Want your brain sharp? Give it a rest

Today is Sunday and it made me think about reminding all of us to give our brains a period of rest, a sabbath (lower case).

Many religions observe a weekly day of rest, a Sabbath (upper case), a day to turn their work-a-day thinking/feelings in another direction. To look upward and notice loftier things. Or softer and gentler things. Things of the heart, things of the spirit. Many Muslims observe Friday as their Sabbath; many Jews observe Saturday as their Sabbath; and many Christians observe Sunday as their Sabbath.

Many people relate to nature as their sabbath.Walking in nature can sometimes provide an uplift found nowhere else.

Universities may provide a sabbatical year for professors, a year in which they can relax and refresh and renew their research interests.

“Believers” and “Non-believers” Alike

Whether we are “believers” or “non-believers,” our brains still need a “time out,” a sabbath. It improves our ability to learn, to remember, to be sharp. Sharp and awake. Mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually.

As Stephen R. Covey (1989, 2004) reminded us in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, if we just keep on sawing with the same old saw, over and over again, it will get dull.

He told us that it is essential to stop, to “sharpen the saw.” If we just keep sawing on, hoping to finish the pile of lumber today, we just become less and less efficient. Finally, we are still working very hard indeed and not much lumber is getting cut. The saw is simply too dull to do its work properly.

Stop. “Sharpen the saw.”

How Often Do Our Brains Need R and R?

How often should we stop to sharpen the saw, to give our brain a time of rest and renewal?

Every 7 years?

Annually?

Monthly?

Weekly?

Daily?

Hourly?

Every 10-20 minutes?

All of the above? Yes, and I’ll tell you why.

Our brain, somewhat analogous to our muscles, needs work to develop and be strong, and needs rest to recuperate and renew. Such renewal periods, whether taken after 20 minutes of homework, or a hard week’s work at the office or factory, improve memory, focus, attention, interest, and all manner of cognitive abilities that delight and bless us.

Now . . . today . . . and on to infinity.

Doc Meek, May 2, 2010

Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

One Response to “Want your brain sharp? Give it a rest”

  • Uinise Langi:

    I love this article! Wonderful to give our brains a much needed “rest.”

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