Mental Unwindings: Decoding Breaks

Aren’t we all unwinding something or the other every time? Isn’t it too difficult to stay with the same old feeling which blocks our thinking? How about a break, how about times when you just look up to the sapphire sky and breathe, unraveling the mysteries of life and returning back home rejuvenated in the midst of mundane and tiresome routines.

We are prone to feeling fatigued and bored from routines, and perhaps what keeps playing on our mind is a break. Breaks are short periods of time when we change the boring routine of incoming information, which usually arrives via predictable, tedious, and well-worn pathways. And most of us have thought about taking a break, at some point or the other. The nature of breaks can have different forms; it may be a tea break or a power nap, depending on person to person. Each of us has different meanings of breaks and distinct needs that we aim to fulfill via such breaks. Breaks can be either volitional or forced. Volitional breaks are most often voluntary, we decide to take a break and hence we take it, such as a walk in between our work. Whereas on the other hand, forced breaks are unwillingly taken, such as any medical emergency or any urgency on board that can be exhausting too.

We often feel the need to give our minds a booster shot and rejuvenate our mental processes. Our brain requires substantial time to think of innovative ideas or just wander. While talking about wandering, the meaning may in itself take different forms. Wandering is when we diverge; it is not necessary to have any aim in mind. We are usually so structure ridden, that wandering gives us a new lens to view things.

People need free space to create a better capacity to work effectively and efficaciously. On a typical day, there is an overwhelming amount of data that our brains process, which is why there is a necessity to give our brains a break. Recent studies have shown how small periods of diversions from a task can dramatically have an impact on our ability to focus for a longer period. The results suggested that prolonged attention onataskhinders performance. Apart from those mentioned above, meditation and mindfulness training are other ways of taking breaks. Mindfulness is characterized by merely paying precise, nonjudgmental attention to the details of our experience as it arises and subsides, not necessarily rejecting anything. Instead of struggling to get away from the incident we find difficult, we move towards being able to be with them. We bring mindfulness to pleasant experience as well.  Being mindful is not a substitute for actually participating in our lives. In fact, the more mindful we are, the more skillful we can be. There are three basic aspects worked with, in this technique. First, is the environment surrounding our body and body position. Second, working on breath, and last, working on thoughts such as plans for future goals.

Breaks restore our brain’s stores; they encourage productivity and creativity and most essentially increase our attention because our brains are built to detect and respond to change. They enhance our abilities, and give us time to reboot and complete our unfinished businesses.

While on a break, we allow our minds to wander, replay, absorb, and rewrite the blunders we may be committing. It helps to give ourselves moments to craft our own innovative ideas; to have the script ready in our heads and improvise before executing in real life. Breaks are reminders to go back to the past menu and pick out the moments that are now golden and keep a constant check on our growth.  Also, breaks help us note the sensations and experiences of various aspects of life, making our own narrative unique to ourselves. We don’t immediately take actions to get rid of our thoughts. It may take time and we are constantly in the process of learning to be with ourselves. It is of course possible that we’re just daydreaming of impossible acts of heroism or remembering our golden memories, but it’s also possible that we are xylographing the old wood and unraveling our potential.

Well! You can go ahead and take that break.

Anjali Kanojia