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  • Dr. CK Bray

Your Brain Needs a Staycation


Your brain needs a vacation, even if it is a staycation! Small moments of quiet for your brain can do wonders for improving your overall happiness and well-being in a day. Quiet also improves problem-solving and enhances your creativity.

The problem with your brain staycation is that most individuals underestimate how much they would enjoy spending time alone with their thoughts, with nothing to distract them. As a result, when we have downtime, we often immediately reach for our phones to check social media, news, or messages.

“Humans have a striking ability to immerse themselves in their thinking,” states Aya Hatano, Ph.D., of Kyoto University in Japan. “Our research suggests that individuals have difficulty appreciating how engaging thinking can be. That could explain why people prefer keeping themselves busy with devices and other distractions, rather than taking a moment for reflection and imagination in daily life.”

In a series of six experiments with a total of 259 participants, the researchers compared people’s predictions of how much they would enjoy simply sitting and thinking with their actual experience of doing so.


In the first experiment, they asked people to predict how much they would enjoy sitting alone with their thoughts for 20 minutes without being allowed to do anything distracting, such as reading, walking around, or looking at a smartphone. Afterward, participants reported how much they had enjoyed it. The study participants rated their experience a four on a 7-point scale. They enjoyed the time thinking much more than they thought they would.


The results are essential in our modern era of information overload and constant distractions. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to settle your mind, reduce stress, enhance your creativity and be better at problem-solving. The researchers also found an additional benefit of increasing the ability to find meaning in their life.

“Thinking About Thinking: People Underestimate How Enjoyable and Engaging Just Waiting Is” by Kou Murayama et al. Journal of Experimental Psychology

 

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