Make you next loo break a brain breaks too

thinking on the looYour day is one big rush – your to-do-list never grows any shorter and you’re permanently connecting to someone via e-mail, facebook, twitter etc. Even visits to the loo, a traditional moment of solitude and introspection are now communal, as your Blackberry or iphone join you as you tinkle….

The week’s Neurotechnology Tip encourages you to hang out with yourself. If you can do it somewhere with soft pillows, mellow music and floating candles, good for you, if not, the loo will do.

The brain engine

Your brain operates at different levels of functionality……..

  • Level 0 is the off button. This level is typically a death blow – because basic functions such as breathing are not peformed well or at all.
  • Level 1 keeps the basic functions ticking over nicely and during this phase, the clean up crews carry out all the necessary maintenance. Many metabolic and data processing functions, can only be performed efficiently at this level. Level 1 happens when you’re sleeping.
  • Level 2 is what happens between the alarm clock and “the kick” from that first cup of coffee, for most people. Officially the brain has switched up a notch, but it is only capable of handling very simple ritualistic tasks. It is conscious, but is only doing things on autopilot.
  • Level 3 is the standard operating level. Officially anyway, some people never function at this level, automatically going to level 4 (overdrive). At this level, the brain chemistry ensures the messages are flying in and out appropriately. Thoughts are directed, controlled, strategic.
  • Level 4 corresponds with overdrive. The brain is straining doing several things ALL at once. The strain can create highs and lows, plus an occasional wipe out.
  • Level 5 – the top level. Really turned on, but not working hard – in perfect flow.

Level 5 moments…

To function successfully in the world, only requires the operator to move between levels 1 – 4.

Level 5 moments are like the top gear in a car – going there is optional and appreciated (by the engine at least).

Moments sitting in absolute quiet while contemplating life, the universe etc. are level 5 activities. These moments are increasingly rare, but delightful for your brain, because they afford it an opportunity for conscious, introspection.

The brain at rest

At level 5, the brain is still working – it is ticking over things, especially those related to learning and memory, while simultaneously resting.

The world of education seems to blissfully ignore this important component of learning. In fact, a trip to school or college, tends to be a race from one venue to another, systematically stuffing in more and more information, without ever thinking.

Ask yourself questions

Try take a break especially after some “studying” – put your brain in TOP GEAR and do a MINDFUL REFLECTION. You can always excuse yourself and take a trip to the loo.

Let your mind wander around the material you’ve just studied, try answer the question…..

“What does this mean for the world and for the way I live my life ?”

PS. Don’t worry if your first answer is NOTHING, just asking the question will get your brain ruminating to find an answer – this is INTROSPECTION.

Introspection the key success

Success in school, is usually about answering the question “right”. But success is life, is more often than not, about asking the “right” question.

Cultivate the habit of asking questions.

Rest Is Not Idleness: Implications of the Brain’s Default Mode for Human Development and Education. Perspectives on Psychological Science (2012) 7(4): 352-364.  Immordino-Yang MH.  Christodoulou JA.  Singh V 

To wire up your brain a little each week ………………..

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Further reading

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Hire Dr Sandy from a Spoonful of Science to be the keynote speaker at your next event.

Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below

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  2. By » Blog Archive » Round up 6 Aug – 10 Aug on August 10, 2012 at 11:58 am

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