We may think that compulsively checking our email on the treadmill or in the grocery store line makes us a super multi-tasker, but scientists say itís simply making our brains super tired.
University of Michigan neuroscientist Marc Berman says, when youíre focused on text messages, Youtube clips, and video games, your brain is working overtime and processing nonstop, that can leave you feeling frazzled, stressed and exhausted. If you want to relax your brain, you have to stop using it actively, like after a run, when you plop down on the couch so your body can relax. Your brain needs downtime, too, to re-charge and remember what youíve seen and done. But when your brain is constantly stimulated, it never gets that downtime to process information, and that leaves people fatigued.
Only when your brain rests can it create new ideas and function at full capacity. Thatís why you often get brainstorms in the shower, or right before you go to bed or wake up. Those are our only non-distracted moments these days.
So why canít we put down our smart phones and just chill out? One reason,our boredom threshold is a lot shorter now. Adam J. Cox is a clinical psychologist and he says 50 years ago, the onset of boredom might have followed a two-hour stretch of nothing to do. Today, we can feel bored after thirty seconds with nothing specific to do.
So, how can you give your brain a break? Unplug and get out in nature. University of Michigan researchers found that people were significantly better at recalling what they learned after walking someplace quiet outside.