As you know, this month I have been trying to de-clutter my life physically, mentally and emotionally. Today I want to focus on increasing mental clarity.
Have any of you heard of Dr. Bruce Perry? If not, just Google his name and you will learn all about what he does.
Now, I’m a fairly nerdy person who loves to learn about how the brain works. So in addition to reading up on this kind of brain stuff, this past fall I was fortunate to attend one of Bruce Perry’s conferences. At this conference I learned a whole swack of things, but there is one particular nugget of knowledge that keeps coming up for me, which I think is especially relevant to this month’s theme ‘Less is More.’
Here’s my unsophisticated interpretation of what I learned from Dr. Perry: So, it turns out that the brain requires a manageable amount of stress for optimal learning – yes, it’s true, but think small stress. Yet, to be creative and to engage in optimal critical thinking, consolidating ideas and the like, the brain needs to be in a relaxed state. Basically, you gotta be slightly stressed to learn stuff in the first place, and then relaxed later on to fully make sense of what you learned.
You still with me? Hopefully you haven’t nodded off yet. There really is a purpose to my brain lecture here…
Back to the conference, Dr. Perry shared with the audience that he devotes 2 hours per day “to think.” Seriously. Now this guy is extraordinarily busy, yet he somehow consistently sets aside 2 hours every day for relaxed thinking. He pushes all the clutter of meetings, deadlines, family issues… (you get the idea) out of the way and just…well, thinks about stuff. And, he’s known around the world for being brilliant. So it got me thinking:
- 1st thought: there is absolutely no way I can set aside 2 hours a day to just think!
- 2nd thought: but maybe there’s something to it; something to having devoted ‘thinking time…’
- 3rd thought: I’d like to try it, but how?
That’s where my line of thinking ended at the time of the conference. Until this month.
- 4th thought: I commute approx 40 mins each way to work 5 days/week. How about I take one of those car trips each day, turn off the radio, refrain from catching up on phone calls on my bluetooth (yes, I even multi-task in the car!), revel in the silence of my single-occupancy vehicle, and see what thoughts come my way?
I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks now and it is awesome! It’s awesome because there isn’t the pressure to meditate or to clear my mind. In fact, there’s no pressure whatsoever. I just have to drive without any added stimulation on my part. And you know what? If I do say so myself, I’ve come up with some pretty clever stuff in my ‘thinking time!’ I’ve also learned that my mind is much clearer if I do my thinking time in the mornings on my way to work, rather than the way home.
So, maybe you want to give it a go. It’s not two hours, but it’s something. Something your brain will appreciate.