With this time of year, our brains are going NON-STOP, right? I know mine can. Between work goals to achieve, business objectives, planning finalized for next year, family time, shopping, holiday parties, and more, how can you even find time for yourself and keep your mind sharp?
Everyone wants to stay mentally sharp as they get older — and it stands to reason that one way to do this is to have an active brain. But new research from Harvard Medical School suggests that less may be more when it comes to your brain activity.
- New research links “quiet” brains with longevity.
- Researchers theorize that a less active brain uses less of the body’s energy.
- Ways to calm your brain, include meditation, active listening, and mindful eating.
Did you know that the brain is the organ that seeks the most energy in our body, consuming 1/3 of our energy?! Whoa. So, in a world that is always "busy", what are some of the best ways to quiet the brain?
Here are my top strategies:
Tune into your body. It's simple (hard at first!), and even 10-15 minutes of light stretching and deep breathing can make a difference by bringing mindfulness to our days.
Wait what? (were you listening?!) Yes, taking time to focus on the person you are talking to is important to slowing down your brain's activity. Most of us are using our brain to think about what we should say next, or holding on to a point someone said to make a comment the second they take a breath. Why rush listening? Usually it's selfish. Take some time to truly listen and you'll probably learn a bit about the person and as a result, gain new business and respect!
3. Recognize burnout....before you get there!
Many people don’t acknowledge burnout until they’re fully burnt out. Do you know the symptoms? Emotional exhaustion, the lack of a sense of personal accomplishment, a lack of excitement and joy, and an irritated mood. It's when things in the past hadn't been a big deal, all of a sudden are a BIG deal. It's THEN you want to step back before you are no longer being effective at your job and creating issues in your personal life. Burnout is real and we weren't designed for it.
4. Seek out mentors/coaches
It’s always good to learn from the best. Read books on meditation and journaling. Find someone who has been in your shoes and learn from them in areas that are stressing you out (career advancement, health and wellness, parenting, marriage, etc.).
People who are engaged in their job and their life might have good advice for finding the right balance. I'll bet you have some of those positive examples in your life right now!
I know mentorship and coaching have meant a lot to me in my life over the years. To be honest, I wouldn't be where I am today without the numerous mentors and coaches who poured into me - paid and not. Take the time to think about those around you who have wisdom and give them respect by asking about how they live their lives.
Our brain is a fascinating and complex machine. Understanding it can offer insight into who we are and how we can live with vibrancy and health.
So let's slow down and empower ourselves to utilize it appropriately, so our brain will help us along our shared journey toward deeper self-understanding and wellness in our careers and life.