Give Your Mind A Break
June 18, 2021
I am sure we have all had this experience.
There is some issue or problem you are grappling with. You think deeply and you strain your mind in the hope of finding the right solution. Finally, your conscious mind reviews all the available information and tells you what it thinks is the right decision. But, unfortunately, you have this nagging feeling that it is not the correct answer.
You call it your “gut feel.”
Then, a few days later or may even weeks later, you are taking a shower or going on a leisurely walk, and there is that sudden flash of an idea that strikes you. It’s like a “Eureka” moment. In that inspirational moment, you know what you have to do to deal with that problem. You feel light as if a weight has been lifted from your mind.
What is happening here?
We can’t force our conscious rational mind to give us the insight or answer just because we want it to. Even though we may not get the answer immediately, our subconscious mind captures the issue or the problem. It continues working on finding a solution even while our conscious mind has taken a break. The “eureka” moment is the work of our subconscious mind.
That is why most of our best ideas never happen when we consciously want them to happen. Instead, they occur in the shower, when you are on a walk or in the car driving to work, playing some sport or maybe just lying on your couch.
These are all moments when your conscious mind is disengaged.
“Always On”- The Modern Day Curse
Most of us are “always-on” connected to our smartphones, laptops and attending meetings all the time, even when we are going for a walk or having a meal.
We are constantly engaging our conscious mind leaving very little time and space for our subconscious mind to dig into the vast reservoirs of information and data it has at its disposal.
In his book Start With Why, Simon Sinek illustrates the difference between our conscious and subconscious minds with a nice analogy. He says that our subconscious “feeling” mind accesses by order of magnitude more information than our conscious “thinking” brains. He mentions that our rational brains can access the equivalent of about 2 feet of information around us. In contrast, our subconscious brains can access the equivalent of 11 acres of information around us.
Our every experience, every mistake, every success, every lesson, is all stored away somewhere in our brains, and our subconscious mind has the capacity to access that information, even though we may not be conscious of it. When we can access our subconscious mind, we become inherently more creative and better at problem-solving.
When our conscious mind is active, we lose access to the vital resources that our subconscious mind is privy to. Paradoxically, when we are “always on”, the quality of our ideas and our ability to problem solve goes down.
Give Your Mind A Break
When we are “always-on,” we are not allowing our subconscious minds to wander and solve the problems for us. We need to create more free spaces in our daily routines where our subconscious mind is free, not playing second fiddle to our conscious mind.
If you have a big problem that you are struggling to solve or if you are seeking inspiration, concentration and focus will be of little use. Instead, go for a walk, wander in the park, play some sport, read some book, or just chill. Give your mind a break and let it wander.
It is just a matter of time before the spark of inspiration or breakthrough hits you !!