“My brain hurts”, the student exclaims as he walks away from his homework assignment. ‘I can’t do any more’. ‘Nothing else will fit into my head!’
This is an all too common phenomena, often repeated daily in most homes and classrooms. The words might vary but the intent is always the same – they’ve had enough! The student feels ‘full to the brim’. Nothing much is ‘going in’ and what it already in there besides, seems at capacity.
Adults are the same. How often have we been working on a ‘cerebral’ task, one requiring consistent and persistent effort? A task that, at times, seems like it will never be completed, despite our conscious and diligent efforts to complete it.
Our brains, like the rest of our bodies, are wonderful creations. Seemingly working tirelessly each day. Helping us shape and create our lives in the direction that we say we want. Moving us forward, towards whatever goals we have prioritised; finishing that assignment, completing the crossword, one more number in the Sudoku…
Often, however, it’s our focused intensity that makes us tired. The hard-working neurons in our brains, seemingly stop ‘firing’ and we ‘hit the wall’. Our ‘thinking brain’ stops delivering us the rapid-fire solutions to our tasks. It is at this time, that a suitable ‘brain break’, can be the perfect solution that re-ignites our efforts and lead us towards completing the task. Usually more efficiently than we started.
‘Brain breaks’ can take many forms, from standing up and walking to another room; drinking a glass of water, doing some simple yoga stretches or even something a little more formal, like putting a golf ball on the carpet or even attempting to organise our desk. The most effective breaks are those that involve moving the body and creating a focus that is demonstrably different from the task at hand. Using modern devices such as phones and laptops to time the break can make it even more effective.
So, the next time you hear your student lamenting about their ‘brain full’ gauge, experiment with some brain break strategies and observe the difference in productivity.