We have all had moments in life when we felt stuck or it felt like we were swimming against the tide. Sometimes no matter how hard we try, we just can’t find a solution to whatever is holding us back. Or, perhaps we simply get overwhelmed by having too many choices?
Sometimes, when these things happen, we tend to get so consumed with the parts of the puzzle we have in hand that we forget to see a broader picture. Moreover, we put even more pressure on ourselves by thinking that we have to find a solution immediately – or never!
It is good to keep in mind that some things in life unfold themselves at their own pace. Not allowing ourselves enough space to be able to detach from the situation and gain a broader perspective can also negatively impact our emotions.
In a society which celebrates speed and busyness as some kind of achievement, taking the time to pause and enjoy the stillness may seem frivolous!
We all need downtime
The fact is – we all need downtime – time to quieten the thoughts in our mind and connect with our inner wisdom.
In today’s culture, when we are bombarded by so much information, it becomes even more important to give our mind a rest.
We have all experienced the benefits of having a nap, going for a walk or simply relaxing over a cup of coffee after intense hours of work – often with astounding results.
Suddenly, our creativity begins to flow again and our attention and productivity increases. Most of us have experienced those aha moments after taking mental breaks from our work.
Benefits of cultivating periods of silence
Recent studies have shown that silence restores the nervous system and is associated with the development of new cells in the hippocampus, the part of the brain where our memory is stored.
The hippocampus is responsible for converting short-term memory into long-term memory so if we want to replenish our attention and learn new things, we need to find time for cultivating periods of silence.
Off-line is a new luxury
Nowadays, with such busy lives it may seem a bit of a luxury to switch our phones off, leave our emails for the next day and simply sit in silence. And when we finally do, it may take some time to make sense of all the information that we have picked up along the way.
So how about using this opportunity to keep the sound down and allow our mind to rest?
Reminding ourselves that everything in nature has its quiet time when seemingly nothing is happening. Interestingly, even when we are relaxing our brain never really slows down – just the opposite!
Way of becoming more solution-focused
During some physiological processes like rapid eye movement (REM) sleep it becomes even more active! Downtime is the time when our brain makes sense of what it has learnt and becomes more able to solve current problems.
Research has shown that people who achieve the highest levels of expertise or performance are actually the ones who do not work more than an hour without rest. So how about setting a clear goal and then indulging in a little bit of daydreaming?
Want to read more? Try this – The five principles of subconscious learning