Don't Let your Brain Just Drain Away
Do you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, keeping up with your workload?
Do you feel totally exhausted by the end of your working day?
Does this mean that you feel you should do nothing more after work except curl up on the sofa before you go to bed?
Answering "yes" to these questions could mean that "brain drain" is slowing you down and leading to fatigue.
Why does this brain drain occur?
Researchers at the Parish Brain Institute in France have found that the brain will slow down in order to deal with those times when you have a prolonged focus without a suitable break.
They have found that in much the same way as muscles react to exercise (with a lactose buildup), prolonged mental activity can lead to the accumulation of potentially toxic neurotransmitters.
- Glutamate is a neuron that the brain produces to keep you focussed on the task in hand.
- As you force yourself to concentrate on tasks during your long working day, the more glutamate builds up (in the lateral prefrontal cortex).
- A side effect is that the brain then attempts to stem the release of the chemical so that your decision-making deteriorates and that wave of exhaustion occurs.
How can you prevent or stop that brain drain?
- Understanding that the recent pandemic caused a lot of trauma and often more demanding work cultures.
- Coming to the conclusion that if you are working a fourteen hour day, you are unlikely to achieve much towards the end of that period.
- Realizing that to avoid the negative consequences of such a brain drain on your work, it is a good idea to carry out the most important and demanding tasks earlier in the day.
- Having a good night's sleep after a long day of work (and brain draining) will ensure the brain is re-set and any build-up of glutamate will have dissipated.
- Allowing the mind to enter a "default mode" whenever possible, meaning to let your brain daydream, get creative or zone out. This default mode will help to cleanse the brain to restore balance and prevent that glutamate build-up. Scrolling on your phone is not counted as a default mode!
- Going out into nature for a short walk is another good suggestion to aid your mind's recovery but minus any electronic devices that will require your attention.
- Listening to music or reading fiction will help the brain to relax and even become imaginative.
- Meditating for a quick five minutes is another helpful aid.
- And finally, making the effort to step away from that screen and that desk every hour and have that break.
When the brain goes for a long time without a break, it will start to work at a slower pace...
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