We All Need A Lot Of Mental Downtime & Daydreaming!

Are you feeling mentally stuck, creatively in a rut or emotionally in a tailspin and maybe the reasoning isn’t 100% clear to you why?

You might need to fully, completely, unequivocally clear your mind.

This isn’t a 10 minutes of meditation type thing, though that is a beautiful start.

It’s a lifestyle thing.

Too much data, too much engagement and too little time with relative nothingness (which isn’t nothingness, by the way, as the brain is at work at rest!) will build to a tempest of mental clutter so intense that your energy will fall, life feels like an uphill battle and emotionally you will be in blah at best.

Today, let’s explore the many ways you can de-clutter your mind as a lifestyle.

Write it out.

I can’t say enough about Julia Cameron’s Artist Way pages.  Just dumping thoughts in free-writing onto a page – in this case, 3 pages of this free-writing– is a massive uplift for your days, freeing your mind of lots of burdens.

Let yourself daydream.

In daydreaming, we rest our brain and recharge our whole body, making links in our mind that are vital for our well being.  Daydreaming is not just productive, it’s essential.

Scientific America explains:

“…Eventually this mysterious and complex circuit that stirred to life when people were daydreaming became known as the default mode network (DMN). In the last five years researchers discovered that the DMN is but one of at least five different resting-state networks—circuits for vision, hearing, movement, attention and memory. But the DMN remains the best studied and perhaps the most important among them.

In a recent thought-provoking review of research on the default mode network, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang of the University of Southern California and her co-authors argue that when we are resting the brain is anything but idle and that, far from being purposeless or unproductive, downtime is in fact essential to mental processes that affirm our identities, develop our understanding of human behavior and instill an internal code of ethics—processes that depend on the DMN. Downtime is an opportunity for the brain to make sense of what it has recently learned, to surface fundamental unresolved tensions in our lives and to swivel its powers of reflection away from the external world toward itself.” (article HERE)

Take time to zone out without noise during a long walk, stretching, a break, over a meal… every day… zone our and feel that space growing in your mind for wonder and magic.

Realize that decision fatigue is real. 

Often if I don’t get up early and complete reports and decisions for clients in the morning they need to wait another day because by 2 or 3, I can’t make more decisions easily. HERE is much more about decision fatigue; it’s real and if you honor it, you’ll feel better not judging yourself harshly for meeting your brain’s needs.

Honor the extra rest needs you have. 

Naps are a form of mental reset time.  Optimally, our brain likes to sleep more than once in 24 hours.

Scientific American explains in the article Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime:

“Under the influence of Roman Catholicism, noon became known as sexta (the sixth hour, according to their clocks), a time for rest and prayer. Eventually sexta morphed into siesta.

Plenty of studies have established that naps sharpen concentration and improve the performance of both the sleep-deprived and the fully rested on all kinds of tasks, from driving to medical care. A 2004 study, for example, analyzed four years of data on highway car accidents involving Italian policemen and concluded that the practice of napping before night shifts reduced the prospective number of collisions by 48 percent. In a 2002 study by Rebecca Smith-Coggins of Stanford University and her colleagues, 26 physicians and nurses working three consecutive 12-hour night shifts napped for 40 minutes at 3 A.M. while 23 of their colleagues worked continuously without sleeping. Although doctors and nurses that had napped scored lower than their peers on a memory test at 4 A.M., at 7:30 A.M. they outperformed the no-nap group on a test of attention, more efficiently inserted a catheter in a virtual simulation and were more alert during an interactive simulation of driving a car home.”

Big deal to nap more, right? Do more napping, more of those mediation breaks and more rest from noise in general.

Also… try to clear the mental clutter than makes things harder in your own life.

Whatever you worry about it calling out for your attention and for a plan.  Your mind will try to haphazardly, and constantly, compute this stuff until you can come up with a plan.

Make a financial plan if your mind is filled with money worries.  Work with experts.  You can do this.

Make a plan to workout if your body is feeling stiff and stuck.

Make a plan to confront what’s been hidden, be it clutter in your home, or problems swept under the carpet.

Plans create freedom in your mind when you use them to organize your energy.

Using the plan will take enormous amounts of burden off of your whole life.

Really, the negativity HAS TO STOP.

Were the all caps effective here?

There are simple, beautiful, life-affirming joys to celebrate all day… or we can go negative and miss them all.

In ten minutes of checking social media posts and emails I came across ambient amounts of headlines blazing that characterize nothing short of an apocalypse…and I deeply regretted those moments.  Ten minutes of bombshell explosive negativity = hours or days to fully recover in my life. It’s just not worth it.

Abraham Hicks suggests that in 17 seconds of entertaining a negative thought you pull to it other negative thoughts and associations and suddenly those snowball until thoughts start showing manifestation as things we don’t want.

Now, I am not suggesting or promoting the ideas that every negative thought will manifest because it will not (!!!) but when you build up a whole lot of negative thoughts you start moving with negative momentum (down spiral) rather than positive momentum.  Where you have a whole lot of positive energy, a little negative is not that big of a deal… but all this negativity taxes your mind.

Daydream, stay spacious, sleep, nap, take days off, walk away from stress… move into practices of art and expression that free your brain…

Find ways to let go of some of that negativity now and your mind will thank you!

xoxo Dana

 

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