills your senses and quiets your mind. Walking around in nature feels like walking away from your problems and leaving all of your worries behind. The calming of ease you’ll have isn’t only in your head. Research shows that taking a walk outdoors turns your attention away from your problems and activates different parts of your brain in a way that refreshes your mind and your mood.
- Don’t Sweat It, Break a Sweat
While exercise is good for your body, it’s also a smart move for your brain. The endorphins you get from exercise work wonders for your mind, while the serotonin your brain releases helps to lift and lighten your mood. Plus, research has found that exercise can improve your long-term memory and your overall thinking skills. No time for a full workout? Simply stretching for five minutes or dancing around the room will get your mind in better shape.
- Get Smart About Your Smartphone
While our digital devices make it easy to stay connected, they make it hard to totally disconnect from stress. Whether checking your phone is a must for work or just a mindless habit, it’s stealing your mental downtime. It’s time to step away from your smartphone and ignore it as long as you can. Silence your phone when you’re out running errands, put your computer to sleep at night and only check social media once a day. The lack of digital distraction lets you connect with yourself and your life.
- Change Your Tune
When you can’t turn off your brain, playing your favorite songs can be music to your ears. Listening to pleasing music shifts your attention away from your troubles. Along with making you feel relaxed and improving your mood, research has found that listening to music boosts creativity and brain power.
- Do Nothing
Doing nothing is really something. Whether you take a 10-minute afternoon break or a whole day for yourself, use this time wisely by not using it all. Forget your schedule and to-do list. Relax your mind, take time to daydream and let yourself zone out. See, doing nothing resets your mind, which can fill you with new ideas, insights and energy. You’ll be surprised how doing less makes it easy to do much more.
When your brain needs a vacation, send your stress and problems packing by giving your mind a rest.