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The quick recharge technique no one taught you
When was the last time you took your brain offline? During the day?
Giving your brain regular breaks has all kinds of benefits.
What is a brain shutdown?
Basically, it’s quiet time. Shutting down means letting yourself withdraw from sensory input. It means sitting quietly with no sound or interaction and no light (using an eye mask is best) so there is nothing for the brain to process.
What happens during a brain shutdown?
A shutdown allows the brain to rest and reset. A 5-minute shutdown can have some of the benefits of a much longer nap because it helps the brain recharge.
What are the benefits of brain shutdowns?
During a quiet period, the brain gets a chance to notice if it’s overwhelmed. With regular pauses or rests each day, the brain stands a better chance of keeping up with the day. You may notice an improvement in emotions, thoughts, or attitudes. You may notice that it’s easier to stay in the moment, see situations clearly and make decisions. Your brain may process things more quickly. You may be more productive on days when you’ve given your brain regular shutdown periods.
What are some of the conditions that need brain shutdowns the most?
Pressures on the brain come from many sources, including:
- Head injuries—like a swollen ankle, the brain needs to rest before it can recover
- Trauma—keeping you out of fight or flight, having hypervigilance
- Dyslexia—the brain is working twice as hard
- Focus/attention/sensory issues—the brain gets overwhelmed quicker
- Anxiety—the brain is too amped up and it can’t slow down
- Depression—the brain is overwhelmed and can’t make connections
- Highway hypnosis—the brain is exhausted from too much visual coming at a rapid pace
Help me understand the importance of resting the brain.
We use our eyes and ears all day long. Even driving a car can create too much stimulation. This makes us fatigued. Even a blow, bump or jolt to the head is the brain hitting the skull from the inside. But we aren’t used to thinking of brain injuries the same way as other injuries.
Think of a sprained ankle. There is pain, and it needs ice, elevation, and rest to recover. Yet with concussions, often there is no pain, or the effects may show up much later, so people assume nothing is wrong. But the healing process is the same: the brain needs extended rest to recover. And like the sprained ankle, if you use it before it has recovered, it will aggravate the injury.
What do regular shutdowns look like?
Use a dark black eye mask and noise-canceling headphones. Practice 1-3 minutes at a time, up to 6-8 times per day. Use work breaks and lunch periods. Do a shutdown before you drive home on the brain you used all day at work.
Those with hearing loss may need to cut the sound out first, it can be stressful for the brain to figure out sounds.
Keep a journal. Notice things like fatigue, the ability to stay present and focused, and mental or emotional capacity. Write down what you notice.
What do your clients say about brain shutdowns?
Madison Brain Center clients notice they are not as grumpy, sleep better at night, have an easier time learning and memorizing, can do homework more easily, and can parent and problem-solve better. They also say they are not as touchy, less irritable, less reactive, and have more confidence.