Your brain never stops. You’re always thinking about what’s next, how to get it done and how to start chipping away at that ever growing to-do list. You’re always “on” and if you’re a productive member of modern society, that’s expected. You know you want to sit down and rest. You can feel your brain begging for it, but rest is for the weak, there are empires to build! Fortunately, thanks to modern studies, we now know that your brain might be trying to tell you something. “CHILL.”
Although we may not see resting, relaxing, and daydreaming as essential to productivity, having downtime and an active social life can boost our brain health.
“Optimize brain health by balancing social life with downtime,” says Dr. David Agus, physician and bestselling author of The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health.
Most of us turn to our friends when we’re overwhelmed by work, or we sit on the couch and binge-watch season three of Friends. Scientifically, that makes sense. Humans are social by design and need interaction with others, according to Agus. In recent studies, a lab mouse was placed away from other mice. In a short time it developed more immune problems, more disease, and reduced recovery rate from infections. However, when when the same mouse was integrated back into its social circle, it got better quickly — the same results carried over to human tests.
“We were designed to be social. And so people who are loners that spend all their day alone where there’s no touch and no other human interactions don’t do well,” says Agus, in the video below.
Social interactions keep the brain healthy. Previous research has found an active social life includes many behaviors that require memory, attention, and control, processes that are also involved in many cognitive tasks. Therefore, social interaction acts as a primer for these processes, so when they’re ready to be used in a work or business environment they are refined and practiced.
Agus recommends creating a balance between our social life and downtime. We all need time to be alone, to be still, and be silent. Meditate, dammit. Quiet the prattle. It helps us unplug and recharge, allowing us to let what happened during the day resonate.
Downtime can be anywhere. Agus chooses to turn off his electronic devices and listen to some classic rock on his drive home, and it actually works. However, he does warn the brain needs quiet, too.
(Via Medical Daily)