Take a break, you need it

A Taste of ParadiseOh boy do I like to work. I often have 14 or 16 hour work sprees. I am addicted to work. Work brings me satisfaction and expands my horizons.

But you know what? Best ideas that I ever had, happened during my time off work. Like when strolling down the shore line. Or driving.

Almost as if my brain refuses to come up with something really creative unless it's in idle mode. When I am forcing it to come up with a great solution to a problem - nothing. Nada. Zilch. It does not want to cooperate when I want it.

Let it go - and suddenly I am overwhelmed with a surge of ideas. And all good ones.

And guess what? It's the same with other things in life. As long you push something really hard it won't happen. You need to take a break, let it go and it will come to you.


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Posted in: Leisure
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4 Comments

  1. May 8th, 2013 2:21 AM

    This is the best article I like to read often. I come here and this article never gets old for me and it gives me some kind of relief and convey importance of leisure time. Really when life/work become stressful, we need to take a break and just leave everything until we regain fresh mind and peaceful soul. Anyways, one of my favorite articles, this is.

  2. Apr 22nd, 2012 8:12 PM

    Hello Vladimir!

    I use your tools so often I feel like I know you! I just popped in to say hello, and I could not help but to see your tip on taking a break sometime!

    Vladimir, you really hit the proverbial nail on the head with that one! I spend countless hours at my computer and then reading more in between!

    I truly enjoy working online my brother, and I really think that has something to do with it, I feel connected to everything on here. Even though I am here working alone, it's just something remarkable when you have literally got the world at your finger tips!

    As for giving your head a break, well, I think your right about that as well. I take walks in between my computer sessions, because my doctor has told me that it's not good sitting all that time.

    So I walk, I think, I give my legs and everything else some exercise, and then I go back to work!

    Have a great day Vladimir

    David
    http://relentlesstraffic.com

  3. Apr 7th, 2012 5:53 PM

    Vlad,

    Nice post. And there is science to support what you are saying. Brain function studies have shown that there is an optimal mental state during which creative solutions (the "aha" moments) are produced. It is very difficult to achieve during intense focused activity such as writing code, doing tax returns etc. During the creative state, parts of the brain's right hemisphere become more active.

    The optimal state is achieved during waking hours when people are doing a pleasurable, steady-state activity such as driving down a country road, walking on the beach, or simply "day-dreaming" with no particular purpose. During this steady-state activity, left and right brain hemispheres can "hook up" and you can experience the "flood of ideas" you describe. Getting the right brain working is a key part of the process.

    Before scientists even knew about brain waves, Mozart described this creative state: "When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer - say, traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep — it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best, and most abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not, nor can I force them."

    You said you often get creative ideas while driving. This is actually a well-known thing. Personally I experience most of my good story ideas about 20 minutes into a long automobile drive along the Pacific coast or through the mountains. It may be because, in those moments, both hemispheres are running at a comfortable state, and I'm required to constantly look out at a changing world as the road unwinds. That keep me from micro-focusing on one task, which can lead to stress and frustration.

    More details at: http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2008/01/right-brain-sma.html

    [QUOTE] A new study led by John Kounios, professor of psychology at Drexel University and Mark Jung-Beeman of Northwestern University compared the physiological brain activity of creative versus noncreative problem solvers. The study published in the journal Neuropsychologia, reveals a distinct pattern of brain activity, even at rest, in people who tend to solve problems with sudden creative insights, which are commonly referred to as “Aha! Moments”, that differed distinctly from people who tend to solve problems, and think in a methodical fashion.

    During the study, participants relaxed quietly for seven minutes while their electroencephalograms (EEGs) were recorded to show their brain activity. The participants were not given any task to perform and told they could think about whatever they wanted. Later, they were asked to solve a series of anagrams – scrambled letters that can be rearranged to form words [XMPAELE = EXAMPLE]. These can be solved by deliberately and methodically trying out different letter combinations, or they can be solved with a sudden insight or “Aha!” in which the solution pops into awareness.

    One of the several differences discovered was that the creative solvers exhibited greater activity in several regions of the right hemisphere. Previous research has indicated that the right hemisphere of the brain plays a special role in solving problems with creative insight, likely due to right-hemisphere involvement in the processing of loose or “remote” associations between the elements of a problem, which is understood to be an important component of creative thought.

    The study also showed that greater right-hemisphere activity occurs even during a “resting” state in those with a tendency to solve problems by creative insight. This finding suggests that even the spontaneous thought of creative individuals, such as in their daydreams, contains more remote associations.

    Second, creative and methodical solvers exhibited different activity in areas of the brain that process visual information. The pattern of “alpha” and “beta” brainwaves in creative solvers was consistent with diffuse rather than focused visual attention. This may allow creative individuals to broadly sample the environment for experiences that can trigger remote associations to produce an Aha! Moment. [ENDquote]

    • Apr 7th, 2012 8:04 PM

      Great contribution Paul! Thanks