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  • Writer's pictureDr. CK Bray

Brain Breaks


Every brain needs a break! It is impossible to sustain peak performance and cognitive function working 8-10 straight, especially if you are on the phone or in Zoom meetings.

Neuroscience has proven you need to take a break (even a small one!) at least every ninety minutes to two hours. These breaks have significant benefits for productivity, creativity, and overall well-being. By taking regular breaks, we can recharge our mental and physical energy, leading to increased focus, better decision-making, and reduced stress levels.

The neuroscience behind taking a break every 90 minutes can be explained by our brain's natural rhythm of attention and focus. The brain operates on a cycle of around 90 minutes, known as the ultradian rhythm, which involves a period of high alertness followed by a period of low alertness. Our brain is focused and engaged during the high alertness period, while during the low alertness period, our brain is more easily distracted and less productive. By taking a break every 90 minutes, we can reset our brain's natural rhythm, allowing us to maintain high levels of focus and productivity.

Taking a break from work can also positively impact our stress levels. When working, our brain produces cortisol, a stress hormone that can lead to fatigue, anxiety, and burnout. Taking a break every 90 minutes can reduce the amount of cortisol in our system, which can help us feel more relaxed and focused. Additionally, taking a break and engaging in relaxing activities such as meditation or exercise can stimulate the production of endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers that can reduce stress and improve our overall well-being.

Taking a break means you stand up, move around, change your environment, and take some deep breaths. Throw in a few stretches to work out the kinks. One item to leave behind during your break is your phone! Having a phone in your hand while on a break reduces any of the benefits I mentioned above. No social media, app games, news, or sports. Could you give yourself five minutes to clear your mind? Let me know how it goes!

 

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