So many of my clients over the last 10 plus years have come to me in a great deal of stress. They speak of needing to keep up, wanting a promotion or a raise. So they work long hours and often bring work home.
The brain is not made to stay under constant stress like this. Such stresses release a hormone called cortisol. High levels of cortisol damage the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory. This is why vacations are so important. Your brain only works at maximum efficiency when it has down time. This can be found through new adventures, restful sleep and even exercise.
The brain's creativity is designed to function when not under stress. The original wiring was that stress was caused when we are in danger. So being creative as to how to get water to the cave was not important. Finding water, avoiding predators and having safety took the brain over. This is still true today. Our brain does not creatively connect the dots of disconnected information unless it is relaxed.
It isn't just creativity. Moments of insight increase as the brain unwinds. Why? When not actively tackling a task, the brain connects random ideas and consolidates these with prior knowledge into exciting new thoughts, ideas, directions, and potential solutions. is why some writers will hit a creative wall and begin to stress about writer's block. The more they stress about the blank page, the longer it will remain blank.
Creativity is not the only thing effected; reasoning, planning, decision-making, and judgment are also impacted by maintained stress. This is especially true if you are someone who has to make thousands of small decisions all day. You can actually contract decision making fatigue.
So take the time to give your brain a break. Go for a walk and breathe. Take that vacation. Turn off your devices and disconnect for a while. Your brain health will increase and you will be better equipped for the next challenge.
I would love to hear how you unwind and disconnect from your stressors even if it is only for a short while. Send me a message and share your strategies. I will compile all the answers and send that out for everyone to use.
Have a great weekend.