Boost Your Brain by Taking a Real Break

by Ayla Lewis

When a deadline is approaching or you’ve got a ton of work to do, do you take a break to help you move farther toward your goal?

For most of us, the answer to this question is “no.”

But that’s not what science is supporting. Just as athletes take active rest days to recoup their bodies, research is suggesting that when we take ‘brain breaks’ at work–whether a short walk away from your computer or a full vacation–it may actually increase productivity, creativity and attention as well.

It’s exciting, for us at Happy Brain Science, to see studies like these that shake up our beliefs and teach us about what makes a great workplace – and it is our mission is to help you put these new science-based insights into action. It is also our mission to walk the talk, so from mid-June to mid-July, the Happy Brain Science team was on a summer break, helping us to recharge, reconnect and refocus!

Now we want to leave you with some research and tips for taking a break of your own. According to the science, here are three reasons to take a real break from work:

  1. Taking a break improves your ability to focus.
  2. Daydreaming while taking a break boosts your brain’s problem-solving abilities.
  3. Taking a step back during a break helps you to reevaluate and reconnect with your goals.

The research is clear: when you feel unable to focus, need to solve a problem, or want to reconnect to your goals, it may be beneficial to take a break!

Below are just a few ideas to help you experience the brain-boosting benefits of a break in any work day:

    1. Take a nap – If you can, take a 20 minute rest at work, especially in the mid afternoon. Brief naps restore energy, reduce errors, and boost mood.
    2. Workout – Create whatever workout space you can, grab a pair of hand weights at your desk, or go out on a light walk. Exercise boosts health brain function and mood.
    3. Catch up with a friend – Do something with others instead of alone. Relationships are a huge factor in our happiness and doing things with others tends to boost our mood and effectiveness.

Take a break and tell us how it goes!

As always, we would love to hear how these tips are working for you, and what other tactics you use to boost your productivity, creativity and attention at work. Let us know by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook page, or tweeting to @ScottCrab.